ANESIDORA is better known as Pandora. Her name means ‘she who sends up gifts from below the earth’. Before her creation the world was a paradise filled only with men who lived without worry or strife. However things started to change when Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gifted it to the men. For this act Zeus punished not only the God himself but the men as well. It is said that their punishment was the creation of the first woman, Anesidora, who was to be the first of a race of women. She was a personification of the Earth, and as such was shaped and moulded from Earth itself. When completed she was sent to the men holding the gift of a sealed jar . She was told not to open it, but her curiosity (and agency?) overwhelmed her and she decided to remove the lid of the jar. Her excitement turned to horror as from the jar there flew out many sorrows: disease, poverty, misery, death and sadness – all in the form of stinging insects. They stung her voraciously, but despite her pain she managed to close the jar.
One last buzzing creature, HOPE, was still trapped in the jar and so was unavailable to mortals. It is said that the world remained extremely bleak for some time, until Anesidora to revisited the box once again, at which point Hope fluttered out. I contemplate what this myth might be saying? Perhaps that humankind will always be given hope in times of evil? Perhaps an enquiry as to why there is evil in the world ? which may further pose the existential question of whether there is a greater Good or God or Goddess that delivers us from evil?
The dark aspects that are so prominent in this story not only talk to us of our human MORTALITY but is blatantly a mythic root story of MISOGYNY. The story of Anesidora, like Eve tells the tale of ‘the evil of women’ and firmly points the blame at women for the bringing of suffering to all of humanity. Eve too was the first woman, and she too was made responsible for destroying an innocent, all-male Paradise and unleashing suffering ever after………I AM BLAME
From Hesiod: 8BC
“You are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire – a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction
From her is the race of women and female kind:
of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who
live amongst mortal men to their great trouble,
no helpmates in hateful poverty, but only in wealth.
Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer.”