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Who Was Prometheus in Greek Mythology?

Vijith Menon Mar 18, 2020
Prometheus is one of the prominent Titans in Greek mythology. Read ahead his story, and some things you may not have known about him.

Gift of God

The Olympic flame is a symbol commemorating the gift of fire given to mankind by Prometheus. Prometheus is a Titan in Greek mythology best-known for bringing fire to mankind. 
Legend suggests that it was Prometheus who bestowed this fiery miracle upon us. He is considered to have stolen fire from Olympus. This was against Zeus' will, because of which Prometheus was punished. There are different versions of stories narrating his feats and his punishment.

The Origin

The Titans were conceived as the result of the union of Uranus (Sky God) and Gaia (Mother Earth). They included the Titans; six sons (Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Crius, and Iapetus) and six daughters (Rhea, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, Mnemosyne, and Themis), Hekatonkheires, hundred-handed giants, and Cyclops, one-eyed monsters.
Uranus had imprisoned his youngest children (Hekatonkheires and Cyclops) as he thought they were too ugly. But Gaia couldn't bear to see her children in such a miserable state and fashioned a sickle and asked her other sons to castrate Uranus. But it was Cronus, the youngest of the Titans who volunteered for the job.
Cronus castrated his father and ended his reign. He re-imprisoned the Hekatonkheires and the Cyclops. Thus, Cronus ruled the Heavens with his remaining brothers and sisters (the Titans), unaware he would befall the same fate as his father.
Iapetus, one of the earlier Gods of craftsmanship, married Clymene or Asia, the daughter of Oceanus. Together, they had four children named Atlas, Menoetius, Epimetheus, and Prometheus.


Zeus had won the Titanomachy (War of the Titans) and imprisoned his father and the rest of the Titans in Tartarus. Since Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus kept a neutral stance during the war, they escaped imprisonment. Zeus gave them the benefit of doubt and sent them to Earth. They were assigned the task of creating creatures on Earth.
While Epimetheus created animals and the trees and gave them special attributes to protect themselves, Prometheus molded man out of clay in the image of the Gods. But Epimetheus had run out of tricks when it came to man.
Prometheus decided to steal fire from Hephaestus' workshop and bestowed it upon man, so he could survive in the wild. With the help of fire, man started building houses and cooking meat. Soon enough, he started to flourish. Zeus was angered at the sudden transformation of man and decided to reclaim the gift.

Pandora's Box

Angered by the deception of Prometheus and seeing human beings enlightened by the gift of fire, Zeus summoned Hephaestus, the God of blacksmiths, and commanded him to create the most beautiful woman to appear on Earth.
The rest of the Gods blessed her with unique traits of beauty, intelligence, and pathos. They named her Pandora, the all-gifted. Zeus gave her a box with strict instructions, not to open it. Meanwhile, Prometheus predicted that Zeus would want retribution and warned Epimetheus not to accept any gifts from Zeus.
True to the prediction, Zeus approached Epimetheus and presented him with Pandora. So enchanted he was with her beauty, that he asked her to marry her on sight. Pandora lived happily with Epimetheus and bore children. But one day, the box caught her attention and she opened it to pursue her curiosity.
But to her dismay, all sorts of diseases and evils came out. She shut the lid down quickly and hope is all that remained. True to Zeus' delight, mankind was almost extinguished with flood, famine, and diseases spread throughout the world. The only people that survived were Deucalion, the son of Prometheus and Clymene.


Prometheus figured that Zeus would deny his request of any skills to bestow on the humans. He had the gift of clairvoyance and he could see events before they even happened. Man had started making animal sacrifices to please the Gods.
Unwilling to see his creations suffer, he took two portions of meat; one covered on the outside with delicious meat but with bones on the inside while the other with real meat hidden inside animal hide; however, Zeus chose the former. Thus, humans could sacrifice the bones to Gods while keeping the meat to themselves.
For this betrayal, Zeus kept Prometheus in captivity, in the Caucasus Mountains. He was chained to a rock and tormented by a giant eagle who ate his liver, only to be regenerated by night. This routine would continue for eons until at last he was rescued by Hercules, another Greek hero.


Deucalion was warned by Prometheus to create a raft for his safety while the rest of the world continued to enjoy the fruits of labor and ignored his warnings. When the floods struck, Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha (daughter of Pandora) were the only ones remaining. Somehow, they reached an island and stood at the beach alone.
After a while, they heard a voice telling them to pick the grains of sand and throw them over their shoulders. Mystified, they did so, and to their surprise, sprang men behind Deucalion and women behind Pyrrha. Thus, the human race was saved from extinction and Deucalion ruled the first of them.
Prometheus, after being freed from captivity, lived among his creations aiding them in their struggles. Some say he still exists, ageless and wise, giving advice to anyone who asks.