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Prometheus unhinged – on the varied mythology

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In the previous segments, XXII Olympic Winter Games - Sochi and Prometheus and XXII Olympic Winter Games - Olympics history, we considered the Prometheus myth, how it pertains to the Olympics and why it is centered in Sochi.

The earliest source for the Prometheus myth is from late in the 8th c. BC. The Greek writer Hesiod relates the myth in his Theogony (see lines 507-616) and his Works and Days (see lines 42-105). Aeschylus’ 5th c. BC trilogy Prometheus Bound, Prometheus Unbound and Prometheus the Fire-Bringer relies on Hesiod and expands thereupon (the trilogy is attributed to Aeschylus but is now considered apocryphal and dated to as late as circa 415 BC). Prometheus also plays a minor role in Jason and the Argonauts.

Putting these together the following picture emerges (as late as the 4th c. AD writers continued to augment the Promethean myth; for example, Sappho, Plato, Aesop, Ovid, Protagoras, Hyginus, Apollodorus and Quintus of Smyrna). Prometheus is the son of Iapetus (a Titan) or Gaia and Cymene (an Oceanids; one of three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys) and is the brother of Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius and father to Deucalion.

There had been Five Ages of Man wherein Cronus and, later Zeus, created and destroyed humanity five times. Prometheus claims to have thwarted Zeus’ most recent/last attempt to destroy humanity. In later versions, Prometheus himself creates humanity, forming us out of clay.

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See a series of images on the theme of the Olympics’ Pagan roots at this link and at the attached video

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Prometheus played a key role in the Titanomachy (a pre-human war/clash between Titans and Olympians) which resulted in Zeus’ status as top dog—or, rather, top god. Prometheus who plays the role of a trickster who seeks to beguile Zeus and benefit humans. This was during the event known as the trick at Mecone wherein sacrifices were made in order to settle the accounts of mortals and immortals.

Prometheus hides beef within the stomach of a sacrificial ox and the bones of bulls within glistening fat. Zeus chose the shiny offering and so the other went to humanity. Thus, in the ends, he got a useless bunch of bones and humanity got to keep their good meat.

In revenge, Zeus takes fire away from humanity and also the means of life which meant that due to Prometheus’ actions humanity could not merely work one day in order to gain a year’s worth of supplies/livelihood. Prometheus retort is to steal the fire from Zeus within a giant fennel stalk (This is the origins of the Promethean torch so oft illustrated in antiquity and modernity within advertisements, the Olympic torch, etc.) Prometheus also instructs humanity in civilization, writing, mathematics, agriculture, medicine, science, etc.

For this, Zeus sends Pandora to live with humanity. She had been created by Hephaestus from clay which was animated by the four winds and was adorned by all the goddesses of Olympus. Pandora is said to be from whence comes human women and also a “deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth.”

Epimetheus accepted Pandora, Zeus’ gift (Pandora means all gift) even though he was warned against it by Prometheus. The term Pandora’s box is commonly known however, she carried around a jar from which she, unwittingly, unleashed “evils, harsh pain and troublesome diseases which give men death” and managed to seal the jar just in time to keep hope therein thus, Prometheus “caused blind hopes to live in the hearts of men.”

Zeus then punished Prometheus by having him bound in chains to a rock in the Caucasus (the Russian town Sochi claims that the rock is therein). Daily, an eagle pecks into his body and eats his liver which grows back and is healed only to have the eagle do it all again the next day—it is like Groundhog’s Day but with an eagle and sans the comedy. Then, within a few years, Heracles / Hercules shot the eagle with an arrow and freed Prometheus.

Although, this varies quite a bit with some myths claiming that in order to be done with the torment once and for all, Prometheus merged with the rock and became embedded therein. There are also versions whereby after some millennia, the whole this is forgotten and/or everyone just grew tired of the whole thing; the gods, the eagles and certainly Prometheus himself resulting in the wound being permanently healed.

Researchers such as Angelo Casanova trace the Prometheus figure to pre-Hesiodic time in the form of a trickster who, both, is malevolent and benevolent towards human who he created from clay. This trickster also clashed with Zeus and receives punishment and is subsequently freed. He was viewed as semi-divine in Athens.

Gaia had told Prometheus a means whereby to topple Zeus; this would come about due to the production of a certain offspring. Prometheus tells Zeus of this and the two reconcile.

