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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Primary Sources

Aesch. PB. complete.
Apollod. 1.2.1-1.2.3: Titanomachy.
1.6.1-1.6.3: Gigantomachy.
1.7.1-1.7.4: Prometheus, the Flood, and Otus and Ephialtes.
2.1.2-2.1.3: Argus and Io.
3.8.1- 3.8.2: Lycaon.
3.13.4-3.13.6: Peleus, Thetis, and Zeus.
Aristoph. Birds 1495–1552: Prometheus.
Bacchyl. Ode 19, Dithyramb 5: Io: for the Athenians.
Herodotus in Book 2 has much to say about Egyptian and Greek mythology and religion. Here are a few suggested readings appropriate for Chapter 4, with a brief description of content.
Hdt. 2.35.1-2.42.6: Religious differences between Egyptians and Greeks.
2.50.1-2.57.3: Names of gods; practices and oracles.
2.58.1-2.65.1: Assemblies, ceremonies, and Ares.
2.142.1-1.144.2: Relationships of gods and men; gods as earlier rulers on Earth.
Hes. Th. 507-616: Prometheus and Pandora.
Th. 617–819: titanomachy and gigantomachy.
Th. 820–885: Typhon.
WD 42–105: Pandora.
WD 106–201: the five ages. If you like, read the entire Works and Days now, rather than just the recommended sections as they are listed.
Hyg. 28: Otus and Ephialtes.
54: Prometheus Freed by Heracles.
144: Prometheus Steals Fire for Humans.
142: Pandora.
145: Io.
149: Epaphus.
150: Titanomachy.
152: Typhon.
153: Deucalion and Pyrrha.
176: Lycaon Serves Human Flesh to the Gods.
Luc. Preludes: Prometheus in Words.
Ov. Met. 1.151-162: Gigantomachy.
Met. 1.89-150: Four Ages.
Met. 1.209-239: Lycaon.
Met. 1.240-415: The Flood.
Met. 1.583-750: Io.
. 5.321-331: Typhoeus.
Paus. 8.2.1-8.2.6: Lycaon.
8.29.1-8.29.4: Giants.
Pind. O. 9.40-56: The flood.
Plat. Prot. 320c-322d: Prometheus and Epimetheus, and the early development of society.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Secondary Sources


Byron, George Gordon, Lord (1788–1824). “Prometheus.” Poem.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832). “Prometheus.” Poetic monologue.

Hugo, Victor (1802–1885). “Entre Géants et Dieux.” [Between Giants and Gods]. Poem.

Keats, John (1795–1821). “Hyperion.” Poem.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth (1807–1882). “Enceladus.” Poem.

Melville, Herman (1819–1891). Pierre. Novel. The protagonist has a dream of the giant Enceladus.

Mitchell, Stephen. Gilgamesh: A New English Version. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006. A very readable version by a noted translator, which restores the text with understanding to produce a complete and comprehensible poem.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (1797–1851). Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Novel.

Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1792–1822). “Prometheus Unbound.” Dramatic poem.


Dougherty, Carol. Prometheus. New York: Routledge, 2005. A history of the myth from its origins to its resurgence in the Romantic period and later influence.

Dowden, Ken. Zeus. New York: Routledge, 2005. A comprehensive study, tracing the origins of Zeus and his influence from ancient to modern times.

Griffith, Mark. Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound. New York: Cambridge University Press. An edition of the Greek text, which has an informative introduction.

Kerényi, Carl. Prometheus: Archetypal Image of Human Existence. Translated by Ralph Mannheim. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997. Here is an examination of the Promethean archetype in Western literature, including Hesiod, Aeschylus, Goethe, Shelley, and Jung.

Greece and the Near East

Burkert, W. “Oriental and Greek Mythology: The Meeting of Parallels,” in Jan Bremmer, ed., Interpretations of Greek Mythology. London: Routledge, 1998, pp. 10–40.

Dalley, Stephanie. Myths from Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Translations of Akkadian texts, including Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, and the . Especially valuable for the inclusion of recently published texts.

Dundes, Alan. The Flood. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. A dominant motif common to world mythology is the archetype of the flood. The flood archetype is particularly fascinating for the evidence of its recurrence worldwide, studied in this collection of essays.

