PROMETHEUS

Real Name: Prometheus

Occupation: god of prophecy and forethought, advisor to Zeus

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general populace of earth is unaware of Prometheus except as a mythological character.

Other Aliases: None known

Marital Status: Unknown, possibly Married

Place of Birth: Unrevealed, possibly Olympus

Known Relatives: Iapetus (father), Clymene (mother), Atlas, Eprimetheus (brothers), Menoetius (brother, deceased); Asia (wife, possibly separated), Deucalion (son, deceased), Pyrrha (niece/daughter-in-law); Amphictyon, Hellen (grandsons, deceased); Pandora, Thyria, Protogenia (granddaughters, deceased); Aeolus, Dorus, Graecus, Xuthus (great-grandsons, deceased); Achaeus, Ion (great-great grandsons, deceased); Dione, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Tethys, Theia, Themis (aunts); Cronus, Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Oceanus, Ophion (uncles); Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hades, Hestia, Chiron, Asteria, Leto, (cousins); The Pleiades, The Hyades, The Hesperides (nieces); Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Despoena, Dionysus, Eileithyia, Eris, Hebe, Hephaestus, Hermes, Hercules, Persephone, Triton (cousins); Jason, Atalanta, Bellerophon (descendants, deceased)

Group Affiliation: ally of Hercules and the Olympian Gods

Base of Operations: Olympus

First Appearance: Avengers I #282

History: Prometheus is a member of an other-dimensional race of beings known as the Titans who were worshipped as gods in the region that would be known as modern Greece after the end of the Hyborian Age, a vague period of time which occurred after the sinking of Atlantis but before known written records. According to some accounts, the Titans divided earth amongst them and were revered as gods, becoming associated with certain objects and locations; Oceanus became god of the sea and Hyperion was god of the sun among others. When they tired of earthly rule, they departed to Mount Olympus in Northern Greece to be revered as deities by the Ancient Greeks.

Prometheus was born the son of Iapetus and a minor goddess named Clymene; his brothers included Atlas, Menoetius and Eprimetheus, all of them considered Titans as their father. The Titans were the children of the primeval sky-god, Ouranus, who had mated with Gaea, the primeval earth-goddess. Ouranus was proud of the Titans for being physically perfect, but he exiled to Tartarus progeny known as the Cyclopes and the Hecatocheiroi for being less than perfect. Gaea was upset that Ouranus had exiled her children and sought from among the Titans a son who could overthrow his father. Among the Titans, the Titan known as Cronus promised to slay Ouranus and free her children from Olympus. Although Cronus slew Ouranus and conquered Olympus, he did not live up to his promise to free either the Cyclopes or the Hecatocheiroi.

Upon departing earth, Iapetus had given Prometheus and Eprimetheus joint rule over the land of Thessaly. Living among mortals, Prometheus granted ancient man knowledge and Eprimetheus gave them laws, effectively giving them civilization. (Later myths would claim that Prometheus and Eprimetheus literally created mortals from the clay of the earth.) The dying Ouranus meanwhile had prophesized that Cronus would likewise be overthrown by one of his own children and Gaea helped his wife, Rhea, to give birth to each of her sons in secret. Upon reaching adulthood, Cronusís youngest son, Zeus, sought help from Prometheus and Eprimetheus in overthrowing Cronus. In some accounts, Prometheus and Eprimetheus chose to side with Zeus at the behest of Themis, goddess of prophecy. Atlas and Menoetius meanwhile rallied on the side of Cronus and in a ten-year war with Zeus and his allies were either slain or imprisoned in place of the Cyclopes and the Hecatocheiroi freed from their exile to Tartarus.

After overthrowing the Titans, Zeus established his rule from Olympus as Ruler of the Olympian Gods. Prometheus and Eprimetheus promoted worship of Zeus in Thessaly, but unlike most of the other gods who chose to interfere in human affairs, Prometheus was revered as a beneficent deity who always had a great affection for humanity and even considered himself an ally to humanity. He granted ancient man the secrets of architecture, mathematics, navigation, metallurgy and other practical arts. Prometheus taught many of his subjects these skills and disciplines in order to civilize ancient man, but Zeus grew concerned at the fact that mankind was developing so quickly and becoming nearly equal to gods. In order to slow down manís progress, Zeus chose to punish Prometheus for giving away secrets of the gods and had his own son, Hephaestus, to make chains of great durability that would imprison the rogue god. Bound by these chains, Prometheus was chained to a pillar in the Caucasian Mountains where he remained for several centuries. While he was bound here, Prometheus was tortured by an eagle that returned every day to feast upon his regenerating liver, prolonging his suffering. (Later myths claimed that Prometheus was punished for stealing the fire of the gods, but these accounts may be apocryphal.)

In his absence, Prometheus was replaced as Ruler of Thessaly by his son, Deucalion, who married his cousin, Pyrrha, the daughter of Eprimetheus in order to share their rule. While Deucalion was visiting his father, Prometheus had a vision of a catastrophe that would devastate Thessaly and instructed him to create an ark to save his family and relatives, possibly taking inspiration from the earlier legend of Utnapishtim in the 24th Century BC, who survived an earlier flood by containing his family and animals in an ark. Deucalion followed his directions and saved his family from a series of disasters that befell earth in the wake of the destruction of Atlantis (modern Santorini). (Later myths claimed that Zeus created the flood to destroy mortals for foolishly accepting Prometheusí gifts, but this seems contradictory.) From within the ark, Deucalion and his family rode out a great flood and survived when they landed atop nearby Mount Parnassus. His sons, Achaeus and Ion, later became leaders of the eponymous Achaean and Ionian tribes of Greece; his grandsons, Aeolus, Dorus, Xuthus later became leaders of the Aeolians, Dorians and Xuthians. Centuries later, Greece would be named after Graecus, great-grandson of Prometheus. These descendants later intermingled with other Greek immigrants from Libya and Asia and founded the main royal families of Ancient Greece.

