In Greek mythology, Prometheus (/prəˈmiːθiəs/; Ancient Greek: Προμηθεύς, [promɛːtʰéu̯s], possibly meaning "forethought") is a Titan god of fire. Prometheus is credited with the creation of humanity from clay, and of defying the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity as civilization. Prometheus is known for his intelligence and for being a champion of humankind, and is also generally seen as the author of the human arts and sciences He is sometimes presented as the father of Deucalion, the hero of the flood story.
The punishment of Prometheus as a consequence of the theft of fire and giving it to humans is a popular subject of both ancient and modern culture. Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, sentenced Prometheus to eternal torment for his transgression. Prometheus was bound to a rock, and an eagle—the emblem of Zeus—was sent to eat his liver (in ancient Greece, the liver was often thought to be the seat of human emotions). His liver would then grow back overnight, only to be eaten again the next day in an ongoing cycle. Prometheus was eventually freed by the hero Heracles. In yet more symbolism, the struggle of Prometheus is located by some at Mount Elbrus or at Mount Kazbek, two volcanic promontories in the Caucasus Mountains beyond which for the ancient Greeks lay the realm of the barbarii.
In another myth, Prometheus establishes the form of animal sacrifice practiced in ancient Greek religion. Evidence of a cult to Prometheus himself is not widespread. He was a focus of religious activity mainly at Athens, where he was linked to Athena and Hephaestus, who were the Greek deities of creative skills and technology.
In the Western classical tradition, Prometheus became a figure who represented human striving (particularly the quest for scientific knowledge) and the risk of overreaching or unintended consequences. In particular, he was regarded in the Romantic era as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could also result in tragedy: Mary Shelley, for instance, gave The Modern Prometheus as the subtitle to her novel Frankenstein.