Friday, August 21, 2015

A story of Prometheus as told by Aesop

The figure of Prometheus has remained popular in practically every period of (western) history from the 8th century BC on. Here is a lesser known tale told by Aesop:

Prometheus, that potter who gave shape to our new generation, decided one day to sculpt the form of Alethia (Veritas or Truth), using all his skill so that she would be able to regulate people's behavor. As he was working, an unexpected summons from mighty Zeus (Jupiter) called him away. Prometheus left cunning Dolus (Trickery) in charge of his workshop, Dolus had recently become one of the Prometheus’s apprentices.

Fired by ambition, Dolus used the time at his disposal to fashion with his sly fingers a figure of the same size and appearance as Alethia with identical features. When he had almost completed the piece, which was truly remarkable, he ran out of clay to use for her feet. The master returned, so Dolus quickly sat down in his seat, quaking with fear. Prometheus was amazed at the similarity of the two statues and wanted it to seem as if all the credit were due to his own skill. Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Alethia (the spirit of Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin, the forgery, stood stuck in her tracks.

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