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Pronunciation : proh-MEE-thee-uhs


Greek God of : Forethought
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God of fore-thought, the exact opposite of his slightly dim-witted brother Epimetheus, who was God of after-thought.

Prometheus was clever. So clever he already knew the outcome of a forth coming clash of the titans so there was no way he was going to side with his kin-folk and be on the receiving end of a Titanic smackdown.

Not getting involved at all was as good as siding with the gods as far as Zeus was concerned, so as a reward Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus were given the job of populating the earth with living creatures.

They were given a mountain of clay and a mixed bag of qualities, skills and virtues. But Epimetheus wasn't the sharpest tool in the box and went hammer and tongs creating a mish mash of critters and stuffing them full of swiftness, cunning, strength, guile, survival instincts and intelligence. By the time he got round to creating man there wasn't a lot of good stuff left, and struggling to come up with something, anything, that would put mankind on a level pegging with the beasts Epimetheus turned to his rather more intelligent brother to bail him out.

"Epo," said Prometheus, "you are a butthole, bro! You should've paced yourself. No foresight, that's your problem!"

Prometheus racked his brains. How could he finish the job with nothing left in the bag?

"Right!" shouted Promey, "I'm gonna make them look like the gods, they're going to walk upright, have beards and everything. I'm going to give them the gift of fire too."

"Do you really think you should?' asked Epo, 'I mean, won't Zeus be offended?"

"Zeus Shmoose! He gave us artistic licence didn't he?"

What a spark of brilliance! In no time at all humans began to prosper; building homes, cooking food, keeping warm... and burning things. But just like Epometheus they weren't too bright. They were living on scraps and offering all of the best bits of their animals as gifts to the gods.

Prometheus had another brain wave. It was risky as it involved pulling the wool over the top gods eyes, but hey, his creations were suffering. Besides, he was a rebel at heart and wasn't particularly happy with the shabby treatment of his Titan family.

"Hey, big man" shouted Prometheus. "My new-fangled creations aren't really sure which one of these bundles you would prefer by way of regular offering. They don't want to upset you or anything, and will happily keep which ever one you don't want."

So, what were the options? Well, there was a parcel of prime and delicious meat, which had been cunningly wrapped in a skanky old ox hyde, with some pigs entrails dropped on top just to increase the yuk factor, or some smashed up bones, hooves and horns which were encased in sheets of spangly looking animal fat. "Take your pick" said Prometheus.

Zeus was livid when he found himself chewing on rotten animal bones, he knew he had been duped and looking down on the humans roasting delicious beef rumps didn't help matters. He was so furious he took their fire off them. What a bad sport!

In no time, men were starving, freezing too, and Prometheus just couldn't bear to see his creations suffering. He thought long and hard and came up with a plan. It was another high risk manouvre but the stakes were also high. Risking death or worse he snook up to Mount Olympus and stole back the sacred fire.

Zeus was outraged. He'd been shafted by the same guy twice!

The Hecatonchires hauled him up into the peaks of Caucases where he was lashed to the highest crag with adamantine chains. But things got worse as Zeus sent his giant eagle to tear strips off of him and peck at his liver all day long. By sunset Prometheus was wishing for death but watched in horror as the missing bits were regenerated and he was whole again ready to go through the excruciating pain all over again the next day... and every day for eternity. Doh!

But, as Hermes informed him, there was a way out...

"Prometheus, old chap. You know, that Zeus knows, that you are the only one who knows the identity of the guy who will overthrow him. You will be a free man if you spill the beans."

"Up yours shorty!" was the reply, and you've got to applaud his commitment. Prometheus would bide his time. He knew that sooner or later a certain centaur would wonder by, accidently wounded by his friend Heracles, poisoned and in agony but unable to die. He knew that he would swap his mortality for Chiron's immortality and at that moment he would be free. And Zeus knew it too.

Zeus was quite attached to his throne and needed to loosen Prometheus' tongue, fast. Time was of the essence so he devised a cunning plan...

See Pandora.
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'PROMETHEUS' - Greek entry : 26 April 2007
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