Hephaistos: god of fire and craft

Birth and fall from Olympus

Hephaistos was the god of fire, metalwork and craftsmen.

According to Homer’s Iliad, he was the son of Zeus and Hera. However, the poet Hesiod says that Hera gave birth to Hephaistos on her own, as revenge for Zeus giving birth to Athena without her.

Hephaistos had a limp, and again there are two different accounts: some sources say that he was born with a limp, but others (including Homer) claim that his foot was crippled when Zeus hurled him from Mount Olympus in a fit of rage. Hephaistos landed on the island of Lemnos, where the people established a religious cult in honour of the god. He returned to Mount Olympus on a donkey, and reclaimed his place as one of the twelve Olympians.

Hephaistos in myth

Hephaistos made many of the great mythical items, including the armour of Achilles in the Iliad, and Hermes’ winged helmet and sandals. He also made Pandora, the first female human, on the command of Zeus.

Hephaistos was married to Aphrodite, but she was not satisfied with the marriage. In Homer’s Odyssey, she has an affair with Ares, the god of war. Hephaistos weaves an unbreakable net of invisible metal, and traps his cheating wife with her lover.


  • Fire: Hephaistos uses the heat of the fire to create his masterpieces.
  • Metalwork and craftsmen: The products of Hephaistos’ workshop are admired by men and gods alike. He also protects the craftsmen who work with metal and stone on earth.

Hephaistos iconography

Hammer, tongs, donkey.