In Greek mythology, who was responsible for giving fire to humans?

And the answer: Prometheus.    

Photo credit: public domain. 

With a name that translates to "Forethought," Prometheus was the Titan god who was given the task of moulding mankind out of clay. His attempts to better the lives of humans, such as giving them fire, put him in direct conflict with Zeus.

As the ancient story goes, Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus were faced with a choice during the war of Greek gods and Titans: fight for Olympus and receive powerful Zeus' blessing, or fight against them and be cast to the pits of Tartarus. Clever and mischievous Prometheus convinced his brother to fight for Olympus, in return receiving a remarkable task from Zeus. Together, the brothers were entrusted to create all living things.

Epimetheus was to distribute the gifts of the gods among the creatures of the land. Flight was given to some, the ability to swim to others, and four legs to race on land to a select few. Meanwhile, Prometheus was tasked with another significant aspect of creation: humanity. Shaping the first humans out of mud, Prometheus formed the first humans in the image of the gods (but powerless, per Zeus' direction). While Zeus deemed humans subservient, mortal creatures, Prometheus saw their potential for greatness. Against the will of the most powerful gods, Prometheus climbed Mount Olympus to steal and deliver to human hands the invaluable gift of fire.

Prometheus instantly faced the wrath of Zeus. As the myth relates, his punishment was eternity chained to a rock, each day losing his liver to hungry birds and each night regrowing it to start all over again. However cruel the sentence, empathetic and moral Prometheus was said to have never regretted his gift to mankind. Literature remembers the mythological face for the knowledge, progress, and power he brought to human hands.


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