Prometheus and Pandora (Greek creation myth)

This is the Greek creation story of the Earth, the first race of humans, their demise, and then the second race of humans.

In the very beginning everything (Earth, air and ocean) were one thing and that thing was called Chaos. It was God and Nature that separated those elements into the skies, which were lightest and went up, then air which was the next lightest, then the Earth and then water which was the heaviest and kept the Earth floating.

At that point an unknown god created mountains and valleys and rivers in the Earth. Once those things were in place, fish and other animals began to populate Earth. It was left now for king of the animals, Man, to be created. Enter a Titan named Prometheus (Titans were giants who lived on Earth before people) who made man from some of the Earth mixed with water. Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus were in charge for creating Man and the other animals and for giving all a means to flourish and survive in the world. Epimetheus did most of the work while Prometheus supervised.

After the animals had been given wings, horns, gills, shells and other means to protect themselves and live, it came then to give a gift to man. However, the brothers had run out of things to give. They (Prometheus with the help of Minerva, aka, Athena) flew up to heaven and stole fire from the chariot of the Sun. They returned to Earth and gave fire to man.

The gift of fire was enough for man to dominate both his life and the other animals. From here enters the first woman, Pandora, who follows one of two possible stories. The first is that she was given as a hostile gift in the form of punishment to Epimetheus because he stole fire from heaven.

Following that story of Pandora, Epimetheus happily accepts beautiful Pandora as a gift. One day she finds a jar in his (Epimetheus’s) house that had the left-over qualities he didn’t use while making people and animals. Overcome with curiosity, she opens the jar and all the traits (they were all negative like diseases of the body and ailments of the mind like jealousy) except for one, which was hope. So, in this story, no matter how bad things are for people, there is always hope.

The other possible story of Pandora was that she was given as a blessing from Jupiter (Zeus) to bless people. Each of the gods in heaven had put a positive quality into a jar and sent it with her. She curiously opened it and all escaped except hope.

Moving on now, the creation story turns to the destruction of those first inhabitants. Earth progressed in a series of ages. First was the Golden Age when everything that was needed came from Earth and there was no need to laws or wars. Then came the Silver Age which brought about the first seasons – hot and cold – and houses were needed. From there the new ages continued to deteriorate the peacefulness of people and Earth. The last age, the Iron Age, saw the cultivating of gold and iron weapons which started wars.

Zeus was upset at how things were going on Earth. There were wars and greed and not enough worshipping the gods so he decided to kill the people and start again with a new race. He was going to throw a thunderbolt to destroy Earth but stopped because he thought that might burn heaven, also. (The gods lived in heaven). So instead he teamed up with his brother Poseidon, the god of the Sea, and flooded Earth, killing all the animals and people.

When there are only two people left, a husband and wife, alone on a stray hilltop, Zeus stops the flood. He recognized them as honest and good worshippers of the gods. They alone will repopulate Earth with a new species. When the skies clear and the water recedes back into the oceans, the husband and wife go to a temple to pray to the gods for direction, being they are the only people left alive.

An oracle answered their prayers and told them to, ‘Cast behind you the bones of your mother’. They left the temple to think about what that could mean. They come to the conclusion that the oracle meant Mother Earth by ‘mother’ and so they throw stones over their shoulders behind them. The stones turn slow into the shape of people. Stones thrown by the husband become men, by the wife, women.

That is the Greek mythology story of the creation of Earth, humans and then the new race of humans.