Who is Prometheus?
The Titan lapetus was the daddy of 4 sons. Their mom, in accordance to Hesiod, was the Oceanid Clymene; in accordance to Aeschylus, she was Themis. Two of these sons, Menoetius and Atlas, have been punished by Zeus, probably for having taken half in the revolt of the Titans. Menoetius was plunged into darkest Erebus, in punishment for ‘his wickedness and boundless audacity’. As for Atlas, he was condemned to stand for ever, earlier than the Hesper-ides on the sting of the world, and to bear upon his shoulders the vault of the heavens. The different two – Prometheus (who foresees) and Epimetheus (who displays after the occasion) – had a distinct destiny and performed an vital function in the legendary historical past of the origins of humanity.
In view of the unchallengeable may of the Olympians, Prometheus’ solely weapon was crafty. During the revolt of the Titans he had stored a prudent neutrality and had even made overtures to Zeus when it appeared doubtless that the conflict could be gained by him. Thus Prometheus had been admitted into Olympus and the circle of the Immortals. But he entertained a silent grudge towards the destroyers of his race and revenged himself by favouring mortals to the detriment of the gods.
He had, maybe, different causes for his curiosity in the human race; for a convention – moderately late, it’s true – stated that Prometheus was the creator of mankind. It was he who with earth and water some stated along with his personal tears – had usual the physique of the primary man into which Athene breathed soul and life. In Phocis the writer
Pausanias noticed bits of hardened clay which had the odour of human pores and skin and which have been plainly the residue of the slime employed by Prometheus.
But it appears that evidently this creation occurred solely after the sooner race of man had been destroyed in the deluge. Current opinion really attributed to mankind an older and nobler origin. ‘Men and gods,’ says Pindar, ‘we’re of the identical household; we owe the breath of life to the identical mom.’ The Four Ages of Man. The first males, who have been contemporaries of Cronus, loved full happiness. It was the Golden Age. Hesiod says: ‘They lived like gods, free from fear and fatigue; previous age didn’t afflict them; they rejoiced in continuous festivity.’ Their lot didn’t embrace immortality, however no less than ‘they died as if overcome by candy slumber. All the blessings of the world have been theirs: the fruitful earth gave forth its treasures unbidden. At their loss of life, males of the Golden Age grew to become benevolent genii, ‘protectors and tutelary guardians of the residing’.
After the Golden Age got here the Silver Age, throughout which lived a race of feeble and inept males who obeyed their moms all their lives (i.e. it was a matriarchal age). They have been additionally agriculturalists, Hesiod says.
The males of the Bronze Age have been sturdy as ash bushes and delighted solely in oaths and warlike exploits. ‘Their pitiless hearts have been as laborious as metal; their may was untameable, their arms invincible.’ They ended by mutually reducing one another’s throats. From this technology, nevertheless, dated the invention of the primary metals and the primary makes an attempt at civilisation.
After the Bronze Age Hesiod locations the Heroic Age, peopled by the valiant warriors who fought earlier than Thebes and below the partitions of Troy. But the extra widespread opinion was that after the Bronze Age got here the Iron Age – the modern age, a interval of distress and crime ‘when males respect neither their vows, nor justice, nor advantage’.
Thus they defined the progressive degeneration of mankind.
The Theft of Fire: Pandora
As lengthy as Cronus had reigned, gods and males had lived on phrases of mutual understanding. Hesiod says: ‘In these days meals have been taken in widespread; males and the immortal gods sat down collectively.’ Everything modified with the approaching of the Olympians. Over males Zeus asserted his divine supremacy. A gathering of gods and males was held at Sicyon to decide which portion of victims supplied in sacrifice was owed to the gods. Prometheus, who was in cost of the partition, laid out an unlimited ox which he had lower up in his personal approach. He organized the flesh, the entrails and probably the most succulent morsels in the pores and skin and placed them on one facet; on the opposite facet he perfidiously laid the fleshless bones which he had coated with a wealthy layer of fats. Zeus, who was invited to take first alternative, selected the bones; however when he had eliminated the white, gleaming fats and found nothing however the animal’s bones he fell right into a rage. In his anger he withheld fireplace from the unlucky race who lived on earth. But the astute Prometheus went to the island of Lemnos, the place Hephaestus stored his forges. There he stole a brand of the holy fireplace which he enclosed in a hole stalk and carried again to males. Another model of the story claims that he lighted his torch on the wheel of the solar.
