A Conversation for The Discovery of Fire
Gildor Started conversation Nov 18, 1999
I always understood that Zeus never forgave Prometheus.
See, that fire that Prometheus stole was the only stuff keeping Mount Olympus warm, having a timberline up in the stratosphere and all, and Prometheus didn't just put a stick into the hearth and carry that down with him: he took a whole log from the hearth! Also, Zeus was not characteristically a forgiving god: when his edicts were disobeyed, people got their butts in slings, or more commonly, shot up with lightning.
What was the source you used for that story, TWF? (Or Si, or Gargleblaster, or whoever wrote the darn thing I'm so confused now?)
The Wisest Fool Posted Nov 18, 1999
About xx years ago I read Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein". The byline was "The Modern Prometheus". I was interested so I looked up the mythology of Prometheus somewhere - probably an Encyclopedia. I'm afraid I can't pin it down any more than that.
I'm pretty sure that Zeus didn't immediately punish Prometheus with the 'eagle' treatment. After the 'stealing fire' incident, Zeus wanted man to make an offering to him to make amends and the men assembled two piles of food such that Zeus could pick the better pile and the remainder would be all that the humans had to eat. If I remember rightly, Prometheus intervened and disguised the bigger pile of food to look like the lesser. Zeus picked the (in reality) lesser pile and later found out he had been tricked. This, as I understood it, is when he finally lost his rag with young Mr P and sentenced him to endless suffering.
If I am hopelessly wrong then I would be delighted to be corrected on the matter. It's rather hard to give an attribution to "Some author, Some book, Somewhere, Written Sometime" so I just wrote the bit about Prometheus off the top of my head. If I think I know something then I tend to not research it *too* hard. Mea culpa perhaps.
Maybe I'm just losing my marbles...
Gildor Posted Nov 18, 1999
The story about the offering of food does sound very familiar, but I think it belongs to another myth. I'll look it up, and post back here when I find out.
Meanwhile, does anybody here know the scoop on this one? Please say something if so.
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Nov 19, 1999
Well, here's one version...
Prometheus was a Titan [more powerful than the gods of Olympus] Promethus took sides with Zeus when he battled the other Titans and became the most powerful of the gods of Olympus.
Zeus gave Prometheus, and his brother Epimetheus, the job of creating man. Epimetheus gave all the best gifts to the animals [speed, strength, cunning, etc.] first, leaving nothing for man. To compensate, Prometheus gave man the gift of walking upright like the gods, and the gift of fire--which he stole from the gods. He also tricked Zeus into letting man sacrifice the yucky parts of animals to the gods [entrails, etc] and keeping the good parts for themselves.
For this reason, Prometheus is known as the protector and benefactor of man.
For his cunning against the gods, Prometheus was punished by Zeus, who ordered him chained to a rock with an eagle tearing at his liver. He was to be left there for all eternity, or until he agreed to disclose to Zeus which of Zeus' children would try to replace him. He was eventually rescued by Hercules, without ever giving in to Zeus' demands.
At least that's the version Aeschelus used in his play 'Promethus Bound'back in 460 B.C.
Gildor Posted Nov 19, 1999
That sounds about right, but I don't know that walking upright was a gift from Prometheus... Then again, this is Ancient Mythology we're talking about here...
Hhmmmm.... Might make a good guide entry.
DEATH Posted Dec 27, 1999
I'm no thief, but if I was I'd be the sort of thief who stole fire from the gods. Yeah, we already have it, but ther must be an UPGRADE or something by now.
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