The variations in the myth serve to either make Prometheus the good guy over against Zeus as the bad guy or visa versa. Some “reinforce the theodicy of Zeus: he is a wise and just ruler of the universe, while Prometheus is to blame for humanity's unenviable existence” while in some “Prometheus becomes the benefactor of humanity, while every character in the drama (except for Hermes, a virtual stand-in for Zeus) decries the Olympian as a cruel, vicious tyrant.”

PROMETHEUS AND SATAN

As the mythology changes, one-to-one correspondences are difficult to nail down however, there are reasons why the Prometheus figure has been correlated with satan.

There is cooperation and enmity between Zeus and Prometheus as there is between YHVH and satan.

Prometheus betrays Zeus as satan betrays YHVH.

Zeus punishes Prometheus as YHVH punishes satan.

Zeus willed that humanity have no access to fire but Prometheus acts against his will just as YHVH willed that humanity did not partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but satan acts against His will.

Prometheus is seen as a heroic illuminator / enlightener of humanity just as occult groups view satan in the same light.

Occult groups of all sorts, exampled by Gnosticism, turn the Genesis story of the fall upside down, inside out and backward. Thus, they turn YHVH into the bad guy who wants to keep humanity nice and ignorant while satan is viewed as the good guy who comes to the rescue.

Of course, in reality; YHVH gave humanity permission to feast on the fruits of the tree of life which would have resulted in eternal life in a perfect paradise and satan beguiled Eve to partake of the forbidden tree, the fruit of which solidified a life of sin.

HOMAGE IN STONE

At Kerameikos, Athens there was a shrine to Prometheus.

The Academy had an altar erected in his honor which (as per 2nd c. AD chronicler Pausanias) was the site wherein a “torch race” was held.

Both Greek cities Argos and Opous claimed a tomb to mark where Prometheus died.

The Greek city Panopeus had a cult which claimed to had a depiction of Prometheus in the form of a statue.

HOMAGE IN CULTURE

Pop-occulture has a long history of hearkening back to the Prometheus myth.

The mythic Prometheus poem by Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise album by black metal band Emperor.

Of Prometheus and The Crucifix song by metal-core band Trivium.

The Creatures of Prometheus ballet by Beethoven.

Prometheus Unbound play by Percy Bysshe Shelley “rewrites the lost play of Aeschylus so that Prometheus does not submit to Zeus (Shelley's Jupiter), but supplants him instead in a triumph of the human heart and intellect over tyrannical religion.”

The Modern Prometheus subtitled of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Prometheus: Poem of Fire, Opus 60 by Alexander Scriabin.

Prometheus, Symphonic Poem No. 5 by Franz Liszt.

Prometheus opera by Carl Orff (employing Aeschylus text).

Prometheus On His Crag poetry collection by Ted Hughes.

Prometheus short story by Franz Kafka.

Прометей (Prometheus) a Soviet cartoon.

प्रमीथस (Prometheus) Nepalese poetry by Laxmi Prasad Devkota.

The Prometheus Society a high IQ groups which publishes a magazine titled Gift of Fire.

Prometea the first cloned horse born from its mother.

Prometheus a moon of Saturn

1809 Prometheus name given to an asteroid.

Promethium name of the 61st element.

Prometheus poem by Lord Byron “portrays the titan as unrepentant. For the Romantics, Prometheus was the rebel who resisted all forms of institutional tyranny epitomized by Zeus — church, monarch, and patriarch.”

Prometheus Books a book publisher.

Prometheus Entertainment a video production company.

Prometheus Award awarded by the Libertarian Futurist Society for sci-fi.

Prometheus the mascot of the Technische Universiteit Delft in Holland.

Prometheus statue in main entrance of Minho University in Portugal.

God of War II a video game wherein Prometheus is liberated by the game’s main character (the player’s alter ego) Kratos.

Atlas Shrugged a book by Ayn Rand wherein Prometheus is a character.

Prometheus: Poem of Fire orchestra piece by Alexander Scriabin.

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian book by Rick Riordan wherein Prometheus appears as the Titan’s ally, “He explains this change of alliance by stating that he has foreseen that the Titans will win this time and it is suggested that all of his supposed good deeds were actually done for his own ends, portraying Prometheus as a sort of conman.”

Proto Man a character in the comic Bob And George who ends up changing his name to Prometheus.

The Big Over Easy a novel by Jasper Fforde wherein Prometheus is a character.

Moby Dick a novel by Herman Melville wherein Prometheus is employed metaphorically to denote Captain Ahab’s obsession with the great white whale, “God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and he whose intense thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart for ever; that vulture the very creature he creates.”

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Sources:

Religion.Wikia - Prometheus

En.Wikipedia - Prometheus_Bound

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