Outraged by the theft, Zeus despatched a recent calamity to males. He ordered Hephaestus to fashion clay and water right into a physique, to give it very important pressure and human voice, and to make therefrom a virgin whose dazzling magnificence would equal that of the immortal goddesses. All the divinities heaped their especial presents on this new creature, who obtained the identify of Pandora. Hermes, nevertheless, put perfidy into Pandora’s coronary heart and lies into her mouth. After Which Zeus despatched her as a present to Epimetheus.. Although his brother Prometheus had warned him towards accepting any present from the ruler of Olympus, the imprudent Epimetheus was enchanted by Pandora’s magnificence, welcomed her, and made a spot for her amongst males. Unhappy imprudence! For Pandora introduced in her arms an awesome vase – which is incorrectly referred to as ‘Pandora’s Box’. She raised its lid, and the horrible afflictions with which the vase had been stuffed escaped and unfold over the earth. Hope alone didn’t fly away. Thus, with the arrival of the primary girl, distress made its look on earth.
The Deluge: Deucalion and Pyearrha
Zeus’ rage, nevertheless, was not appeased. In his anger he resolved to annihilate the human race by burying it beneath the waves of a deluge. But as soon as once more Prometheus was on guard. He warned his son Deucalion who, along with his spouse Pyearrha, daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, then reigned in Thessaly. On the recommendation of his father, Deucalion constructed an ark and along with his spouse went aboard. For 9 days and 9 nights they floated on the waters. On the tenth day the downpour ceased and the 2 survivors disembarked on the crest of Mount Othrys or Mount Parnassus. Deucalion supplied up sacrifice to Zeus Phyxius (protector of fugitives) and the god, touched by his piety, promised to grant him his first want. Deucalion requested Zeus to renew the human race.
Another legend says that Deucalion and Pyearrha, having gone to Delphi, addressed their prayers to Themis. ‘Veil your heads,’ replied the goddess, ‘take away the girdles of your robes and forged behind you the bones of your first ancestor.’ Stricken at first with astonishment, Deucalion and Pyearrha eventually solved the thriller of this ambiguous command. They veiled their heads and walked across the plain, throwing over their shoulders stones torn from the earth – for have been they not descendants of Gaea, the earth, and weren’t the rocks her very bones? The stones which Deucalion threw have been become males, those who Pyearrha forged have been remodeled into ladies. The human race was renewed and Zeus recovered from his anger. Deucalion was considered the daddy of the Hellenes, the primary king and founder of cities and temples. It was he, they stated, who constructed the temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens, and close by the temple his tomb was identified. In Cynos, nevertheless, in addition they boasted of having the tomb of Deucalion and his spouse Pyearrha.
The Torture of Prometheus
Although peace had been concluded between Zeus and mankind, Prometheus had to pay cruelly for his trickery and thefts. At the command of Zeus, Hephaestus, assisted by Kratos and Bia, seized and sure Prometheus with indestructible chains to one of the crests of Mount Caucasus. There, ‘an eagle with outstretched wings, despatched by Zeus, fed upon his immortal liver; as a lot because the winged monster devoured in the course of the day, that a lot grew once more in the course of the night time’. In spite of the torture the Titan endured in his perspective of revolt. Disdaining complaints and humiliating prayers he by no means ceased to defy the lord of Olympus and to specific his hatred in violent outbursts. For was he not in possession of a secret which dangerously involved the long run of Zeus himself?
Finally after thirty years of struggling – others say thirty thousand years – he was with Zeus’ permission rescued by the divine Hercules, who slew the eagle and broke the prisoner’s chains.
Prometheus then revealed to Zeus his well-known secret and warned him that if he continued to pay courtroom to Thetis, daughter of Nereus, he would run the chance of seeing a son born who would dethrone him. Not wishing to probability the identical misadventure that had befallen his father and his grandfather, Zeus deserted his amorous enterprise and allowed Thetis to marry a mortal, Peleus.
Prometheus, nevertheless, couldn’t purchase divine immortality except some immortal consented to change destinies with him. Now the centaur Chiron, whom Hercules had struck with a poisoned arrow, was in despair lest his wound by no means healed. To put an finish to his struggling Chiron begged to be allowed to descend into Hades in the place of Prometheus. Zeus consented, and from then on the son of lapetus took his everlasting place on Olympus. And the Athenians, who noticed in Prometheus the benefactor of mankind and the daddy of all the humanities and sciences, raised an altar to him in the gardens of the Academy.