Prometheus

Prometheus
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  • Prometheus played a trick against Zeus. He placed two sacrificial offerings before the Olympian: a selection of beef hidden inside an ox's stomach, and the bull's bones wrapped completely in "glistening fat". Zeus chose the latter, setting a precedent for future sacrifices.
  • This angered Zeus, who hid fire from humans in retribution. Prometheus, however, stole fire back in a giant fennel-stalk and restored it to humanity.
  • Prometheus, in eternal punishment, is then chained to a rock in the Caucasus, where his liver is eaten daily by an eagle, only to be regenerated by night due to his immortality. The eagle is a symbol of Zeus himself.
  • Years later, the Greek hero Hercules slays the eagle and frees Prometheus from the eagle's torment.
  • Hesiod revisits the story of Prometheus in the Works and Days. Here, the poet expands upon Zeus's reaction to Prometheus's deception. Not only does Zeus withhold fire from humanity, but "the means of life," as well.
  • According to the German classicist Karl-Martin Dietz, in Hesiod's scriptures, Prometheus represents the "descent of mankind from the communion with the gods into the present troublesome life."
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