Epimetheus (mythology)
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Epimetheus (Greek:
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ) ("hindsight", literally "afterthought,") was the brother of Prometheus
In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals...

 ("foresight", literally "fore-thought"), a pair of Titan
Titan (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age....

s who "acted as representatives of mankind" (Kerenyi 1951, p 207). They were the inseparable sons of Iapetus
Iapetus (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Iapetus , also Iapetos or Japetus , was a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia, and father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius and through Prometheus, Epimetheus and Atlas an ancestor of the human race...

, who in other contexts was the father of Atlas
Atlas (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Atlas was the primordial Titan who supported the heavens. Although associated with various places, he became commonly identified with the Atlas Mountains in north-west Africa...

. While Prometheus is characterized as ingenious and clever, Epimetheus is depicted as foolish.

According to Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

's use of the old myth in his Protagoras
Protagoras (dialogue)
Protagoras is a dialogue of Plato. The traditional subtitle is "or the Sophists, probative". The main argument is between the elderly Protagoras, a celebrated sophist, and Socrates...

(320d-322a), the twin Titans were entrusted with distributing the traits among the newly-created animals; Epimetheus was responsible for giving a positive trait to every animal, but when it was time to give man a positive trait, lacking foresight he found that there was nothing left. Prometheus decided that mankind's attributes would be the civilizing arts and fire, which he stole from Apollo's sun chariot. Prometheus later stood trial for his crime. In the context of Plato's dialogue, "Epimetheus, the being in whom thought follows production, represents nature in the sense of materialism, according to which thought comes later than thoughtless bodies and their thoughtless motions."

According to Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, who related the tale twice (Theogony, 527ff; Works and Days 57ff), Epimetheus was the one who accepted the gift of Pandora
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts...

 from the gods. Their marriage may be inferred (and was by later authors), but it is not made explicit in either text.

In later myths, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora was Pyrrha
In Greek mythology, Pyrrha was the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora and wife of Deucalion.When Zeus decided to end the Bronze Age with the great deluge, Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were the only survivors...

, who married Deucalion
In Greek mythology Deucalion was a son of Prometheus and Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering...

 and was one of the two who survived the deluge.

Epimetheus plays a key role in the philosophy of Bernard Stiegler
Bernard Stiegler
Bernard Stiegler is a French philosopher at Goldsmiths, University of London and at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne. In addition, he is Director of the , founder in 2005 of the political and cultural group, , and founder in 2010 of the philosophy school,...

, and in particular in terms of his understanding of the relation between technogenesis and anthropogenesis. According to Stiegler, it is significant that Epimetheus is entirely forgotten in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

. Les Amis, in his book Commemorating Epimetheus (2009), reinstates the value of Epimetheus. He is credited with bringing to the world our knowledge of dependency on each other described phenomenologically in terms of sharing, caring, meeting and dwelling and loving.
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