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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Pandora's Box

In Greek mythology, Pandora (Πανδώρα, derived from πᾶν, pān, i.e. "all" and δῶρον, dōron, i.e. "gift", thus "the all-endowed", "the all-gifted" or "the all-giving") may have been an early deity about whom little knowledge survives.

In Classical Greek mythology dating to Hesiod, Pandora was the first woman created by the deities, specifically by Hephaestus and Athena on the instructions of Zeus.

As Hesiod related the Pandora myth, each of the deities helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold her out of earth as part of the punishment of humanity for Prometheus' theft of fire, and all of them joined in offering her "seductive gifts".

According to the Hesiodic myth, however, instead of giving bountiful gifts, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box", releasing all the evils of humanity—although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod—leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again.

The myths of Pandora, including those that have been lost, are ancient. Even the surviving Hesiodic Pandora myth appears in several distinct Greek versions that have been interpreted in many ways. In all surviving literary versions, however, the myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world. In the seventh century BC, Hesiod—both in his Theogony (briefly, in line 570, without naming Pandora outright) and in Works and Days—gives the earliest literary version of the surviving Pandora story.

However, there is an older mention of jars or urns containing blessings and evils bestowed upon mankind in Homer's Iliad:

The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the floor of Zeus' palace there stand two urns, the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Zeus the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Zeus sends none but evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pandora" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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