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Pandora, The First Woman

 

Index


Pandora and Her Impact on Greek Art and Culture

Analysis of Her Name

The name ‘Pandora’, ‘Πανδώρα’ is commonly given as meaning ‘all gifts’. Hesiod says this himself in Works and Days when he says “Πανδώρην, ὅτι πάντες ̓Ολύμπια δώματ’ ἔχοντες
δω̂ρον ἐδώρησαν (Pandora, since all those who had mansions on Olympus had given her a gift)”. But this may be poetic license. The artifact ‘The Creation of “[A]NESIDORA” on a white-ground kylix by the Tarquinia Painter, ca 460 BC (British Museum’ contains another spelling which could actually be an older one but that seems to mean the same. The point of the myth is not the gifts that the gods gave to Pandora as Hesiod says. Hesiod says she is “…a woe for men who live on bread.” One has to wonder why Hesiod did not call her Πημνειρά (Pemneira) which would mean ‘woe to man’. This would be more true to his story but it would have a more negative connotation than almost any other female name I have found in Greek literature. The meaning ‘cloth giver’ is from Indo-European ‘pā̆n-‘, ‘woven fabric’ and ‘dō-‘, ‘to give’. This definition would be consistent with a common role of women but does not support the story very well.

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Pandora Myth

According to Greek Myth, Pandora was the first mortal woman.
She was the first woman fashioned by the gods. She
was fashioned in revenge for the fact that men were created and
got the choicest parts of a sacrifice while the gods were left
with fat and bones. Zeus made her an evil to men with the power
to do evil. The box was given her because Zeus knew that she
would be too curious to resist it. She could not and all the
evils of the world flew out. Fortunately hope flew out too.

Pandora
Pandora opens her box.

Hesiod Works and Days(ll. 54-59) `Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire — a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of
heart while they embrace their own destruction.’

Ibid. (ll. 60-68) So said the father of men and gods, and laughed
aloud. And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth
with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind,
and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal
goddesses in face; and Athene to teach her needlework and the
weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace
upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs.
And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argus, to put in
her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature.

Ibid.(ll. 69-82) So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son
of Cronos. Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the
likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed. And
the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the
divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon
her, and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring
flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of
finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within
her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of
loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in
her. And he called this woman Pandora (2), because all they who
dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.”
according to Hesiod.

The notion of first woman needs some explanation. Hesiod describes 5 ages of man in his Works and Days, line 109 and following. Plainly Pandora is the first woman of the fifth age which includes him. He seems to assume a clean break between the Age of Heroes that includes the Trojan War. But plainly this does not correspond to the scientific facts. Archaeologists have established a continuous life-line between the Age of Heroes and the Archaic and Classical Periods of Greece.

The decendents of Pandora are given: Apollodorus, Library, 1.7.2, ” And Prometheus had a son Deucalion. He reigning in the regions about Phthia, married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first woman fashioned by the gods.”

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Gifts to Pandora

  • Aphrodite adorned her with beauty, grace and desire;
  • Hermes, the Messenger god, gave her cunning and boldness;
  • Demeter showed her how to tend a garden;
  • Athena taught her manual dexterity and to spin and Athena who gave Pandora her soul;
  • Apollo taught her to sing sweetly and play the lyre;
  • Poseidon’s gift was a pearl necklace and the god of the sea promised her that she would never drown.
  • the Horae enhanced Pandora’s attractions by embellishing her hair with floral garlands and herbs to awaken desire in the hearts of men (golden grace).
  • Hera gave her curiosity.
  • Zeus made her foolish, mischievous and idle.

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Pictures of Pandora

Ancient Greek:

More recent:

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Resources:

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Questions and Answers about Pandora and Her Impact on Greek Art and Culture

Question: beliefs on nature

Answer: The ancient Greeks believed that events were often the result of the whims of the deities, but that nature was also rule bound and ruled by fate, and right. Even the gods themselves had to submit to fate and right though they had the gift of prophecy that allowed them to forsee the future.

Question: What does Pandora where or did she where?

Answer: It stands to reason that before she opened the box she might have lived in purity not needing any clothes, but after she opened her box and the evils flew out, she had to put on clothes to protect herself from evil.

Question: How did Epimetheus tempt Pandora?

Answer: Perhaps this quote will be helpful: Hesiod, WORKS AND DAYS, (ll. 83-89) “…But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer, the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not
think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take
a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might
prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and
afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood.”

Question: whare can i find pictures on Pandora

Answer: To see pictures, click on the links above.

Question: r u happy 2 b the frist women? do u have any friends? did u
learn how 2 draw?

Answer: It is best to thank the gods and goddesses for any gifts that you receive and not curse your fate. You will find that there are many choices left for you to make. My friends accept me for what I am and I am grateful for this. If you want to have a friend, you only have to be a friend. Drawing has not been easy at first. But I realized that I could trace around my fingers and the result looked like my hand. This picture then became a symbol for my hand. I then learned to make symbols for other things by tracing their outline.

Question: Is there any historical or archeological evidence to suggest that there was a real Pandora?

Answer: There is no evidence that she is even mortal.

