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The Legend of Prometheus
How fire came to humankind

Prometheus is one of the Titans, a figure from Greek mythology. Titans are the unbelievably strong and immortal children of Gaia and Uranus, thus mother Earth and the heavens themselves. Of the Titans, Prometheus was known as the "Friend of Mortals" and according to Greek mythology, the creator of humankind. He formed images of the gods out of clay which he imbued with both good and bad attributes. With her divine breath, the goddess Athena imparted his figures with her spirit and thus the human race was born.

The legend of Prometheus encompasses the whole myth of creation. Because humans multiplied quickly but lived crudely and aimlessly, Prometheus took it upon himself to be their teacher. He showed them how to use their senses and how they could use the gifts of the earth for themselves. The gods and the father of the gods, Zeus, protected humankind but demanded worship and sacrificial offerings for it. Prometheus was certainly clever, but overestimated himself when he sought to trick Zeus with a sacrificial offering. As a punishment, humankind was not allowed the gift of fire.

In spite of the punishment, the crafty Prometheus wanted to provide humans with fire and stole it with the help of a torch from a passing wagon belonging to the sun-god Helios (picture). For this crime Zeus punished all mankind most cruelly: Pandora was created and sent to the earth, where her box of all evils was opened and out of it death and pain spread throughout the world.

Prometheus' punishment for this crime consisted of being bound to a rocky precipice with unbreakable chains (picture) while a great eagle ate his liver on a daily basis. Because he was immortal, this punishment caused Prometheus boundless pain. After several hundred years he was released by the hero Heracles but was still punished by forever having to carry around a chain with a heavy stone attached.

Covenant titled one song on the album 'Northern Light' with the name of this Titan. In this context, the repeated use of fire-metaphors in the song's lyrics is striking. Above all the line: "With my torch I light your way" reminds one of the Greek myth. Furthermore, the line "This is the price of our lies" could be inspired by the punishment the gods inflicted on Prometheus for his deeds.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org; paintinghere.com
Information source: wikipedia.de; mythentor.de
Text: Johanna Göring
Translation: Anne Smith


Related Links:

Lyrics: Prometheus

Culture: Deutsche Version [d]

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