Greek mythology represents a combination of ancient stories and myths about creatures that were mythological but also real. Greek mythology is especially valued and popular around the world, probably because of the way Greeks devoted attention to it and made it so special. Mythology in ancient Greece was everything that mattered and people strongly believed in everything that was being told about the ruling gods.
Some characters from Greek mythology are fictional but some of them are not. Some stories are based on real events that took place in ancient Greece and countries surrounding it, which were filled with magical creatures, amazing divine abilities of main heroes and many other things. People loved their gods and devoted their lives to worshipping them and making them even more known.
One of the reasons why Greek mythology remained so popular even in present times is because these was no mythology and culture so strong and influential as the Greek civilization. They gave us diplomacy, democracy and they are the founders of some of the modern rules we live by today.
In today’s text we will be talking about the Greek god Prometheus and the reason why he belongs to one of the more prominent and well-known deities in Greek mythology. His addition to the Greek mythology and stories surrounding him are extraordinary and worth listening to, so if you ever wanted to know more about Prometheus here is a chance to do that.
Mythology and Symbolism
Prometheus was a Titan but also a hero to the entire nation of Greece. According to myths and legends, he created the man out of clay. The reason why Prometheus belongs to one of the most popular Greek figures is because he was considered to be highly intelligent and a champion who represented the entire race of humans. Prometheus was mentioned in many stories and myths across Greek culture. Many of those myths are highly important and well-known by people who aren’t even involved in the Greek mythology.
One of the myths mentions Prometheus and the birth of Athens. According to these myths, Zeus had a major headache and Prometheus suggested him to use a stone and hit his head with it to make the pain stop. Once Zeus did this, goddess Athens popped out of his head and the headache stopped. In another version of this story, Zeus’s head was cured by Hefestus. Either way, Prometheus is often linked with the birth of the powerful goddess Athens and this is one of the first mentioning’s of his name in stories.
According to the legend, Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus came to the Greek area of Bitius and there they made clay figures. Athens decided to take this figures and give them life, which was the creation of first humans according to the Greek legend. This myth actually links Prometheus to the creation of first humans, which is one of the most important links to his name.
Zeus later demanded that the humans bring him sacrifice and obey him. Prometheus decided to sacrifice a large ox and split him into two pieces. In the first half he put grease and covered it with ox’s skin and on the other he put ox’s bones which he covered with fat. Prometheus then asked Zeus to choose a piece for himself, and the Zeus saw a hoax so he chooses the half with bones so that he can have a reason to inflict revenge on humans.
Another version of the myth tells that Zeus wasn’t able to see through the hoax and that made him angry. He forbidden his brother to make humans civilized and Athens decided to jump into human’s salvation. She taught Prometheus to civilize people and therefore tricked Zeus again. Angry Zeus then decided to forbid humans to use fire and to create it.
Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus, gave all the animals good characteristics and when he came to humans, there was no good characteristic left. To help humans be superior over animals,
Prometheus decided to give humans fire and help them rule over the animal kingdom. After Prometheus did this, there was no option to take away from the humans what the god has given them, so Zeus decided to hate the entire human nation and to punish Prometheus.
According to a myth, Zeus demanded Hephaestus to enslave Prometheus in shackles on the mount Caucasus. He later sent an eagle called Etonus to slowly chew on Prometheus and eat his liver. Eagle was the sacred animal to Zeus but Prometheus was immortal and his liver was rejuvenated each day. This ritual of an eagle eating his liver each day after rejuvenation was inflicted so that Prometheus can suffer each day until the end of time. Heracles found Prometheus on the mountain and freed him from his shackles.
Prometheus also knew which of his wives is going to give birth to a child that is going to take him off his throne, just like he took off the throne his father Cronus. This is one of the reasons why Prometheus was shackled and the punishment was supposed to last for 30.000 years.
Zeus was angry that his son Heracles freed Prometheus, because he was his son. Prometheus returned to mount Olymp after he was set free but he had to wear the rock he was tied to for the rest of eternity on his back.
