Tuesday, 10 March 2015


In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was described as the founder and first king of Ephyra, and the son of Aeolus, king of Thessaly and Enarete.  In some versions, the sorceress Medea  gave Sisyphus the throne of Ephyra, later known as Corinth.  According to other version, Sisyphus earned the crown by founding the city, which he populated with people grown out of mushrooms. 

                              Sisyphus married Merope , the only one of the seven Pleiades (daughters of the Titan Atlas and Pleione) to have wedded a mortal rather than consorting with the gods. He was the father of Glaucus3, Ornytion, Almus, and Thersander by his wife Merope.  
                                               In the neighbor of Sisyphus , Autolycus a notorious thief, would steal anything he could get his hands on. But Autolycus always escaped detection because he could change the form or color of anything he stole. Autolycus repeatedly stole cattle from Sisyphus’s herd. Sisyphus noticed that cattle were missing and that the herd of Autolycus seemed to be expanding in number, but could not prove any theft.
                                                 In an attempt to catch Autolycus in the act, Sisyphus secretly marked the inside of the hooves of his cattle.  The later discovery of his mark on cows in Autolycus’s herd proved that his neighbor was a thief. In some versions, Sisyphus was not satisfied merely with proving Autolycus a thief and recovering his cattle. Seeking revenge, he seduced Anticleia, the daughter of Autolycus and later the mother of Odysseus. So in some versions Sisyphus was described as the father of Odysseus.
                                         Sisyphus and his brother Salmoneus  hated each other. In some versions, Sisyphus found out from an oracle that if he had children by his brother’s daughter, they would destroy their grandfather. He secretly had sex with Salmoneus's daughter Tyro and she bore him a son. But when she found out what the child would do to Salmoneus, she killed the boy. It was soon after this that Tyro was seduce by sea god, Poseidon, in the guise of the river-god Enipius and bore him Pelias and Neleus. 
                                          As a king Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce but was avaricious and deceitful. Sisyphus also killed travelers and guests, a violation of Xenia which fell under Zeus' domain. He took pleasure in these killings because they allowed him to maintain his iron-fisted rule.
                          Sisyphus saw Zeus  kidnap a river nymph, Aeginabut he promised to keep the hiding place secret. But Sisyphus betrayed Zeus, however, when he revealed the location to the river god Asopus (nymph's father), in exchange for a spring of pure water. The punishment Zeus inflicted was death.
                                             When Death (Thanatos) came, Sisyphus tied him up and escaped. This caused an uproar since no human could die with Thanatos disabled. Eventually the god of war,  Ares, who was annoyed that his battles had lost their fun because his opponents would not die, intervened. The exasperated Ares freed  and turned King Sisyphus over to Thanatos as well. In other version, As long as Thanatos was tied up, nobody could die. Because of this, sacrifices could not be made to the gods and those that were old and sick were suffering. The gods finally threatened to make life so miserable for Sisyphus that he would wish he was dead. He then had no choice but to release Thanatos .

Thanatos  again went after Sisyphus. But before Sisyphus went to the Underworld, he told his wife, the Pleiad Meropeto throw his naked body into the middle of the public square and not to bury him, give him a funeral feast, perform any sacrifices to Hades or Persephone, or place a coin under his tongue (which was used to pay Charon, who ferried the dead for passage across the river Styx to the Underworld).
                                     Appealing to Queen Persephone, Sisyphus told her that he had no right to be there. As one of the unburied, who had no fare for Charon, he should have been abandoned on the far side of the river Styx. Furthermore, Sisyphus argued, his wife’s neglect of funeral ceremonies and sacrifices might set a bad example for other widows in the future.

Sisyphus pleaded for permission to return to the surface of the earth for just three days. This brief time would allow him to arrange for his funeral, to punish his wife for neglecting her duties, and to teach her respect for the lords of the Underworld. Persephone fell for his pleas and allowed Sisyphus to go home. Sisyphus, of course, had no intention to return to the world of darkness. He reneged on his promise to descend again in three days. Indeed, he lived many more years until old age claimed him at last.
Sisyphus..................in Tartarus....................

                               For his offenses to Zeus, Persephone and Thanatos, Sisyphus was condemned to eternal punishment in Tartarus, the lowest region of the Underworld. Sisyphus would forever roll a massive boulder to the top of a steep hill. But his efforts were always in vain, for whenever Sisyphus neared the top, the rock would roll right back down again. Sisyphus was thus forced to start his labor all over again.


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