The Ancient Library

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On this page: Proetus – Proletarii – Promachus – Prometheia – Prometheus



theus was charged with the duty of divid­ing a victim offered in sacrifice to the gods. He endeavoured to impose upon Zeus by dividing it in such a way as cleverly to conceal the half which consisted of flesh and the edible vitals under the skin of the animal, and to lay thereon the worst part, the stomach, while he heaped the bones

j together and covered them with fat.

I Zeus divined the stratagem, but, out of enmity towards man, purposely chose the worse portion and avenged himself by re­fusing mortals the use of fire. Thereupon Prometheus stole it from Olympus and brought it to men in a hollow reed. As a set off to this great blessing, Zeus resolved to send them an equally great evil. He caused Hephaestus to make of clay a beau­tiful woman named Pandora, that is, the all-gifted ; for the gods presented her with all manner of charms and adornments, coupled however with lies, nattering words, and a crafty mind. Hermes brought her, with a jar as her dowry, in which every evil was shut up, to the brother of Prome­theus, named Epimetheus (i.e. the man of afterthought, for he never thought of what he did until it had brought him into trouble). In spite of his brother's warning not to receive any present from Zeus, he was en­snared by her charms and took her to wife. Pandora opened the jar, and out flew all manner of evils, troubles, and diseases, before unknown to man, and spread over all the earth. Only delusive Hope remained in the jar, since, before she could escape, Pandora put the lid on the jar again [Works and Days, 54-105]. But Prometheus met with his punishment. Zeus bound him in ada­mantine fetters to a pillar with an eagle to consume in the day-time his liver, which grew again in the night. At last Heracles, with the consent of Zeus, who desired to increase his son's renown, killed the eagle, and set the son of lapetus free. According to this account, the guile of Prometheus, and his opposition to the will of Zeus, brought on man far more evil than good.

jEschylus, on the other hand, taking the view suggested by the Attic cult of Prome­theus, in which the fire-bringing god was honoured as the founder of human civiliza­tion, gave the myth an entirely different form in his trilogy of Prometheus the Fire-bearer, Prometheus Bound, and Prometheus Released. In these Prometheus is still of course the opponent of Zeus, but, at the same time, he is represented as full of the most devoted love for the human race.

over the Council and the assemblies of the people; in the 4th, the prfjedrt were instituted. The latter were appointed on each occasion from nine of the tribes, and the presidential duties were transferred to them and their epistates (a member of the tenth tribe). See Aristotle, Constitution of Athens, 44, pp. 163-4, ed. Sandys.]

Preetus. Son of Abas of Argos, and twin brother of Acrisius. Expelled from his home by his brother, he fled to the king of the Lycians, Kbates, who gave him in marriage his daughter Anteia (in the tragedians, StenOboea), and compelled Acrisius to resign i in his favour the sovereignty of Tiryns. Here the Cyclopes built him a town of impregnable strength. His daughters were punished with madness either for their opposition to the worship of Dionysus or (according to another account) for their dis- i respect for Hera. This madness spread to ] the other women of the land, and was only ; cured by the interposition of Melampus ', (q.v.). His son Megapenthes exchanged with Perseus the rule of Tiryns for that of Argos. (Cp. bellerophon.)

Proletarli. The name in the Roman centuriate system (see centuria) of those citizens who were placed in the lowest of the five property-classes, and who were exempt from military service and tribute. They took their name from the fact that they only benefited the State by their children (proles). Another name for them is cdpUe censi, i.e. those who were classed in the list of citizens at the census solely in regard to their status as citizens (cdput). Afterwards, the richer among them were taken to serve in the wars : these were then called proletarii; and those without any property at all, capite censi. In and after the time of Marius, when the levy of troops was no longer founded on the census, the Roman armies were recruited by preference from the last class.

Frdmachus (fighter in the front rank, protector). (1) An epithet of Athene (q.v.).

(2) Son of Parthenopaeus and the Nymph Clymene, one of the EpIgSni (q.v.).

PrSmetheia. See prometheus.

Pr8metheus (the man of forethought). Son of the Titan lapetus and the Ocean-nymph Clymene, brother of Atlas, Menoetius, and Eplmetheus, father of Deucalion (q.v.). The most ancient account of him, as given by Hesiod [Theog. 521-616] is as follows. When the gods, after their conquest of the Titans, were negotiating with mankind about the honour to be paid them, Prome-

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