The crime that led Sisyphus to push a boulder was cheating death. He made his wife not bury him properly before he died, chained death, and tricked Persephone into letting him briefly return to earth to scold his wife and ran away instead of returning to hell.

Sisyphus

Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra (Corinth) in Greek mythology. He was the son of King Aeolus of Thessaly and Enarete. He founded Ephyra, which he ruled over as its first king. His spouse was the nymph Merope, with whom he had four children; Glaucus, Ornytion, Almus, and Thersander.

Although Sisyphus helped its city become a commercial hub and invested in navigation, he was a sly and deceitful person. In numerous occasions, he violated the Xenia, the concept of hospitality and generosity shown to travellers and guests, by killing them, so he could prove that he was a ruthless king. These violations made him fall in the eyes of Zeus, who was in charge of promoting the Xenia. Another time that Sisyphus infuriated Zeus when he told the river… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

8 thoughts on “The crime that led Sisyphus to push a boulder was cheating death. He made his wife not bury him properly before he died, chained death, and tricked Persephone into letting him briefly return to earth to scold his wife and ran away instead of returning to hell.”

  1. Squaragus_Asparagus

    Also, mind you, Sisyphus was not innocent. He raped, killed, and stole on earth and was a brutal tyrant. The first time he died he chained Death (Thanatos) so no humans could die on earth. The earth was plagued with bodies walking around headless, speared, and entrails hanging out. Aries released death and condemned him to die. Before death, Sisyphus had a plan to cheat dying again.

    He instructed Merope (his wife) to not bury him properly and not place a coin under his tongue so he could be allowed an audience with Persephone to plead to return to earth to receive the correct rites and scold his wife.

    On Earth he escaped and lived to old age, but was dragged to hell by Hermes at the end of his long life, and was punished with pushing a boulder that crushed him as it rolled back down each time.

  2. flotiste

    Though the boulder itself was not exactly a punishment. He was given the choice when he died of going to the afterlife, or he could choose to be a God if only he could push the boulder up the hill. But if you chose the boulder he had to keep at it until he succeeded. And in most of the myths, he still believes he chose correctly, and is still working to become a god, absolutely firm in his belief that it will work.

  3. flnnry

    Do we still need to imagine sisyphus happy?

  4. CrimsonPig

    Cool dude, he always tosses a few obols my way when I’m passing through Tartarus

  5. VDubDJ

    “Hey there Prince Zed!”

  6. Schlangenbob

    Also he chained Thanatos

  7. Andyetwearestill

    And yet, one must imagine him happy

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