The “crucifixion” of Prometheus

A while back I heard of an interesting claim regarding the Greek figure Prometheus: the claim that was “crucified” just as Jesus was according to the Bible.

The claim seems to stem from a passage supposedly attributed to Hesiod’s Theogony, which reads as follows:

With shackles and inescapable fetters Zeus riveted Prometheus on a pillar.

This appears to be one interpretation of the myth. According to another interpretation, courtesy of the University of Michigan.

He bound the changeful-planning Prometheus with unbreakable fetters, painful bonds, and drove them through the middle of a pillar. And he sent a long-winged eagle upon him.

Another interpretation, courtesy of Perseus Digital Library.

And ready-witted Prometheus he bound with inextricable bonds, cruel chains, and drove a shaft through his middle, and set on him a long-winged eagle, which used to eat his immortal liver;

In either case, I fail to see the equivalence of being bound or tied to a pillar or a rock and someone being literally crucified. You know, that thing where you’re nailed to a cross or stauros or whatever, whilst elevated from the ground, and left to die. Jesus dies whilst on the cross, while Prometheus is eventually rescued by Hercules instead, which would preclude any resurrection on Prometheus’ part. So I can’t help but the idea of Prometheus being crucified is essentially one that’s barking up the wrong tree. Not to mention, if Prometheus is being crucified here, then so is Andromeda. She was chained to a rock as a sacrificial offering in order to appease the gods, before she is rescued by Perseus. I was unaware that being chained to a rock was the same as crucifixion – whether it’s one of those t-shaped crosses were all familiar with or the stauros which may been the actual historical equivalent.

The idea of Prometheus being crucified seems to come from a book titled The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, which was written in 1875 by Kelsey Graves. The book lists Prometheus as one of the “crucified saviors” alongside deities like Krishna, Mitra, Indra (if you can believe it), Attis and Quetzalcoatl, and posits that Jesus was essentially a clone of sixteen deities from various mythologies that were crucified or killed and then descended into the underworld only to resurrect. And if it sounds like something out of Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist films or Bill Maher’s Religulous, that’s only because it pre-dated both. In fact, the book and its author are often seen as an unreliable and debunked source on comparative religion and mythology.

So needless to say, Prometheus is not Jesus. If anything, I thought Prometheus was closer to Lucifer than Jesus.

Prometheus by Gustave Moreau

Prometheus by Gustave Moreau

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2 responses to “The “crucifixion” of Prometheus

  1. in that case Loki could be said to be crucified – was Jesus a clone of Loki? lol. Those kind of books (not necessarily that one) were a staple of the Pagan revival, and so many claims that went on to be repeated as insight over and over, and referenced as if they were sources that proved something

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