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Hephaestus was the Greek god of fire, especially that of a blacksmith's kiln. He was the patron of skilled laborers, especially those who worked with metal. He originated as the god of volcanoes, and the fire of the volcano gradually turned into the fire of the forge. Hephaestus' worship was more popular in Athens and other manufacturing cities than in rural areas. When he was born, Hera, his mother, supposedly threw him off of a mountain because he was displeasing to look at.

Another version of the tale has Zeus throw him off of the mountain because he sides with his mother in an argument. As revenge, he built a cursed throne for Hera. When she sat on the throne, she was suddenly entrapped. Hephaestus only released her after he was given Aphrodite for his wife, an extreme irony since she was the most beautiful of the gods.

He had seven golden robots (or "metal men") to work for him, and also the hundred-handed Cyclopes. He made the battle armor for Ares and for all the heroes of the Trojan War.