Sisyphus

/sis"euh feuhs/, n. Class. Myth.
a son of Aeolus and ruler of Corinth, noted for his trickery: he was punished in Tartarus by being compelled to roll a stone to the top of a slope, the stone always escaping him near the top and rolling down again.

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In Greek mythology, the king of Corinth who was punished in Hades by having to roll a huge stone up a hill over and over again.

He was the son of Aeolus and the father of Glaucus. When Death came to fetch him, Sisyphus had him chained up so that no one died until Ares came to free Death. Before being taken to the underworld, Sisyphus asked his wife to leave his body unburied. When he reached Hades he was permitted to go back to earth to punish his wife, and he lived to a ripe old age before dying a second time. His trickery resulted in his punishment in Hades.

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 in Greek mythology, the cunning king of Corinth who was punished in Hades by having repeatedly to roll a huge stone up a hill only to have it roll down again as soon as he had brought it to the summit. This fate is related in Homer's Odyssey, Book XI. In Homer's Iliad, Book VI, Sisyphus, living at Ephyre (later Corinth), was the son of Aeolus (eponymous ancestor of the Aeolians) and the father of Glaucus. In post-Homeric times he was called the father of Odysseus through his seduction of Anticleia; cunning obviously provided the link between them. Sisyphus was the reputed founder of the Isthmian Games. Later legend related that when death came to fetch him, Sisyphus chained him up so that no one died until Ares came to aid Death, and Sisyphus had to submit. In the meantime, Sisyphus had told his wife, Merope, not to perform the usual sacrifices and to leave his body unburied. Thus, when he reached the underworld he was permitted to return to punish her for the omission. Once back at home, he continued to live to a ripe old age before dying a second time.

      Sisyphus was, in fact, like Autolycus and Prometheus, a widely popular figure of folklore—the trickster, or master thief. Clearly, he is everlastingly punished in Hades as the penalty for cheating Death; but why he is set to roll a great stone incessantly is a puzzle to which no convincing answer has yet been given. It appears to belong with other Greek imaginings of the world of the dead as the scene of fruitless labours.

      The figure of Sisyphus inspired an existentialist classic, Albert Camus's Myth of Sisyphus: Essay on the Absurd (1942).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SISYPHUS — Aeoli fil. qui icum Atticam latrociniis infestaret (unde Ovid. Met. l. 13. v. 32. Quid sanguine cretus Sisyphio, furtisque et fraude simillimus illi.) a Theseo occisus est. Hunc Poetae fabulantur eô supplicii genere apud inferos plecti, ut saxum… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Sisyphus — Sis y*phus, n. [L. Sisyphus, Sisyphus, fr. Gr. ????.] (Class. Myth.) A king of Corinth, son of [AE]olus, famed for his cunning. He was killed by Theseus, and in the lower world was condemned by Pluto to roll to the top of a hill a huge stone,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sisyphus — Sisyphus, myth., Gründer Ephyras (Korinth), betrog Götter u. Menschen u. mußte darum in der Unterwelt einen stets wieder herabrollenden Stein einen Berg hinaufrollen (S.arbeit) …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Sisyphus — Gk. Sisyphos, a name of unknown origin. King of Corinth, famed as the craftiest of men, he was condemned in the afterlife to roll uphill a stone which perpetually rolls down again …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sisyphus — [sis′ə fəs] n. [L < Gr Sisyphos] Gr. Myth. a greedy king of Corinth doomed forever in Hades to roll a heavy stone uphill, only to have it always roll down again …   English World dictionary

  • Sisyphus — In Greek mythology, Sisyphus (Greek: Σίσυφος [sí.sy.phos] Audio IPA|Ell Sisyfos.ogg| [ si.si.fos] , Latinized: Sisyphus, (IPAEng|ˈsɪsɨfəs)), was a king punished in Tartarus by being cursed to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll… …   Wikipedia

  • Sisyphus — Eine wahre Sisyphusarbeit nennen wir noch heute wie Properz (›Sisyphios labores‹, Lachm. III, 17, 7) eine besonders schwere und qualvolle Arbeit, die zur Erfolglosigkeit verdammt scheint und deshalb niemals zu einem Abschluß gebracht werden kann …   Das Wörterbuch der Idiome

  • Sisyphus — Persephone beaufsichtigt Sisyphos in der Unterwelt, schwarzfigurige attische Amphora, um 530 v. Chr., Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 1494) Sisyphos ( …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sisyphus — Si|sy|phos <griechisch>, Si|sy|phus (Gestalt der griechischen Sage)   • Sisyphus Sisyphus, der der griechischen Sage nach dazu verurteilt war, einen Felsblock einen steilen Berg hinaufzuwälzen, von wo er kurz vor dem Gipfel immer wieder… …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • Sisyphus —  Not ss . In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king of Corinth who was condemned for eternity to push a heavy stone up a hill, only to have it roll down again. Hence Sisyphean describes some endless task …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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