Prometheus: Fire of gods and the book of knowledge to mankind.
The art work:Prometheus unbound humans from the chains of ignorance and superstition giving them the book of knowledge and the heavenly stolen fire or the spark of reason, holding the torch of divine fire.
In the back there is a bronze tripod from 9th century B..
Prometheus was a God or Titan in Greek mythology. He was the creator of mankind and the greater humanist.
Creation of Man.
Prometheus was the Titan or god of forethought. He was the creator of mankind using clay (from earth , fire and water). Prometheus created mortals from clay and fire, while goddess Athena had breathed life into them, using butterflies to carry the souls.
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 45 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :“Prometheus, after forming men from water and earth, gave them fire…”.
Sappho, Fragment 207
Prometheus was for that, the creator of humans. These mortals suffered from the pains of hunger and cold. Prometheus felt sorry for the plight of humanity.
Fire from the Gods to Man.
In ancient Greek mythology, when Zeus mistreated man, the Titan Prometheus stole the heavenly fire from Olympus , the mountain of the gods, and gave it to humans even though he knew Zeus would not approve his act. Except fire, Prometheus gave to humans many arts and sciences. He gave them the letters, the numbers, taught them the metals and gave them hope. Prometheus was the founder or creator of arts, of adaptation of animals, the founder of agriculture, the founder of calculation and writing and he helped for the discovery of metals (bronze, iron, silver and gold).Prometheus gave those gifts, for his love for humans.
Fire as a universal symbol of truth and life, but also as a force of purification and katharsis even for the gods:
In Wagner’s opera “Gotterdammerung”, goddess Brunnhilde throughs a torch on Siegfried’s funeral pyre–an act which foreshadows the end of the gods in the all-consuming fire.
At Siegfried act 3 ,hero Siegfried search for Brunnhilde, and reaches the Valkyrie rock, where he finds a magic fire protecting the goddess.
See Act 3: Hear magic Fire Music theme:
In another chapter of Greek mythology, Titan Prometheus saved the human race from death and extinction, by warning his son, Deucalion, of a great flood that was coming.
Book of Knowledge : Letters from Prometheus, enlightenment from a god.
According to Aeschylus and his theatrical play Prometheus Bound, titan Prometheus invented the letters, ” creative mother of the Mousai’s (Muses’) arts, with which to hold all things in memory”.
This love for mankind roused the hate of olympian god Zeus, who then punnished mankind with Pandora and her box of evil or Pandora’s box.
As a result of the gift of fire and of knowledge,titan Prometheus was punished as only an immortal could be.
The eternal punishment of the gods: Prometheus a science hero, a martyr for humans.
Zeus or Jupiter, king of the Olympians and father of all gods, ordered Prometheus forever chained to a rock, where each day an eagle ate Titan’s regenerating liver (like the other punished titan Tityus , see below links), but each day his liver grew back, and there was no end to his suffering.
After 30.000 years of punishment, Hercules the son of Zeus, liberated the martyr god. Zeus wanted Prometheus to carry a reminder of his punishment forever – he ordered Prometheus to make a steel ring from the chains he was in, and wear that ring from then on.
Since then, the mankind started creating rings in order to celebrate Prometheus and remember his great help.
Also Zeus, according to other legends, ordered Prometheus to carry in that ring, a piece of the rocky stone he was chained to.
Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol 90 R. J. Tarrant.
The four most ancient historical sources for the Prometheus myth are Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, and Pythagoras.
Plato uses the myth of Prometheus in his dialogue” Protagoras”.
Prometheus Bound is an ancient Greek tragedy of Aeschylus. See more for translations and details for the authenticity of the work.
For Prometheus trilogy of Aeschylus or Prometheia see:
War in Heaven: A patern theme in global mythology.
Prometheus took part in the battle of Titans: Zeus started a war against his father Cronus with his brothers and sisters as allies: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Zeus released the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes from the earth (where they had been imprisoned by Cronus) and they allied with him as well. The Hecatonchires hurled stones, and the Cyclopes forged for Zeus his iconic thunder and lightning. Fighting on the other side allied with Cronus were the other Titans with the exception of Themis and her son Prometheus who allied with Zeus.
Altar of Prometheus in Ancient Athens (ancient Greek altar and lampadephoria for Prometheia celebration or torch race as an act representing Prometheus flame from the sky)
The altar or sanctuary of Prometheus in the grove of the Academy was the point of origin for several significant processions and other events regularly observed on the Athenian calendar.
Read more for Prometheus myth at:
Prometheus drawings and pasterpieces of:
Henry Fuseli, Prometheus 1770–1
Richard Cosway, Prometheus c.1785–1800
John Flaxman, Prometheus Bound 1794
Henry Fuseli, Hephaestus, Bia and Crato Securing Prometheus on Mount Caucasus c.1810
José de Ribera
Parmigianino:Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola; 1503–1540)Prometheus Animating Man, ca. 1524–27:Not exactly the same theme, but prometheus nevertheless!
Karel van Mander