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Hephaestus was the god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture. He was a smithing god who made weapons and military equipment for the gods and certain mortals, including a winged helmet and sandals for Hermes and armour for Achilles. Hephaestus became the divine smith and patron of craftsmen; the natural volcanic or gaseous fires were often considered to be his workshops.

Being a skilled blacksmith Hephaestus had also fashioned for himself handmaidens of gold, who were able to understand him, speak to him and assist him. And they weren’t the only creations of this kind. Among other clever inventions and automatons, Hephaestus sculpted golden dogs to guard the palace of Alcinous and the giant bronze man called Talos, the first humanoid robot who was made to protect Crete. At the request of Zeus, he also sculpted the first mortal woman, Pandora.

Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera. He was the only ugly god among perfectly beautiful immortals. When he was born he was cast out of Mt Olympus by his parents when they noticed that he was imperfect. Hephaestus married to Aphrodite by Zeus to prevent a war of the gods fighting for her hand. Hephaestus’s ugly appearance was the reason Zeus chose him to marry Aphrodite, but despite this she had many affairs with both gods and men.

It was believed that Hephaestus taught humans various arts and skills alongside Athena.