greek mythology

Epimetheus

Epimetheus the Titan

Epimetheus was a Titan son of the Titan Laepethus and Oceanus daughter Clymene or Themis.
His brother was Prometheus and together they had the task to create the human beings and give them what they would need to survive. Prometheus made the humans out of clay and stole the fire from Zeus and brought it to them, which he was severely punished for.
Epimetheus married the first woman, Pandora, and as a wedding gift the gods gave her a box that was never to be opened. Not being able to resist her curiosity, Pandora eventually opened it, and all the sorrows and sicknesses of the world flew out of it. She closed the box, but only hope remained.
The couple had a daughter: Pyrrha, wife of Deucalion.

On seeing his brother punished in such a terrible way by Zeus, Epimetheus, with the benefit of hindsight, thought it would be wiser to accept Zeus’ gift of Pandora as a wife. They married and his love for this beautiful maiden, blessed with all the gifts of the gods, grew. Among the gifts from Zeus that she brought with her to the house of Epimetheus was an urn. She was instructed by Zeus never to take the lid of this jar but Zeus knew that the curious Pandora would not be able to resist peeking into something that she was specifically told not to.

As time went on her imagination ran riot, and the hidden contents of the urn became an obsession with her. Perhaps inside was hidden magic, or treasures, the secrets of eternal life or youth. So it was that one day, when Epimetheus was away, she very carefully tried to ease the lid off just a little in order to glimpse what was inside. Suddenly, however, there was a blast from the urn and the lid flew into the air. From the urn a whirlwind of jabbering demons flew, each one depicting the evils of the world: pain, sorrow and old age; infirmity, blindness, poverty and toil, madness, greed and evil; toil, guilt and shame; hatred and jealousy. The demons were so numerous that they darkened the room.

As they swirled around they attacked and stung Pandora before speeding off to inject their poison into mankind. On realising what she had done, Pandora quickly tried to close the lid of the urn but not before the last creature, a small-bedraggled birdlike form, struggled out and fluttered away. This was Hope. As a consequence, mankind who until that time had not experienced pain, death or sickness, was punished by the gods and doomed to be at the mercy of the sorrows and bad things in the world. Hope, however, always remains to make the human condition more bearable.