|“||A Greek vase appeared on the table. It was about three feet high and a foot wide, glazed with black-and-white geometrical designs. The ceramic lid was fastened with a leather harness.||”|
Pandora's Pithos (also known as Pandora's Jar or Pandora's Box) was once the "home" to all the evils of the world. When a curious Pandora opened it, all the evils that harm mankind escaped and made life worse for mortals. The Pithos is currently owned by the goddess Hestia and only one more spirit remains inside; the spirit of Hope, Elpis.
The pithos was originally a gift from the gods to Pandora, the first woman created, who in turn was given to Epimetheus during their wedding. It was really a punishment for Prometheus - as he took fire from the gods - and humanity, for accepting it. They knew he would get angry if he saw his creations being tormented, so they gave Pandora the jar and told her not to open it no matter what.
Percy remarked in The Last Olympian, that Pandora must have been "ADHD" like him as the curiosity was probably killing her. When Pandora did open the jar, all the evils that now torment mankind, such as lies, murder, death, sickness, treason, and all bad spirits and ideas escaped from the jar. The first Empousa was also released. Only Elpis, the spirit of hope, remained inside.
When Prometheus meets Percy Jackson, he gives him the pithos. At that time, only Hope was left in the jar. Prometheus told Percy that Elpis must be given permission to leave, as only a 'child of man' can release her from the pithos. He tells Percy that when he is ready to surrender to Kronos, he should open it, giving up hope.
Although Percy puts it in the hotel's safe, it follows him around, and appears whenever he is at his weakest, tempting him to open it. Percy, however refuses to surrender on all of those occasions. Percy later gives it to Hestia as an offering, stating that she was the last and most important Olympian, as "hope survives best at the hearth." Hestia accepts this offer and keeps the box since then.
- Though most mortals refer to it as a box or jar of some sort, it was actually a pithos, a storage jar.
- Prometheus is clueless as how the word box/jar came about, but admits that "Pandora's pithos" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
- The mistranslation of pithos is usually attributed to the 16th century humanist Erasmus who, in his Latin account of the story of Pandora, changed the Greek pithos to pyxis, meaning "box"