Heidel, A. The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels. 2d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946.

Hooke, S. H. Middle Eastern Mythology. Baltimore: Penguin, 1963.

Lebrun, R. “From Hittite Mythology: The Kumarbi Cycle,” in Sasson (below, 1975), 3. 1971–80.

McCall, H. The Mesopotamian Myths. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991.

Mitchell, Stephen. Gilgamesh: A New English Version. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. A very readable version by a noted translator, which restores the text with understanding to produce a complete and comprehensible poem.

Mondi, R. “Greek Mythic Thought in the Light of the Near East,” in Lowell Edmunds, ed., Approaches to Greek Myth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990, pp. 142–198.

Moran, W. “The Gilgamesh Epic: A Masterpiece from Ancient Mesopotamia, in Sasson (below, 1975), 4. 2327–36.

Penglase, C. Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Pritchard, J. B., ed. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. 3d ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. The standard collection of texts in translation and by far the most comprehensive.

———, ed. The Ancient Near East. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958 and 1975. A selection of texts, mostly from the previously listed volume.

Sasson, J. M., ed. Civilization of the Ancient Near East. 4 vols. New York: Scribner, 1975-1995. A comprehensive survey of all aspects of the ancient Near East: 189 essays by expert scholars. For students of myth, those by Moran and West are especially useful.

West, M. L. “Ancient Near Eastern Myths in Classical Greek Religious Thought,” in Sasson (above, 1995), 1. 33-42.

———. The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Detailed identification of the links between Hesiod, the Homeric epics, lyric poets, and Aeschylus and the Near East and possible avenues of transmission.

———. Hesiod: Theogony and Works and Days. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Valuable introduction by the preeminent scholar on Hesiod.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD


Antoniou, Theodore (1935–). Prometheus. Cantata for baritone, mixed choir, and orchestra. Odajiev. Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria, cond. Panayotopoulos. Agorá AG 109. The text (an exchange between Prometheus and the chorus of Oceanids) is from the Greek of Aeschylus.

Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770–1827). The Creatures of Prometheus. Music for a ballet about the creation of mankind by Prometheus, ending with his apotheosis. Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Deutsche Grammophon 419 608 2; Martha Argerich et al., Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Abbado. Sony Classical SK 53978. Includes Liszt, Prometheus; Nono, Prometeo; Scriabin, Prométhée, Le Poème du feu.

Barber, Samuel (1910–1981). Incidental Music for a Scene from Shelley (act 2, scene 5 of Prometheus Unbound). The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, cond. Schenck. Stradivari Classics SCD 8012.

Dittersdorf, Carl Ditters von (1793–1799). Symphony No. 1 in C Major, “The Four Ages of Man.” Six Symphonies after Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Cantelina, cond. Shepherd. Chandos CHAN 8564/65. The other five symphonies are subtitled “The Fall of Phaëton,” “The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag,” “The Rescuing of Andromeda by Perseus,” “The Petrification of Phineus and His Friends,” and “The Transformation of the Lycian Peasants into Frogs.”

Fauré, Gabriel (1845–1824). Prométhée. Lyric tragedy. Elsa Berger et al. Harmonie Régionale Junior de Midi-Pyrénées, cond. Dondeyne. Based on Aeschylus. Scalen Disc ARI 155.

Fernerhough, Brian (1943–). Prometheus, for wind sextet. SONOR, Ensemble of the University of California, San Diego. CRI CD 652. The title refers to the depiction of creative volition and freedom of choice as sonic form.

Gerhard, Roberto (1896–1970). Pandora Suite. Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure, cond. Pons. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901500. Originally a score for the Ballet Jooss (the concluding section of a trilogy); in the scenario “the contents of Pandora’s box are representative of 20th century materialism, totalitarianism and mechanised war.”

Goldmark, Karl (1830–1915). Der Gefesselte Prometheus (Promethus Bound). Philharmonia Orchestra, cond. Butt. ASV CD DCA 934. This overture, influenced by Wagner, is like a symphonic tone poem by Liszt.

Guettel, Adam. “Saturn Returns with Reprise.” Rock song. Myths and Hymns. Various artists. Nonesuch 79530-2. Other songs are about Icarus, Pegasus, Hero and Leander, and Sisyphus.

