According to Greek mythology, Prometheus gave people everything- life, soul, trade, and fire. It was because of the theft of fire from Olympus to give to man that he suffered. Zeus ordered him chained to Caucasus, a desert cliff at the back of beyond, in Scythia. It is very likely that this ‘first Golgotha’ is Mount Fischt near Sochi. ‘There is Caucasian Mountain bordering on the Phasis, once called Boreas’ Couch (Boreas is the Greek god of the north wind). After the fight of the Titan’s Cronus, who was trying to escape Zeus’ threats, Cronus hid himself on the top of Boreas’ Couch, turning himself into a crocodile. When Zeus came there he tied his father down with a woolen thread and precipitated him into Tartarus, and then he.... renamed the mountain to Caucasus, chained Prometheus to the rock and made him suffer from an eagle which tore his liver to pieces’. (Plutarch, 1st century AD)
Plutarch goes on to tell that ‘the Phasis is a river in Scythia...It was formerly called the Arctur because of the cold surrounding area. Archeologists believe that at the time when Ionic myth about Argonauts was being composed the River Phasis was considered in the North and was identified with the Don. The most dominating peak nearest to the Phasis/Don is Fischt. Ancient Greeks thought it to be situated in Scythia. And looking at a photo from Sochi the mountain appears to be a crocodile. But the most important trait is a huge red blot that appears on the southern slope after an ancient landslide (the myth says that Prometheus’ blood soaked into the rocks). And severe snowstorms occur here even at the height of summer; Greeks apparently knew the famous Novorossiisk ‘bora’.
Even the Argonauts came to vacation in our land. During the 13th century, before the Trojan War and long before Odysseus’ voyage, Argonauts started on a dangerous trip across the Ungracious Sea to get the Golden Fleece. The ‘north’ route of their sailing seems to mythologists to be the most logical one because it corresponds to the spreading of Greek settlements on the Black Sea coast. It is known that Greeks witnessed a severe earthquake which took place in the North Caucasus at that time; ‘The last bay (possibly the Azov Sea), the Caucasus rising to the cold Bears, and the brutal dwelling of Prometheus came in sight from there.
That day led Hercules unexpectedly to a place that changed the fate of the titan. And rocking the brutal fetters in different ways with great efforts.... he grabbed them with his hands and tore them out of the foot of the rock; great Caucasus thundered; and following the peak of the mountains, logs fell into the sea and rivers were drawn aside of it... At a closer distance one could hear a moaning sound, a hollow roar from the mountain as the rocks were being torn down. And the great moans of the titan when his members chained to the cliffs were being detached...The (Argonauts) sailing on the sea were in awe as the broken shores were covered with snow and rocks were smashed.’ (Gaius Valery Flakk, 1st Century AD)
For a long time
it has been thought that this catastrophe took place on the mountain
Elbrus. It is conjectured that when speaking of gods Greeks could
place the scene only on the highest mountain of the Caucasus. Also,
in a tragedy by Aischylos (the first recording of the titan, 5th
Century BC) Prometheus, already being chained to the rock, tells
the daughter of a river god the way to Elbrus; ‘Now you
turn to the east...and go straight on... until you come to Caucasus,
the greatest of mountains...’ This is indeed the way to
Elbrus- eastward from Fischt.
Some mythologists believe that Odysseus met the one-eyed Cyclop on the Caucasus’ Black Sea coast. And the most appropriate place for this is the Akhshtyrskaya Cave in Sochi because of its closeness to the sea, the landscape and vegetation, and the aborigines’ customs. According to Aristotle’s Achaeans and Heniokhs the first tribes known to live here were in the habit of eating travelers from Greece (It must have been those Greek spices ;).) Hence the Black Sea’s ancient name of Ungracious Sea (Pontos Axeinos).