Prometheus Gives Mankind Fire
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In Greek mythology, there are some gods that stand out more prominently than others. Prometheus is one of those. Though some sources describe him as a Titan god, he wasn’t officially considered one of the Twelve Titans. Rather, he was the son of Lapetus, one of the Twelve, and Clymene, one of the Oceanids. However, since he was the son of one of the Titans, he is often referred to as a Titan god. In fact, there are several places where scholars derive their information about him, which could account for any discrepancies.
War of the Titans
The Titanomachy, or War of the Titans, was actually a series of battles that spanned about a ten year time period that pitted the Titan gods against the Olympian gods. They struggled against who would ultimately gain control of the universe. The end result of the war is that the Olympian gods won. Even though Prometheus was considered part of the Titan group, he actually sided with Zeus. Thus, he was on the victor’s side.
Creation of all Creatures
According to Pausanias, Prometheus and his twin brother, Epimetheus, were responsible for creating all the creatures that walk the earth, including man, whom Prometheus created in the image of the gods. However, between the two brothers, Prometheus was the only wise one. He created the creatures out of the mud in the earth, and his brother was responsible of giving them special skills.
Epimetheus, however, didn’t plan ahead. He gave the animals plenty of skills, but he ran out before he could give any to the humans that Prometheus created. So, Prometheus had to take matters into his own hands. He decided that mankind’s special gifts would be both art and fire. However, to give humans fire, he had to steal it from Zeus.
Prometheus Gives Mankind Fire
When humankind was still young, the gods wanted to keep fire all to themselves. However, Prometheus had compassion for man because of how they were living. While the gods were living in comfort, humans were living in the caves and other cold places on the earth. When Prometheus lived amongst the people, he experienced this for himself. Thus, he wanted to help mankind out by giving them the tools they need to create fire.
To do so, Prometheus went up to the heavens, to ask Zeus if he could give them fire but Zeus refused. So, Prometheus used the sun to light his torch and then hid it in a stalk of fennel so that he could deliver it to his people. Now that they had the use of fire, they could thrive. Because of Prometheus’s gift, they could cook their food, warm their homes, make tools and weapons, and use it to create money. Fire started them on the path to living civilized lives.
When Zeus found out, he was quite angry. As punishment, he captured Prometheus, chained him to a rock on the Caucasus Mountains, and kept him there. Each day, an eagle would come and eat Prometheus’s liver, which would grow back every day, just in time for the eagle to eat it again. Eventually, Heracles freed him, and with Zeus’s approval, Prometheus became a free man.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by Greek Boston