Aryan, German, or Greek? Nietzsche’s Prometheus between antiquity and modernity

Adam E Lecznar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores Friedrich Nietzsche’s reception of the ancient Greek mythical
figure Prometheus as a window onto the philosopher’s changing notions regarding
antiquity. In the first instance it will examine the sources of the myth, both
ancient and modern, in order to assess how Nietzsche’s appropriation fits into
the broader history of Promethean receptions. It will then turn to two of
Nietzsche’s main philosophical works, The Birth of Tragedy (1872) and The Gay
Science (1882). By closely analysing the texture of Nietzsche’s Prometheus in
these works this article will demonstrate that Nietzsche initially used the Titan as
a marker of the relationship between ancient Greece and modern Germany and of the potential for a shared identity that might link them. In addition to this it
becomes clear that Nietzsche’s conception of the Titan changed dramatically
between the two works as well as afterwards, and this article will argue that
these changes are key to understanding Nietzsche’s evolving attitude to the
relationship between antiquity and modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-62
Number of pages25
JournalClassical Receptions Journal
Issue number1
Early online date31 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


  • Prometheus, Greek mythology, Nietzsche, Classical Receptions


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