Question: I need to have references primary and secondary concerning Pandora and her creation by Haphaestos as the first woman. In the Theogony by Hesiod he fefers to her as evil but does not state Pandora directly. What is the connotation for this reference in terms of the way the Greeks viewed the feminine aspect of creation. please send as quickly as possible as I am planning a presentation that is based on the myth of Pandora and her relation to clay pot and jar.

Pandora is mentioned in “Works and days” 42-105 as well. The myth presents a limited male view. Gaia, Rhea, and Hera also involve a feminine aspect of creation. That Pandora is not mentioned in Homer is significant.

Question: =How does Pandora’s box still reflect in our world today?

Answer: Some people think that Pandora’s box is symbolic of her sex
organs. A vagina is sometimes referred to as a box. Many people think that a woman can use her box to suck men into all kinds of trouble. The evils that come out of the box are ideas that make men do evil things.

Question: role of women in greece

Answer: There is a good possibility that women were the foundation of civilization in ancient Greece. These ancient women inspired some of the greatest art ever created, and they continue to inspire artists.

Question: is Pandora’s symbol a box?

Answer: Yes. A box with a lid.

Question: How can Pandora be related to science?

Answer: The story is that when Pandora removed the great lid from the vessel with her own hands and scattered into the world evils, and sicknesses, and painful labor. She managed to shut the lid before hope escaped. Some would relate science to the hope that remained. Science is a way of generating hope that the evils of the world can be dealt with. But others relate science to the evils. Science is often used to capture power that is used for evil. Science can give an evil doer an advantage and hope must be used to overcome
this evil.

Question: Do men think that women are the reason bad things have happened in this world? Because her curiousness let out all the evils of the world.

Answer: Both the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Pandora seem to have women as the cause of evil in the world but both are naive in their notion of evil. Evil is related to the wants and needs of men. For a man a woman is a means to an end and can be considered good or evil. But if the woman is the end then man can be the source of evil.

Question: why was pandora offered to Epimetheus.

Answer: Zeus was angry with Prometheus and wanted to trick him. He made Pandora to be sexually desirable but very tricky. Part of his gift was a box like the box she already possessed as her sexually desirable vagina. Epimetheus was immediately attracted to Pandora but he was too stupid to realize the trouble with this gift. Though he got wonderful sexual satisfaction when her box was opened so he could have this satisfaction, it released all the troubles in the world.

Question: Can u say she was the first ( mortal )sexual symbol?

Answer: As a mortal Pandora makes a poor symbol. As a goddess she would fair better. But men also can be sexual symbols.

Question: country in witch she was born

Answer: Modern paleontologists have determined that the earliest human woman was probably from central Africa. But the Greeks believed that they had always lived in Greece and so the first woman must have been Greek. This in spite of the fact that many aspects of the Greek culture can best be explained by wave after wave of migrations through Greece. These immigrants seem to have come from a number of directions and areas including Europe, India, Mideast, and Africa.

Question: Who was Pandora related to?

Answer: Most mortals.

Question: How long did Pandora live for?

Answer: There is no record of Pandora’s final years. It is possible that she was deified.

Question: where can I find a picture of what pandora would look like in the twenty first century

Answer:

Question: what heroics acts did Pandora perform

Answer: Pandora was not a heroine, but was more of a scapegoat. I do not know of any heroic acts that she performed.

Question: who is Pandora related to and why

Answer: As the first woman Pandora should be related to all mortals but the myths let us down here. There seem to have been other people, in spite of what the myth says. The Greeks all trace their ancestry to Hellen, and not Pandora. Perhaps the peoples from other countries trace from Pandora too. Yet the link between Hellen and Pandora is lost.

Question: if Pandora was made to be “perfect” then how did she aquire the curse of curiosity? Or is curiosity considered a gift?

Answer: She was not designed to be perfect. She was designed to be charming and perfectly ruinous of man. Curiosity was helpful in her ruinous activity.

Question: what are the positive thing that pandora did?

Answer:

  • She provided her husband with companionship.
  • She provided her husband with love interest.
  • She provided her husband with sexual satisfaction.
  • She bore babies that populated the earth.
  • She nursed the babies until they could eat other food.
  • She raised the babies until they could go out on their own.

Question:If we expect to find male valor and glory, how do we account for and respond to the importance of Pandora?

Answer:Pandora is not really that important except to the men who wish to put down women. Pandora is not the true exemplar of women. What about Athena? Men were so unhappy with her role that they made her frigid and born from the head of Zeus. But there are older stories that are different. As the founder of a family line Andromeda could be considered the first woman. And also Hypermnestra. Two facts seem important. The role of women changed dramatically from the time of the Minoans to the time of the classical Greeks. And the society of the classical Greece was divided by gender and the voices of the female gender have been silenced. The ancient Greeks were remarkable story tellers and their stories are full of excitement. But there is really no reason to expect male valor as the dominant theme. After all, Hera, the goddess of married women, is the female form of hero.

Question: Pandora — Whar was her fame, home, origin, symbol?

Answer: Pandora was the first mortal woman according to the Greeks. Her home was on the Earth but where, exactly, is not recorded. She was given to man as a punishment for stealing fire from the gods. Her main symbol is a box which she often holds. With her curiosity she opened the box and let out the evils of the world. She may also be symbolized as a doll because the gods played with her by dressing her and presenting her to man as a toy.

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