Liszt, Franz (1811–1886). Prometheus. Symphonic poem, depicting a humane and suffering Prometheus, inspired by the play Prometheus Unbound, by Johann Gottfried Herder. Martha Argerich et al., Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Abbado. Sony Classical SK 53978. Includes Beethoven, The Creatures of Prometheus; Nono, o; Scriabin, Prométhée, Le Poème du feu. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Kosler. Supraphonet 11 1112-2. Includes Orpheus.

Martinů, Bohuslav (1890–1959). The Epic of Gilgamesh. Oratorio. Kusnjer et al. Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Košler. Naxos 8.223316. The three parts (based on the text of the poem translated into Czech) are “Gilgamesh,” “The Death of Enkidu,” and “Invocation.”

Mondonville, Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de (1711–1772). Titon et L’Aurore. Fouchécourt et al. Les Musiciens du Louve, cond. Minkowski. Erato 2292-45715-2. Opera about Tithonus and Aurora, with a prologue about Prometheus and the creation of mortals.

Monk, Meredith (1942–). Atlas. Multimedia, very avant-garde opera, whose title is based on the meaning of Atlas as map and then travel and therefore peripheral to the legend of Atlas. It relates the travels of a female explorer, Alexandra Daniels, and her companions, which become a metaphor for the spiritual quest of the soul. Meredith Monk et al. Orchestra, cond. Hankin. ECM New Series ECM 14991.

Musgrave, Thea (1928–). Helios. Scottish Chamber Orchestra, cond. Kraemer. Collins Classics 15292. Symphonic depiction of Helius’ journey across the sky through a storm.

Nono, Luigi (1924–1990). Prometeo, Opera and suite, portraying Prometheus as perpetual wanderer and “the force of non-violence,” which includes vocal settings of texts by Walter Benjamin and Hölderlin. Martha Argerich et al., Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Abbado. Sony Classical SK 53978. Includes Beethoven, The Creatures of Prometheus; Liszt, Prometheus; Scriabin, Prométhée, Le Poème du feu. . Opera. Hermann et al. Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, cond. Kubelik. Orfeo C 526 992 1. A powerfully dramatic setting of the Greek text of Aeschylus, not least of all in its cataclysmic ending.

Schubert, Franz. “Der Atlas” and “Prometheus.” Songs; the text for “Prometheus” is by Goethe. Fischer-Dieskau and Moore. Deutsche Grammophon 437 215-2. Vols. 1 and 3.

Scriabin, Alexander (1872–1915). Prométhée, Le Poème du feu. Symphonic portrayal of Prometheus as the bringer of fire and light. Martha Argerich et al. Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Abbado. Sony Classical SK 53978. Includes Beethoven, The Creatures of Prometheus; Liszt, Prometheus; Nono, Prometeo.

Vittoria, Mario (1911–1986). Concerto “Les Muses,” for violin and strings orchestra. Modern Favourites. Orchestra Paul Kuentz, cond. Kuentz. Vittoria uses themes based on the Muses’ names.

Wakeman, Rick, and Ramon Remedios. “The Flood.” Relativity/President 88561-1026-2. New Age song in A Suite of the Gods for tenor, keyboards, and percussion, which includes “Dawn of Time;” “The Oracle;” “Pandora’s Box;” “Chariot of the Sun;” “The Voyage of Ulysses;” “Hercules.”

Xenakis, Iannis (1922–). Phlegra, for chamber orchestra. Phlegra is a battleground between the Titans and the new Olympian gods. Ensemble Intercontemporain, cond. Tabachnik. Erato 2292-45770-2.

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Prometheus: Musical Variations on a Myth. Arthaus Musik. A film by Christopher Swann that employs visuals to accompany Beethoven, Creatures of Prometheus, Ballet; Lizst, Prometheus, Symphonic Poem; Scriabin, Poem of Fire, Symphony No. 5; and Nono, Prometheus, Suite. Martha Argerich, pianist, and the Berlin Philharmonic, cond. Claudio Abbado.

Dragons: Myths and Legends. Documentary. Ancient Mysteries. A&E.

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