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The myth of Prometheus explains how human beings first discovered fire. Prometheus was the youngest and kindest of the Titans and even though he was a Titan himself, together with his brother Epimetheus, he sided with Zeus during the Titanomachy, the Great War between the Titans and the Olympians. 

He became powerful and honored in the new court of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus. But he saw that humans still suffered and decided to give them the divine secret of fire. Fire had been a secret passed from the Titans down to the Olympians and it was strictly forbidden to give this gift to any of the other beings. It is said that Prometheus transported the fire to human beings directly, handed it to them and then they had to maintain it as they moved around at the countryside with great difficulty and danger. If the fire went out the tribe would be doomed. But the fire did not go out, because people respected Prometheus’ gift.

Unfortunately, fate was not so kind to Prometheus. Zeus and the other gods discovered that he had broken their taboo and their rage knew no bounds. As they could not take the secret of fire back from mankind, they made sure that Prometheus would suffer eternally for his deed. Zeus found a rock by the sea, chained Prometheus to it and sent an eagle to eat his immortal liver every day, which then grew back every night. Years later, the Greek hero Hercules killed the eagle and freed Prometheus from this torment.

Prometheus was a figure who represented human striving, particularly the quest for scientific knowledge and he is regarded as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could result in tragedy.