Roman name: Vulcan
According to Greek legend, Hera produced Hephaestus on her own after Zeus produced Athena without her help. Hephaestus did not turn out as well as Athena did. The results, unlike Athena, were not as good. Hephaestus was ugly, and he had a deformed foot. He was so hideous that his mother threw him off of Mount Olympus. He wandered the earth and developed a forge near an active volcano. He also built a throne that had a surprise built into it for his mother. When she sat down on the throne, it trapped her. None of the other gods could figure out how to release her and Hephaestus would not give them the secret. After they tried to get him drunk and some other schemes, Dionysus finally won Hephaestus’s trust, and he gave up the key to release his mother.
Hephaestus was known for his skill in metalworking. He produced special armor for the gods. For example, he made the famous shield of Achilles. He also was called upon by Zeus to mold the first women out of clay. In time he was accepted by the rest of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympia. He married the beautiful, but unfaithful, Aphrodite. (Click here for more stories on their marriage.)
Forge of Vulcan by Velazquez, Deigo Rodriguez de Silvay - Museo del Prado, Madrid
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