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Myth of Prometheus
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Myth of Prometheus
Prometheus was a Titan from Greek myth, born from the union of the Titan Iapetus and the Nymph Asia. He was one of four children born to the pair. The siblings of Prometheus included his twin brother Epimetheus , Menoetius, and Atlas, all of them Titans. The name Prometheus means “foresight,” and his twin brother's name Epimetheus means “hindsight.”
Their father, Iapetus led the revolt against the Gods. His children Menoetius and Atlas joined with him, while his other two sons, Prometheus and Epimetheus sided with the Gods. Menoetius was killed during the revolt and Atlas was given the weight of the world to bear for his actions during the revolt.
Prometheus and Epimetheus journeyed from Mt. Olympus to Earth and visited the Greek province of Boitia where they made clay figures. Athena took the figures and breathed life into them. The clay figures that Prometheus had created became Man and honored him. The figures that his brother Epimetheus created became the beasts, which turned and attacked him.
Zeus was angered by the brothers’ actions of creating people and animals, and he forbade the pair from teaching Man the ways of civilization, Athena chose to cross her father Zeus and taught Prometheus so that he might teach Man.
Zeus was angered by the actions of Man and Prometheus. He forbade the Gods to give fire to Man. Prometheus was upset with Zeus' proclamation and was determined to bring fire to Man, but Zeus had guarded the entrance to Olympus. Athena told Prometheus about an unguarded back entrance to Olympus where he would be able to enter with ease. Prometheus wanted Man to have all the benefits and progress that fire would bring.
Prometheus covertly entered Olympus at night through the back entrance that Athena had told him about. He made his way to the Chariot of the Sun and lit a torch from the fires that burned there. He touched the torch to coal, then extinguished the torch. Prometheus then carried the still hot coals down the mountain in a pithy fennel stalk to prevent anyone from discovering the fiery coals. Upon reaching the lands of Men, Prometheus gave them the coals, breaking Zeus' order by giving fire to Man. In some versions of this myth, Athena did not breathe life into Prometheus’ clay figures to make the people. Instead, the myth explains that Prometheus needed the energy of the fire to give the clay figures the “spark of life.”
Zeus was extremely angered by Prometheus' actions since he had not wanted fire to be given to Man. Zeus set out to make a trap for Prometheus. Zeus gathered the gifts of the Gods and created Pandora and her box. Into the box he placed all the horrors of the world. Pandora was sent to Prometheus as a gift from Zeus himself.
Prometheus (with his foresight) saw the curse that Pandora and her box carried. He refused the gift, giving it instead to his brother Epimetheus who opened the box and released the chained horrors upon the world.
Zeus was upset at having his plan thwarted. Prometheus had refused a direct “gift” from the chief God, after all. At Zeus order Prometheus was chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains where his torture was to be carried out. Every day a great Eagle would come to Prometheus and eat his liver, leaving only at nightfall when the liver would begin to grow back once more. At daybreak, the eagle would return to the chained Prometheus and again attack his body, eating his liver. The daily ritual would repeat itself into eternity...or so it seemed.
Zeus offered to free Prometheus (who still had the gift of foresight) if he would tell the secret of the prophecy that told of the dethroning of Zeus one day. Prometheus refused. The mother of Prometheus, the Nymph Asia, also had the gift of foresight. Her son’s continuing torture plagued her, so she finally went to Zeus and told him the secret of the prophecy. The prophecy explained that the offspring of Zeus and the Nymph Clymene would one day rise up and destroy Zeus and Gods.
Zeus sent Heracles to free Prometheus from the rock once he learned the revelation of the prophecy. He still required that Prometheus be bound to a rock for the rest of eternity. A link of the chain he had been bound with was set with a chip of the rock. Prometheus was required to carry it with him always. Men on Earth also created rings with stones and gems set into them to commiserate with him and to honor Prometheus for the actions he had taken on their behalf.