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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

ANCIENT GREEK CULTURE

[From: Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]

Asclepios - Atlas - Boreas - Charites - Cybele - Dryads - Eos - Erinyes - Eros - Gaea - Gigantes - Gorgons - Hades - Harpies - Hebe - Helios - Hermaphroditus - Hestia - Horae - Iris - Kronos - Maenads - Moirai - Muses - Naiads - Nereids - Nereus - Nymphs - Oceanides - Oceanos - Pan - Persephone - Priapus - Prometheus - Rhea - Satyrs - Seilenoi - Seilenos - Selene - Themis - Thetis - Triton - Zephyros

Prometheus

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Son of the Titan Iapetus and Clymene, daughter of Oceanos, he had as brothers Atlas, Memoetius and Epimetheus. In contrast with the other Titans, Prometheus represented intelligence, and cunning, but was defeated in the unequal struggle with Zeus. Zeus hated Prometheus for being a benefactor of man who, according to one legend, was fashioned out of clay by Prometheus. He also resented the Titan for the trick played upon him by which men ate the best part of the meat at the sacrificial banquet and left the less desirable portions of the victim for Zeus. The story goes, according to Hesiod, that the supreme god and the mortals had met to decide on the apportionment of sacrifices between them. Prometheus induced Zeus by a trick to choose the bones which had been cleverly covered in fat by the Titan. To avenge himself for the trickery, Zeus deprived mankind of fire. But Prometheus stole the fire and returned the secret to man. Again enraged, Zeus sent to men a gift which pleased them initially, but was destined eventually to be a scourge to them. This woman, Pandora, whom all the gods endowed with every charm [hence "all gifts"] was led to Epimetheus by Hephaestos, and despite the admonitions of his brother Prometheus not to accept any gift from Zeus, Epimetheus accepted her, thus bringing upon the race of man many misfortunes. In addition to the secret of fire, Prometheus, according to Aeschylus, gave to mankind all those gifts which lead them from a state of barbarism to civilization. He taught them the precise hour of the rising stars, he invented the numerical system, and the alphabet, he domesticated the beasts to facilitate cultivation and to generally improve the lot of mortals. Prometheus also taught them navigation, medicine, the secrets of prognostication, interpretation of dreams, and other mystical arts, and lastly he revealed the mineral secrets of the earth including gold, silver, bronze and iron. But Zeus was always plotting to destroy humanity. He launched a cataclysmic flood in the hope that all men and women would perish. But once again Prometheus came to the rescue by instructing his son Deucalion who took as wife Pyrrha, daughter of his brother Epimetheus and Pandora, to build an ark and take shelter in this with his wife. Deucalion and Pyrrha remained in the ark for nine days and nine nights, after which the ark ran aground on the peak of Parnassus. Immediately thereafter, Deucalion emerged and made sacrifice to Zeus. The mighty Zeus was greatly touched by his action, and inquired through the offices of Hermes what would please Deucalion as a gift, and the latter asked for the creation of mankind. Zeus agreed to his behest, and from the stones that Deucalion cast on the ground men sprang up, and from the stones that Pyrrha threw women sprouted. But Zeus had not forgotten Prometheus. He exacted a terrible revenge by having him carried to the topmost peak of the Caucasus where he was chained to the rock by Hephaestos with irons that could not be broken. And an eagle was sent by Zeus to feed daily on his liver which was restored each succeeding night. This torture continued for ages, until finally Prometheus was rescued by Heracles in the thirtieth year. Heracles slew the eagle. Hephaestos unchained the prisoner, and Zeus forgave the rebel and welcomed him to Olympus. [pp. 52-53]

[Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]




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