Greek - God of fire, a smith-god. One of the Olympians. Son of Zeus and Hera or of Hera alone. Brother of Hebe and Ares. Husband of Aglaia, Aphrodite or Charis. Father of Olenus and Palaemon. Father by Etna of the twins, Palici, in some accounts. Father by Gaia of Erichthonius. Father by Medusa of Ardalus, Cacus, Cercyon and Periphetes. He was a puny and ugly infant and may have been born lame, prompting his mother Hera to throw him off Mount Olympus. In another account, he was thrown down by Zeus when he had the audacity to criticise Zeus for his treatment of Hera who had been hung up by her wrists. Whether he was lame before or not, he was certainly lame thereafter as a result of breaking his legs in the fall. In the first version he fell into the sea and was rescued by Thetis and Euryneme, in the second he fell on Lemnos. He walked on golden leg supports which, some say, were in the form of hand-maidens who supported him. He made a golden throne which trapped anyone who sat in it and sent it to Hera. After Hermes had failed, Dionysus persuaded Hephaestus to return to Olympus and release her, whereupon he was restored to his parents' favour. Some say that he released Hera only when he was promised Aphrodite as his wife. He soon returned to his forge and made golden palaces for each of the gods and the thunderbolts that Zeus used as his personal weapons. His other works included Talos, the bronze guardian of Crete, a golden mastiff for Rhea to guard the infant Zeus, Harmonia's beautiful necklace, the bulls of Aetes and the golden basket used by Core when picking flowers. Some say that he also created Pandora. In some accounts he married Aglaia, one of the Graces, or Charis; others say he married Aphrodite. In this latter story, he caught Aphrodite in bed with Ares and trapped them both in a net of very fine metal mesh which he had made, allowing all the bystanders to see her shame. It was he who split open the head of Zeus with his axe to allow the birth, fully dressed in armour and already armed, of the goddess Athene. In an abortive attempt to rape Athene he fertilised Gaea, giving rise to Erichthonius. His symbol is the hammer. At times, referred to as Hephaestus, Hephaistos, Hephaistos, Hindu Tvashtri, Hindu Tvashtri, Roman Mulciber, Roman Mulciber, Kalvaistis, Vulcan, Vulcan, Volcanus, Volkanus, Vulcanus, Mulciber, Quietus, Velchanos, Etruscan Sethlans or Greek Hephaestus.

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