All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Hephaestus (hĕfĕs´təs), in Greek religion and mythology, Olympian god. According to Homer he was the son of Hera and Zeus, but Hesiod states that he was conceived and borne by Hera alone. Originally an Asian fire god, in Greece he became the divine smith and god of craftsmen. He was worshiped primarily in cities such as Athens, where he had a temple. It was said that he was either born lame or was lamed by Zeus, who threw him down from Olympus when Hephaestus took Hera's side in a dispute. He was represented as bearded, with mighty shoulders, but crippled legs. At huge furnaces, worked by Cyclopes, he fashioned ornaments, weapons, and magical contrivances for the gods and heroes (e.g., Achilles' shield). But in mythology he was usually a comic figure. Most scholars agree that he was the husband of Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to him. The Romans identified Hephaestus with Vulcan.

views updated

Hephaestus Ancient Greek god of fire and crafts. Son of Zeus and Hera, he is equivalent to the Roman Vulcan. Blacksmith and armourer to the Olympian gods, with a forge under Etna, he is depicted as crippled and uncouth.