The Titan who didn't know when to stop

Dec 27, 2010

Titan Prometheus loved humans and humankind. But why did a supreme being show so much love to a trivial race such as humans? Maybe it's because in some version of the myth (before 4BC) he was the maker of the human race.

Prometheus, mysteriously created a bond with the humans by giving to them every skill, from arithmetic to navigation to medicine to prophecy. But he didn't stop there. If he did stop there, nobody would judge his generosity.

His greatest gift to mankind was fire.

He went up to mount Olympus, Kingdom of Gods, stole a glowing ember from the sacred earth and hid it in a hollow torch. He carried it down to earth, pass it on to mankind, and told them never to walk in darkness again. From then on, men were never cold and no beast dared to attack them, for they feared the light of the fire.

Now that men learned to burn pretty much everything, they've stopped looking at the ground, the dirt, and start looking at the smoke crawling upward the heavens, to the stars. They began to wonder and think, they began to imagine and feel the divine. They were not sham creatures no more. The humans transformed Earth to a Disneyland of the Gods with the temples they built.

They were honoring the Gods by burning on the temples' altars the best pieces of meat from an animal, and the Gods loved it!

Zeus was ready to forgive Prometheus' act of stealing the fire but Prometheus didn't let go. He didn't stop there. If he did stop there, everybody would have been happy and peaceful.

Prometheus didn't want the hard earned food of the humans to get wasted in this way. So, he told the humans to butcher an animal and divide the meat into two equal piles. In the first pile should be the good meat hidden under the animal's bones. In the second pile should be the guts of the animal covered with snow-white fat. Prometheus then invited Zeus to come down to earth and decide which pile he wanted for the sacrifices. Zeus being Zeus, suspected that this was a trick but he still made a choice: the snow-white pile. But after this fiasco everything changed for both, Prometheus and humans.

For Prometheus' punishment of not knowing when to stop, Zeus chose a never ending torture: he banished Prometheus on the Caucasus Mountains tied up with unbreakable heavy chains. Every day an Eagle ate his liver (the liver symbolized strong passion) and every night his immortal liver healed up; but every day the eagle returned and he had to suffer again, until the eagle was shot and killed by the arrows of, the one and only, Hercules.

For humans' punishment of cheating the Gods, Zeus chose a more subtle yet tricky way of misery: he commanded Hephaestus, master of insanely mad technology and god of fire, to create the first woman. He made her very beautiful based on Aphrodite's looks. He gave her a jar and sent her up to Olympus to ask the Gods to put in her jar one positive and one negative element of Life. Thus, the beautiful woman was named Pandora, meaning Every-Gift (Pan = Everything, Dora = Gift).

Zeus, then, sent Hermes down to earth, to accompany Pandora and to introduce her to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Prometheus, having the ability to foresee, advised his brother not to accept any gifts from the Gods. But he was too late. Epimetheus fell in love with Pandora and accepted her present and when he opened the jar, first swarmed out the negative elements: Greed, Pain, Envy, Deceit and all the evils that corrode humankind ever since. Epimetheus got so scared, he sealed up the jar and burried it underground with the positive elements inside. Only Hope did get out of the jar in time.

So, we have Fire and Hope and a myriad of negative elements. Tied up on the Caucasus Mountain with heavy, unbreakable iron chains, Prometheus' isolation to travel into the lonesome realm of suffering, leaves us only with the Hope that he still has somewhere in his heart a Burning desire to give us one more gift from the Gods. Anything. Even if it would mean a perilous journey south.

Xenios Theocharous


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