Hephaestus Profile | Hephaestus Basics
Hephaestus was the blacksmith god of the Greeks. He was also described as ugly and lame, resulting from his fall from Mt. Olympus when he was thrown down by either Hera, his mother, or Zeus, his father or step-father. The most familiar birth story is that Hera produced Hephaestus on her own after Zeus produced Athena from his own head. If Hera produced Hephaestus alone, then Prometheus smashed opened Zeus' head to let Athena out. Otherwise, Hephaestus wielded the hammer. It gets a bit confusing as to why Hera would have thrown him, since lameness is either the reason or the result. The other story is that Zeus threw him down for coming to the aid of his mother.
Hephaestus was married to the loveliest of the goddesses, Aphrodite. There was infidelity on both sides and the couple did not produce offspring, but Hephaestus was the father of various creatures, human and monstrous. Although repulsed by Athena, Hephaestus still produced the snake-bottomed Erichthonius, king of Athens, through her.
Hephaestus made the famous intricate armor that Achilles wore when he killed Hector in the Iliad.