Show Summary


Prometheus and Pandora


For once when the gods and mortal men were contending, Prometheus with willing heart cut up a mighty ox and set it before them, deceiving the mind of Zeus. For he set for them the flesh and the inmeats with rich fat upon a hide, and covered them with an ox paunch; but for Zeus he set the white bones, craftily arraying them, and covering them with glistening fat. then the father of gods and men spake unto him, "Son of Iapetus,1 most notable of all princes, how unfairly hast thou divided the portions!"

Then spake to him in turn Prometheus of crooked counsels, smiling quietly, but forgetting not his crafty guile, "Zeus, most glorious, mightiest of the everlasting gods, of these portions choose whichever thy soul within thy breast biddeth thee." So spake he with crafty intent. But Zeus, who knoweth counsels imperishable, knew and failed not to remark the guile; and in his heart he boded evil things for mortal men, which were destined to be fulfilled. With both hands he lifted up the white fat. And he was angered in his heart and wrath came about his soul when he beheld the white bones of the ox given him in crafty guile. And thenceforth do the tribes of men on earth burn white bones to the immortals upon fragrant altars. Then heavily moved, Zeus the cloud gatherer spake unto him, "Son of Iapetus, who knowest counsels beyond all others, thou hast not yet forgotten thy crafty guile."

So in anger spake Zeus, who knoweth counsels imperishable. And henceforward, remembering evermore that guile, he gave not the might of blazing fire to wretched mortals who dwell upon the earth. But the good son of Iapetus deceived him and stole the far-seen gleam of unwearied fire in a hollow fennel stalk. And he stung to the depths the heart of Zeus who thundereth on high, and angered his dear heart when he beheld among men the far-shining gleam of fire.

And straightway for fire Zeus devised evil for men. The glorious Lame One1 fashioned of earth the likeness of a modest maiden as the son of Cronus devised. And the goddess, gray-eyed Athena, girdled her and arrayed her in shining raiment: and over her head she cast with her hands a cunningly-fashioned veil, a marvel to behold; and about her head Pallas Athena set lovely garlands, even wreaths of fresh grass and green. . . . And amazement held immortal gods and mortal men, when they saw the sheer delusion unescapable for men. For from her cometh the race of womankind. Yea, of her is the deadly race and the tribes of women. A great bane are they to dwell among mortal men, no helpmeet for ruinous poverty, but for abundance.2

1 Hesiod, , 535–593.

2 Hesiod enumerates the three Graces, the nine Muses, Persephone, daughter of Zeus by Demeter, Apollo and Artemis, his children by Latona, Hebe and Ares, his children by Hera. From the head of Zeus sprang the goddess Athena. Other offspring of Zeus were Hermes, messenger of the gods, Dionysus, lord of the wine-cup and the revel, and Heracles the mighty hero.

1 Iapetus the Titan, father of Prometheus.

1 The god Hephæstus.

2 These passages from Hesiod contain the earliest Greek version of two famous legends: the origin of fire, and the creation of woman. Pandora might be called the Eve of Greek mythology.

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Theogony

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Theogony

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Theogony in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 49–50. Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: . Theogony, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, pp. 49–50. Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: , Theogony. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.49–50. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from