ephaestus, the god of fire and metalwork, was born of Zeus and Hera. In some accounts he springs forth of Hera alone by parthenogenesis.
Because he was ugly and born with weak legs, Hera disliked him at birth and flung him to the Earth from Mount Olympus. He spent a whole day falling and in the evening landed on the island of Lemnos where the sea nymphs Thetis and Eurynome caught him and raised him as their own. They decided that because of his disabilities he would be better suited to life as a smith.
Hephaestus was originally a god of fire, but as fire is needed for working metals, in time he became a smith, forging weopons and armour for the gods.
On Mount Olympus Hephaestus builds the mansions of the gods. His palace was imperishable and his workshop had an anvil and twenty bellows.
Hephaestus cast the shield and sceptre of Zeus, and the armour and shield of Heracles. In the Aeneid, as Vulcan, he casts the armour and shield of Aeneas.
Although he had been cruelly treated by his mother Hera, he always showed her respect and kindness. When Zeus punished Hera for her cheekiness by suspending her by the wrists, with anvils hanging from her ankles, Hephaestus remonstrated with him and was forcibly ejected from Olympus yet again.
Hera arranged his ruinous marriage to Aphrodite.
Aphrodite slept with Ares, the god of war.
Helios (the sun) revealed the affair to Hephaestus, who immediately fashioned an invisible net of unbreakable mesh to entrap the couple. He then invited all the gods of Olympus to witness her infidelity.
When the two went to bed they became entangled in the net, and, naked and unable to escape, were publicly humiliated.
It appears things did not go quite as well as Hephaestus had planned, for, when the gods saw Aphrodite's predicament Hermes swore to Apollo that by his own head he would not mind being in Ares position. Poseidon, at the sight of Aphrodite's naked body, immediately fell in love with her and concealed his jealousy of Ares, pretending to sympathise with Hephaestus.
Zeus was so disgusted he refused to hand back her marriage gifts and declared that Hephaestus was a fool to have made the affair public. On top of that, only the male gods attended as the goddesses declined out of a sense of delicacy.
Hephaestus favourite land on earth was the island of Lemnos. He also inhabited volcanic islands in the Mediterranean. The ancient Greeks sometimes placed small, dwarf-like statues of Hephaestus near the hearth. He is often represented as a well muscled and thick set man with a beard, oval cap and chiton with the right shoulder and arm uncovered. He has a hammer, anvil and bellows and protects smiths and workshops.