Prometheus was the famous Titan who was the son of Iapetus and Themis (or Clymene, or Asia). He is best known for being the champion of men against the gods, and according to Hesiod was a master-craftsman at creating men from clay.

He used to submit his models to Zeus for his inspection and approval (but omitted to do so in the case of Phaënon, whose name see). To help the men he had created, who were still poorly off, he also undertook the risky mission of stealing fire for them so that they could cook their food and keep warm. (Until that time fire had been reserved for the gods alone.)

From his fire-stealing, attempts have long been made to link his name with the Sanskrit pramantha, 'fire stick', but this seems an unlikely origin for such a patently Greek name. Prometheus, in fact, has a name that is the ordinary word, prometheia, for 'forethought', from pro, 'before' and metis, 'counsel', 'wisdom'.

This simply summed up his character - he had knowledge of what was to come. According to Aeschylus he was viewed, too, as bestowing the gift of knowledge on mankind. Compare the opposite meaning of the name of his brother, Epimetheus.