Hephaestus

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Hephaestus (8 spellings; pronounced /həˈfɛstəs/ or /hɨˈfɛstəs/; Ancient Greek Ἥφαιστος Hēphaistos) was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods (or perhaps of Hera alone). He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. Like other mythic smiths but unlike most other gods, Hephaestus was lame, which gave him a grotesque appearance in Greek eyes. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and he was worshiped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly in Athens. The center of his cult was in Lemnos.[1] Hephaestus's symbols are a smith's hammer, an anvil and a pair of tongs, although sometimes he is portrayed holding an axe.

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Parentage

In one tradition clearly attested in Homer's Odyssey and perhaps also in the Iliad, Hephaestus was born of the union of Zeus and Hera.[2] In another tradition, which was only unambiguously recorded in late texts,[3] but which may be an archaic survival of an autonomous Hera, she bore Hephaestus parthenogenetically; she is given the motivation in Hesiod's Zeus-centered cosmology[4] that she was engaged in a competitive quarrel with Zeus for his "birthing" of Athena, but Attic vase-painters illustrated the mainstream tradition that Hephaestus was already present at the birth of Athena, seen to be wielding the hammer with which he had split Zeus' head to free her.

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