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Prometheus is the brother of Cronos who was punished by Zeus for giving fire to mankind without his permission.

After the overthrow of Cronos, Prometheus used the leftover mud and clay of Chaos to begin shaping creatures. He started with land animals, then moved to birds and fish. Finally, he created mankind, and as the youngest and kindest of the Titans, found himself empathizing with their hardships. Because he had fought on Zeus’ side against the other Titans, he was not thrown into Tartarus or punished like the others. He saw that mankind was struggling to stay warm and cook food, so he brought them the secret of fire from Mount Olympus. When Zeus found out, he was furious that Prometheus had let one of the gods’ secrets out. He sentenced Prometheus to be chained to Mount Caucasus, bound by unbreakable chains forged by Hephaestus. Every day, his liver was pecked out by a mighty eagle, and every night, his liver regenerated to be pecked out again the next day.

Heracles saved Prometheus during his Eleventh Labor, when he was searching for the Golden Apples. He let Prometheus go, and in gratitude, Prometheus told him to go and find his brother Atlas, who would help him locate the apples.

Zeus was not satisfied with Prometheus’ punishment; he also wanted revenge against mankind. He called for Hephaestus to craft a beautiful woman named Pandora, whom he clothed in the finest garments. He gave her a golden box and sent her down to earth as a gift for Epimetheus. After awhile, she began to wonder what was in the golden box, even though Hermes forbid her to ever open it. One day, her curiosity got the best of her and she opened it, unleashing all of the evils, sorrows, and death into the world. She closed the box before Hope could escape. This is the gift that Prometheus gave to mankind: blind hope in our hearts that keeps us from giving up.

Prometheus Quick Reference

Parents

Iapetus and Clymene


Domain / Power

God of Forethought, Creator of Mankind


Notable Myths

  • Creation of Mankind
  • Zeus' Punishment
  • Pandora's Box (Jar)

Symbol / Attributes

Torch or fire

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