Key words£ºPrometheus, God, Zeus, fire 
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Genre£ºmyth Topic£ºsacrifice Words:290
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When he found out he had been tricked,
he was very angry and as a punishment
he (Zeus) took away fire from mankind...

Prometheus

(simplified version)
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Author£ºUnknown Source£ºwww.bbc.co.uk 
Nation£ºGreece Date£º2008-8-21


(Prom¨¦th¨¦e enchaîn¨¦ (Prometheus Bound) by Nicolas-S¨¦bastien Adam, 1762. Prometheus chained to a rock having his liver torn out by the eagle.)

 

Prometheus the Titan, cousin of Zeus, is known as the creator of humanity. He was the brother of Epimetheus, the reckless creator of the animals, who used all his materials on the animals and had none left for the humans. He was forced to appeal to his brother for help and Prometheus created man.

The Sacrifice

In the beginning the Gods lived in harmony with men. This lasted until it came time to decide what should be sacrificed to the Gods. Prometheus settled this by bringing an ox and dividing it into two halves - the flesh and the fat covered bones. Because the flesh looked disgusting when covered in skin, Zeus chose the fat-covered bones, not realising they were inedible. When he found out he had been tricked, he was very angry and as a punishment he took away fire from mankind and stopped the seeds growing of their own accord, meaning man would have to work to get food.

Prometheus was troubled by the confiscation of fire and decided to return it to man. He lit a stem of fennel with fire from the sun and brought it down to earth. However, the fire was now mortal, no longer permanently burning. It had to be guarded and was important because it separated man from beast.

Zeus was very angry with Prometheus for this theft. As a punishment he chained Prometheus to a mountain. There Prometheus was plagued by an eagle who tore out his liver, which would grow back by the next day. He was released from his torment when Heracles shot the eagle and freed him. Zeus relented and decreed that Prometheus should only have to wear a ring made of his chains in future. 

 


Discussion£º

1. Why did Zeus take away fire from mankind? 

2. How did Prometheus steal fire from heaven?

3. How did Zeus punish Prometheus for his theft?

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