Zeus eventually offered to free Prometheus if he would reveal the secret of a prophecy that foretold which son by which he would be overthrown, but Prometheus had already prophesized that he would be released by a son of Zeus and refrained from revealing the secret of the prediction. Themis meanwhile revealed to Zeus the secret he sought. Six to seven generations later, Zeus had a son named Hercules by the Mycenaean princess Alcmene, granddaughter of his earlier son, Perseus. In the course of his Twelve Labors, Hercules sought out Prometheus for the location of the Garden of the Hesperides, a secret that Perseus had never revealed. Slaying the eagle that terrorized Prometheus, Hercules earned the Titanís respect and freed him upon learning the secret location by shattering the chains that held Prometheus. At first, Zeus objected, later eventually granting Prometheus his freedom after deciding his punishment was complete and gaining respect for him to endure his torture to stay on earth long enough to help Hercules.

Prometheus and Hercules became close allies afterward with the old Titan becoming Herculesí mentor and advisor. In later years, when Chiron, Herculesís old teacher, accidentally scratched himself with the blood of the Hydra on his arrows, Prometheus used his knowledge of medicine to save the wise old centaur and even gave him part of his life force to save his life. Long after worship of the Olympian gods ended, Prometheus served as an advisor to Hercules on Earth and to Zeus on Olympus. By now, Hercules had become a god himself, but still returned to Earth on adventures through the centuries. Prometheus was a constant figure on Olympus by this time, rarely traveling to earth. In modern years, Hercules was badly injured in a battle with the Masters of Evil after being drugged into a weakened state. The drugs had impaired the young god's judgment and caused him to foolishly charge into battle against his enemies. As a result, Hercules suffered serious brain damage for which Zeus blamed the Avengers, exiling them to Tartarus as a result. Prometheus undertook the grueling task of exerting all his mystical and healing powers to excise Hercules of his madness and defend the Avengers from Zeus. Realizing his folly, Zeus commended Prometheus for enduring adversity and correcting his error, allowing Hercules and the Avengers to return to earth.

During his time on Olympus, Prometheus petitioned Zeus to show similar compassion to his brother Atlas and he was allowed to retreat to Olympus. Atlas proved to be a valued warrior against the mysterious Dark Gods attacking Olympus in absence of Hercules. Some time later, Olympus was attacked again by the demonic Mikaboshi who dealt Zeus a fatal blow, but Prometheus and Asclepius came to his aide and revived him.

Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 485 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown

Strength Level:
Prometheus possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) at least 50 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Prometheus possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian gods. Like all Olympians, he is immortal: he has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. (His liver could regenerate itself completely within hours after being entirely consumed by eagles.) It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Zeus, Poseidon and Apollo or for a number of Olympian gods of equal power working together to revive him. Prometheus also possesses superhuman strength and his Olympian metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)

Prometheus also possesses abilities of a mystical nature, but he is no where as powerful as any of the Olympian gods. He has the potential to be just as powerful as Zeus or Poseidon, but instead chooses not to develop his full mystical potential. Of his own powers, he is precognitive, able to mentally foresee events in alternate concurrent futures and mentally perceive probable visions of nearly unerring accuracy. He can physically teleport between dimensions, such as from Olympus to Earth. Prometheus has also proficient healing powers of a mystical nature enabling him to cure human beings of sickness or to accelerate normal healing and recuperative tendencies of the body.  His power is not as adept as Apollo, though, and he sometimes uses portions of his own life-force to heal others beyond the own mystical limits of his body. Prometheus has extensive mental prowess including telepathy and can use his ability to read the minds of others with his precognitive ability to deduce mental ailments.

Comments: This bio primarily describes Prometheus in the Marvel Universe; he has not yet been seen in DC Comics.

Post-flood invasions in Greek myth include Danaus from Libya arriving and his family inheriting Argos. Leading an army of Phoenicians in search of his sister Europa, Cadmus founded Thebes. Cecrops the god-king of Athens returned under the name Erichthonius and replaced his successors. Descendants of the goddess Selene ruled regions of Calydon.

Marvel Classic Comics#18 features an adaptation of the Odyssey. As in the original story, Odysseus descends into Hades and observes Sisyphus rolling his rock and allegedly Prometheus getting his liver torn out by a vulture. This presents a problem since Hercules freed Prometheus long before Odysseus set to sea against Troy. Not only that, but Prometheus was never imprisoned in Hades, but somewhere in the Caucasian Mountains. It is possible that in this story that Odysseus was merely confusing Tityus, a giant who was killed by Apollo and sent to Tartarus, with Prometheus.

The biblical version of the flood has frequently been attributed as having occurred around 2940 BC with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden about 4000 BC, going by comparative life-spans in the Bible. Those flood dates are almost verified by the story of Gilgamesh's reign in the Sumerian texts and the Five Invasions of Britain, one of which was lead by Cessair, a granddaughter of Noah.

Clarifications:  Prometheus is not to be confused with:  

Last updated: 10/05/07

 

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