Pandora’s box

Pandora's box
A depiction showing how Hesiod’s 700BC story of Pandora, the first woman of Greek mythology, and her golden box, which she was warned by god (Zeus) not to open, became the basis for the 500BC Israelite story of Eve, the first woman of Hebrew mythology, and her apple, which she was forbidden by god (Yahweh) not to eat; transgressed acts said to be what let “evil” into the world.
In terminology, Pandora’s box refers to the gift box given to Pandora, the first woman of the human race, made from dirt (earth), water, and the four winds, according to Hesiod’s 700BC Theogony, who unleashed "evil" into the world, via a result of her "gift of curiosity", i.e. to know what was inside the box she was warned by the gods not to open—a deceptive trick by Zeus, done to get back at Prometheus (see: Promethean heat) for stealing fire from the gods and giving "life" to humans; the specific term “Pandora’s box” being introduced into literature, in circa 1520, Desiderius Erasmus, during his translation of the work; the story is said to be a forerunner or precursor for the story of Eve (see: Adam and Eve), the snake, the apple, i.e. the forbidden fruit, and the unleashing of evil (or original sin) to humans in the Garden of Eden of the Bible. [1]

The following are are key original textual background wherein he Pandora and Prometheus are introduced: [3]

Iapetos took as his wife the fair-ankled Klymene, daughter of Okeanos, and shared her bed, and she bore him Atlas, a son of invincible spirit, and Menoitios of the towering pride, and Prometheus, whose mind was labyrinthine and swift, and foolish Epimetheus {5}, who from the start brought harm to men who toil for bread; he was first to accept the virgin woman fashioned by farseeing Zeus.

{5} Epimetheus: the titan of afterthought, the father of excuses. He was given the task of creating the creatures of the earth. At the same time his brother, Prometheus, was creating mankind and, seeing the formidable abilities Epimetheus had given his creations, stole fire from heaven to assist his. Zeus in anger at this crime ordered the gods to mold Pandora, the first woman, and sent her to Epimetheus as his bride armed with a great jar. Pandora, succumbing to curiosity, opened it releasing all of the harmful daimones the gods had trapped within (the children of Nyx and of Eris) to forever plague mankind. Only Hope (Elpis) remained behind to comfort them.

In 1667, John Milton, in his Paradise Lost, alludes to a connection between Pandora’s box and Eve’s apple. (Ѻ)

The following are related quotes:

“We must get entirely clear of all the notions drawn from the wild traditions of original sin, the eating of the apple, the theft of Prometheus, the opening of Pandora’s box, and the other fables, too tedious to enumerate, on which priests have erected their tremendous structures of imposition, to persuade us, that we are naturally inclined to evil.”
— Mary Wollstonecraft (1792), A Vindication of the Rights of Women: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (Ѻ); cited by Patricia Fara (Ѻ)

Pandora’s box (140) may properly be took in the same mythical sense, with the apple in the book of Genesis; and in that light the moral will appear without any difficulty.”
— Author (1795), editorial note; Cook’s Hesiod (pg. 17)

“The Hesperides are beautiful nymphs who, along with Atlas (517-520) and a monstrous serpent (334-335), guard the tree of golden apples [255, 361] in a marvelous garden somewhere in the imaginary world at the end of the earth.”
— Richard Caldwell (1987), editorial commentary on Theogony [2]

1. (a) Pandora –
(b) Pandora (2010) –
2. Hesiod. (700BC). Hesiod’s Theogony (editor: Richard S. Caldwell) (golden apple, pgs. 42-43). Focus Information Group, 1987.
3. Hesiod. (700BC). “Theogony” (translator: A. Athanassakis) (pdf), Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days. John Hopkins University Press, 1983.

Further reading
● Voltaire. (1759). Candide: and Other Poetic and Philosophical Writings (editor: Eric Palmer) (apple, pg. 189). Broadview Press.

External links
Works and Days – Wikipedia.

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