Hephaestus (Roman name: Vulcan)
Hephaestus was the god of fire and the forge (a furnace in which metal is heated). Although he made armor and weapons for the gods, he loved peace. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and married Aphrodite. His symbols include the anvil and the forge.
Hephaestus in Greek religion and mythology, Olympian god. According to Homer he was the son of Hera and Zeus, but Hesiod states that he was conceived and borne by Hera alone. Originally an Asian fire god, in Greece he became the divine smith and god of craftsmen. He was worshiped primarily in cities such as Athens, where he had a temple. It was said that he was either born lame or was named by Zeus, who threw him down from Olympus when Hephaestus took Hera's side in a dispute.
He was represented as bearded, with mighty shoulders, but crippled legs. At huge furnaces, worked by Cyclopes, he fashioned ornaments, weapons, and magical contrivances for the gods and heroes (e.g., Achilles' shield). But in mythology he was usually a comic figure. Most scholars agree that he was the husband of Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to him. The Romans identified Hephaestus with Vulcan.
Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus)
Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, and the protector of sailors. She may have been the daughter of Zeus and the Titan Dione, or she may have risen from the sea on a shell. Her symbols include the myrtle tree and the dove.
Aphrodite in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of fertility, love, and beauty. Homer designated her child of Zeus and Dione. Hesiod's account of her birth is more popular: she supposedly rose from the foam of the sea where Uranus' genitals had fallen after he had been mutilated by Kronos. Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus.
She loved Ares, by whom she bore Harmonia and, in some myths, Eros and Anteros. She was the mother of Hermaphroditus by Hermes and of Priapus by Dionysus. Zeus caused her to love the shepherd Anchises, by whom she bore Aeneas.
Adonis, in whose legend Aphrodite appears as a goddess of fertility, also won her favors. It was to Aphrodite that Paris awarded the apple of discord, which caused the dispute leading ultimately to the Trojan War.
Worshiped throughout Greece, she was the goddess of love, marriage, and family life; she was also worshiped as a war goddess, as at Sparta, and as a sea goddess and patroness of sailors.
Aphrodite had important cults at Cythera on Crete, at Paphos and Amathas on Cyprus, at Corinth, and at Mt. Eryx in Sicily. Probably of Eastern origin, she was similar in many of her attributes to the ancient Middle Eastern goddesses Astarte and Ishtar. The Romans identified Aphrodite with Venus.