"All-gifted." The first woman. Pandora was made to punish mankind for accepting the gift of fire from Prometheus. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create from clay a young, beautiful woman and to give her life and voice. Many of the gods contributed something to perfect her: Aphrodite gave her beauty, Hermes gave her persuasion, Apollo music, and Athena adorned with all the charms calculated to entice mortals.

Pandora was presented to Prometheus' brother Epimetheus, and while his brother cautioned him against accepting any present from Zeus, Epimetheus disregarded his advice and accepted Pandora. Pandora carried with her a jar, in which the foresight of Prometheus had concealed all the evils which might torment mortals in life. In a moment of curiosity, she opened it and a multitude of evils escaped. Shocked, she closed the lid but the whole contents had escaped, except for one thing that lay at the bottom, and that was hope.

A different — and more positive — version of the story is that Pandora was sent to mankind in good faith. The jar she carried with her was a marriage present in which each of the gods had placed a blessing. When she opened the jar, all the blessings escaped, except for hope (i.e. no matter how bad things are, there is always hope.)

The daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora is Pyrrha, who later became the wife of Prometheus' son Deucalion.


A red-figure krater from Altamura depicts the creation of Pandora. In later representations she carries a box in stead of a jar.



  • Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Bartelink, Dr. G.J.M. (1988). Prisma van de mythologie. Utrecht: Het Spectrum.