Vulcan (mythology)

   In ancient mythology, Vulcan was the god of fire and patron of workers in metal. Vulcan is the Roman name; Hephaestos, the Greek. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and was born lame, according to some, humpbacked. Juno was ashamed of him and dropped him from the heavens into the sea, where he was rescued by the god­dess Thetis, who reared him until he was nine years old, and then returned him to his parents on Mt. Olympus. Another legend runs to the effect that Jupiter, tak­ing offense one day because Vulcan took Juno's side in a family quarrel, hurled him forth.

From morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropped from the zenith, like a falling star,
On Lemnos, the Aegean isle.

   In the fall he broke his ankle, causing him to limp ever afterward. However, he set up his forge in the isle of Lemnos and became the patron of mechanic arts. Others have it that his residence was Mt. Etna, where he employed the Cyclops in forging huge thunderbolts for the use of Jove. The island of Lemnos was sacred to him. Vul­can is the protecting divinity of blacksmiths.