In Greek mythology, Pandora was the woman who brought evil into the world and caused humankind's downfall. She was sent to earth by Zeus, king of the gods, who wanted to take revenge on the Titan Prometheus*. Prometheus had created men and had stolen fire from the gods and given it to the men. Zeus ordered the divine crafts worker Hephaestus* to form the first woman, Pandora, from clay. Athena* gave life to this creation, Aphrodite* made her beautiful, and Hermes* taught her to be cunning and deceitful.

Zeus sent Pandora down to earth, but Prometheus—whose name means "forethought"—would have nothing to do with her. However, his brother Epimetheus—afterthought—married Pandora, who brought with her a sealed jar or box as a gift from the gods. Some accounts say that Epimetheus opened Pandora's box; others maintain that Pandora herself opened it. Inside the container were disease, old age, poverty, evil, war, and all the other ills that have plagued humans ever since. When the box was opened, they flew out into the world, leaving only Hope at the bottom of the box to give people a scrap of comfort. A few accounts say that the box contained all the good things that Prometheus planned to give the human race, but when Pandora gave in to curiosity and opened the box, she let all the blessings escape.

Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus

Pandora and Epimetheus had a daughter, Pyrrha, who appears in a Greek myth about a great flood. Pyrrha and her husband, Deucalion, were the flood's sole survivors and became the parents of a new human race.

See also Adam and Eve ; Greek Mythology ; Prometheus .

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