Encyclopedia of History
Home > Encyclopedia of History

Sisyphus



In Greek mythology, son of Eolus, father of Laucus, and husband of the Pleiad Merope; only in post-Homeric legends, from his cunning, the father Odysseus. Sisyphis is said to have been founder and king of Ephyra, known later as Corinth, and both he and his whole house were notorious for their evil ways. Homer does not give the reason for his punishment in the lower world, but some later accounts make it his disclosure of the river-god Asopus that it was Zeus who had carried off his daughter; others his wholesale robbery and murder of travelers. He was condemned to roll an immense stone from the bottom to the summit of a hill, which, whenever it reached the top, rolled down again, and so the task of Sisyphus had to begin again.