Prometheus (the Champion of Mankind)

prometheusPrometheus was a titan god of forethought. He was also known as the father and champion of mankind because he had a special bond with his creation, teaching and helping them to progress in their life. During the history, Prometheus became a symbol of striving towards the scientific knowledge and the risk of unintended consequence which could also result in tragedy. He was a son of Iapetus and Clymene or Asia. In Aechylus Prometheus' bound, however, Themis or Gaea is mentioned as his mother and that would explain Prometheus being prophetic. He had three brothers, Atlas, Epimetheus and, variously, Menoetius and was a part of the titan family, but when certain events were set in motion and the rebellion against Cronus started, his intelligence and foresight enabled him to see the future and therefore he convinced his brother Epimetheus for them to side with the Olympians during the war and, because of it, they were spared from being imprisoned in Tartarus, alongside other titans.

Becoming the Champion of Mankind

According to various authors, Prometheus is credited as the champion of mankind. He is said to had created them with a mixture of water and clay but, according to Plato's Protagoras, the gods had created them from water and clay and Prometheus and Epmetheus were only tasked to equip them with proper traits. Some authors, on the other hand, don't say anything about the creation of mankind but are rather suggesting they were already there. According to popular belief, in which the brothers were tasked to create animals and mankind, Prometheus is said to be a true mastermind and craftsman as he started shaping men out of water and earth. prometheus mankindOnce he completed perfect figures in the image of the gods, he was only left to equip them with appropriate attributes to cover the skin and gave them ability to either defend or avoid. However, Prometheus was left without options due to his brother's lack of foresight and usage of all attributes. When Prometheus came to inspect the animals, he found out that animals were richly fashioned with fur, claws, wings and all the other attributes. He also found out that nothing was left for men, to cover them and give them something to protect themselves. He was really mad at his brother for using all attributes on animals and the day of bringing his figures to life was approaching. As described in Plato's Protagoras, he was anxious and stole Hephaestus' and Athena's wisdom in arts and gave it to mankind and along with fire, which was previously banned from mankind by Zeus, enabled them to preserve their kind and make progress in evolution. It is also said that Prometheus fancied mankind and, according to Hyginus' Fabulae, he taught them how to keep fire alive when they first got it from the gods. He also taught them how to predict future from their dreams, how to make remedies from the plants, how to live and share with eachother and also instructed them into occult art among many other things. Men really appreciated the contribution of Prometheus and hailed him as their Champion.

Punishment for stealing the Fire

Zeus felt betrayed by the act of stealing the godly fire and ordered Prometheus to be chained on the rock of Caucasus for eternity or, according to Hyginus, for three thousand years where each day an eagle was set to feed upon his regenerating ever-green liver. However, Zeus was still not satisfied and ordered Hephaestus to create Pandora. When Pandora was created and filled with gifts from the gods, Zeus planted her as a gift to his brother Epimetheus in order for them to unleash the punishment to mankind. Epimetheus, despite his brother's warning never to accept any gifts from Zeus, fell for the trap and married her. For the wedding present, Zeus gave them a box and ironically told Pandora never to open it. (For more info about Pandora's box check the content of Epimetheus).

Released from eternal torment

As mentioned above, Prometheus was punished with being chained to Caucasus for eternity, having only one friend to talk to. It was the Eagle which came to him daily to feed upon his liver. Prometheus kind of gave in, so at least he had someone to talk to. But the habit of Prometheus and the eagle was disrupted when Heracles came to Caucasus in one of his labours, when he needed information about the location of the garden of Hesperides. They agreed to exchange services and Heracles was supposed to free Prometheus after the titan would tell him about the location of the garden. Heracles then shot the giant eagle with his hydra poisonous arrow and released the titan as promised. Grateful Prometheus, finally released out of the torment, advised Heracles that the best chances of getting the apples of Hesperides is to send his brother Atlas to get them.

The prophecies of Prometheus

When Prometheus was released from Caucasus, Zeus made peace with him and gave him a ring, made of the chains, to remind him that he should never trick him again. Prometheus then in exchange warned Zeus and Poseidon about the future, when these two gods pursued Thetis, the beautfiul sea goddess. Prometheus claimed that the child will hold a destiny to be more powerful than his father. Consequently, the gods withdrew from the pursuit and Zeus made Thetis to be married with a mortal. Prometheus later found himself a bride, an oceanid of Mount Parnassos, called Pronoea. Together they had a son:

Deucalion - He had been warned by the prophecy of his father about the great flood and therefore he built a chest, provisioned it and together with Pyrrha, a daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, sailed to Mount Parnassos because it was supposed to be one of the safest places from the flood. After the event, they were instructed at the oracle of Delphi to repopulate the world with throwing "bones" of their "mother" behind their shoulders. They understood bones to be rocks and mother to be Gaea and so they started throwing rocks behind shoulders and that is how they started shaping mankind again. Rocks thrown by Pyrrha became women and rocks thrown by Deucalion became men.