According to Greek mythology, the problems brought by Pandora’s box started with Prometheus. He was a Titan, one of the first Greek gods. He stole the secret of fire from his fellow gods and shared it with mortal humans. To punish humans, the gods then created Pandora. Each god gave her a gift to make her appealing (her name comes from a Greek word meaning ‘all gifted’ or ‘all giving’). Then they sent her to the mortals with a jar full of evils. Pandora’s curiosity prompted her to open the box, and all those ills escaped to plague humanity.
Norse mythology specified that the destruction of the world would be preceded by a cataclysmic final battle between the good and evil gods, resulting in the heroic deaths of all the ‘good guys.’ The German word for this earth-shattering last battle was ‘Götterdämmerung .’ Literally, ‘götterdämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight of the gods’ (‘Götter’ is the plural of ‘Gott,’ ‘god,’ and ‘Dämmerung ‘ means ‘twilight’). Figuratively, the term is extended to situations of world-altering destruction marked by extreme chaos and violence. In the 19th century, the German composer Richard Wagner brought attention to the word ‘Gotterdammerung’ when he chose it as the title of the last opera of his cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, and by the early 20th century, the word had entered English.
Homer Iliad: ‘May his fellow warriors fall round him to the earth and bite the dust.’