Hephaestus, Greek god of fire and of crafts, particularly those in which fire is employed. His origin, like his name, may be non-Greek, and perhaps Asian. In Greek myth he was the child of Zeus and Hera, or of Hera alone, and because he was lame from birth Hera threw him out of Olympus. He fell on Lemnos, an important centre of his cult. According to another version, he intervened on his mother's side in a quarrel between Zeus and Hera, whereupon Zeus seize him by the foot and hurled him down to earth:
from Morn To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,
A Summers day; and with the setting Sun
Dropd from the Zenith like a falling Starr, On Lemnos th' Aegaean Ile.
--Milton, Paradise Lost 1. 742 ff.
Hephaestus revenged himself on Hera by ensnaring her in an ingeniously constructed throne where she had to remain until Dionysus made him drunk and brought him back to Olympus to release her. This episode became a favourite subject for vase-painters. With a net of his own devising he also trapped his unfaithful wife Aphrodite with the god Ares. His many famous works of craftsmanship include the armour of Achilles and the necklace of Harmonia. Hesiod has him create the first woman, Pandora. In Athens, where he was the father of the first king Erichthonius and so in a sense the ancestor of the Athenians, he had a special cult and a temple above the Ceramicus, where the shops of the smiths and braziers (as well as the potters) were to be found.