Prometheus ('forethinker'), in Greek myth, a Titan, son of lapetus and Themis (or Clymene daughter of Oceanus). He was thought of as the champion of humankind against the hostility of the gods. In some stories he himself created men out of clay (from Panopea, near Chaeronea in Boeotia, visited by Pausanias) in the second century AD. When Zeus, having no love for men, deprived them of fire, Prometheus stole a spark from heaven (or from the forge of Hephaestus) and brought it to them in a stalk of fennel (narthex). He also taught them all kinds of arts and sciences, thus improving their brutish lives. In the apportionment of sacrificed animals between men and the gods, he induced Zeus by a trick to choose the less desirable portion (bones covered with fat), the meat being left for men. (This story is obviously meant to account for the fact that it was usually the inedible parts of a sacrifice which were allotted to the gods.) To avenge himself Zeus caused Hephaestus to create a woman, Pandora, fashioned out of clay. Athena breathed life into her, and the other gods endowed her with every charm (whence her name, 'all gifts'), but Hermes taught her flattery and guile. This woman was sent not to Prometheus, who was too cunning to accept such a dangerous gift, but to his brother Epimetheus ('he who thinks afterwards'), who gladly received her, although warned by his brother not to take any gifts from Zeus. She brought with her a jar containing all kinds of evils and diseases from which men had hitherto been free; this she opened, and they all fiew out, leaving only Hope inside, under the lid, as a consolation for men. Pandora's jar seems to have become a 'box' in post-classical times by a confusion with the box which Psyche was forbidden to open in the story in Apuleius' Golden Ass.

Prometheus also knew the secret concerning the marriage of Thetis, but refused to reveal it to Zeus, who wished to marry Thetis himself. To punish him Zeus had him chained to a lonely rock usually said to be in the Caucasus, where an eagle daily fed on his liver which grew again each succeeding night (being a Titan, Prometheus was immortal). This torture continued for long ages until Prometheus was released either by Heracles shooting the eagle with his bow, or by his submitting and revealing the secret about Thetis. Prometheus was worshipped in Attica as a god of craftsmen, he was the father of *Deucalion by a wife variously named.