To punish humans, Zeus decided to create a woman called Pandora. She was supposed to be a gift to humans and other gods gave her various gifts, and one of them was curiosity. Prometheus told his brother Epimetheus that he shouldn’t accept any gifts from the gods, but he couldn’t resist Pandora’s charm. Hermes warned Epimetheus about Pandora’s Box that shouldn’t be opened.
Pandora couldn’t resist the temptation because she was curious, and all the evils of the world came out of the box. The humanity began obsessed with greed, passion, illness and hunger. Pandora closed the box and opened it again, which allowed the hope to come out of the box which shined some light over humanity.
Meaning and Facts
The name Prometheus comes from the Greek word prometheia which means to foresee or to predict. This name can be compared to the etymology of the name of his brother Epithomeus, which means premise. The name Prometheus is often used in popular culture to name different things. Prometheus was the symbol of nobility, generosity and sacrifice for the human race. This Greek god was also a symbol of overcoming obstacles and intelligence that is used for the greater good. Saturn’s moon is called after this Greek deity and in 1809; a volcano on the moon called Io was also called Prometheus.
Prometheus was represented as an epitome of something good, noble and as a deity prepared to gift so much to the human race. His character is often linked to the vision of God in Christianity because Prometheus created humans from clay, according to a legend. In Christianity we have a God who created human beings and gave them life.
In art, Prometheus if often portrayed as a prisoner on the mount Caucasus together with an eagle. These paintings are representations of Prometheus’s suffering and his fight for the human race. Other representations of Prometheus are with clay figures of humans, fire or together with his brother Epimetheus.
There is not much information about Prometheus and his childhood. In Hesiod’s Theogony, a name Iapetus is mentioned as well as the name Clymene as parents of the Prometheus. There are also mentioning’s of titans Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius who were his brothers. According to most stories, Prometheus together with his brother Epimetheus were supposed to gift people various gifts and make them civilized. In other stories, Prometheus was the first human being created from clay, which is a completely different representation of this Greek deity.
Greek myths tell us that the reason why we are civilized and why we have fire today, is because Prometheus gifted people this ultimate gift. After his brother used all of the good qualities on animals, they had nothing left for the human beings. This is why Prometheus decided to gift people with something they can use to fight against animals and rule them.
Some stories even mention that Prometheus stole fire from Athens workshop on mount Olympus and gave it to humans. This is why this Greek deity is so worshipped and beloved by humans, because he was the reason why human beings survived and were able to develop. Besides being linked to the story of human development and survival, Prometheus was also linked to Pandora. Pandora was a gift for humans by gods, but she was supposed to bring chaos and ruin once she came to Earth.
Prometheus warned his brother not to accept anything from gods, but he fell in love with beautiful Pandora. Linked to this story is the story about Pandora’s Box and the chaos that came to Earth after opening it. Pandora was gifted with many things and one of them was curiosity. This is the reason why Pandora couldn’t resist and she opened the box. After this moment, the humanity became obsessed with greed, passion and other negative characteristics that continue to divide us and make our lives living hell.
In most paintings and statues, Prometheus was portrayed as naked with some symbols that are linked to him such as eagle, fire or he was painted in the presence of Athens and his brother Epimetheus. Many important myths and stories linked to the creation of people are tied to Prometheus which only puts him in the center of Greek mythology and make him one of the more important Greek mythology characters.
Greek mythology represents a combination of ancient stories and myths about creatures that were mythological but also real. Greek mythology is especially valued and popular around the world, probably because of the way Greeks devoted attention to it and made it so special. People loved their gods and devoted their lives to worshipping them and making them even more known. One of the reasons why Greek mythology remained so popular even in present times is because these was no mythology and culture so strong and influential as the Greek civilization. They gave us diplomacy, democracy and they are the founders of some of the modern rules we live by today.
Prometheus is one of the most important Greek characters and his existence is tied to many important stories surrounding the human origin and origin of human consciousness. Prometheus became the symbol of knowledge, intelligence and overall a hero to the entire human race and human kind. His importance in Greek mythology can easily be seen if we look how often his name is still being used in popular culture and when we look at the impact that his existence left on the human kind.