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The Story of Prometheus

    Prometheus was known as the benefactor of mankind for his desire to assist mortals and give them many beneficial gifts that helped them to survive and live prosperous lives.  The son of Iapetos and Clymene, Prometheus was a god long before Zeus took the Throne of Eternity and was one of the few titans that did not fight against Zeus in the Titanomachy.

     Prometheusí duty as a god was to form man from water and earth, and in doing so, gave them each a gift of strength or speed, craftiness or wisdom, and many other benefactors that improved their ways of living.  The most well-known gift of Prometheus was the gift of fire which Prometheus stole from Zeusí lightening bolts.  He concealed the fire in a stalk of fennel, and then transported it man.  In addition to his betrayal to Zeus, Prometheus also divided slaughtered animals into two parts, one being fine meats and the other bones.  He wrapped them in such a way that the bag containing bones looked more desirable than the one with meat, and so the gods choose to have the one that contained the bones.  This trickery also maddened Zeus. 

     In turn, Zeus presented to man a woman, who was named Pandora, and presented her as a bride to Prometheusí bother Epimetheus.  A box with the strict instructions to never open it came with Pandora, and like a fool, Epimetheus disregarded his brotherís warning to not accept any gifts from Zeus and wedded Pandora.  Pandora opened the box when her husband was away and unleashed evils such as illnesses and labor to mankind.  In addition, however, to the horrors of Pandoraís Box, hope was released to the world, as well.

     Prometheusí defiance and betrayal provoked Zeus to have him chained to Mount Caucasus, where an eagle ate daily from his ever-regenerating liver.  As an immortal Titan, Prometheusí liver grew by night what the eagle had eaten the day before. 

     Some believe that he was granted release from his cruel immortality after Heracles shot the Centaur Chiron with a poisoned arrow.  As an immortal, Chiron was unable to die, but wished to, so Chiron offered himself to Zeus to be killed in the place of prometheus freedom.  Others believe that Prometheus shared valuable information in regards to Zeusí future with Thetis, and when proved to be correct, Zeus showed his gratitude by sending Heracles to kill the eagle that ate Prometheusí liver and set him free after thirty thousand years of torture.


 

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Last modified: 11/26/04