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So once more he had to wrestle with the thing and push it up, while the sweat poured from his limbs and the dust rose high above his head. Odyssey , Book In another tale, Sisyphus used his cunning to finally catch Autolycus, the grandfather of Odysseus and infamous thief. Sisyphus cleverly attached lead tablets to the feet of his own cattle herd, and so when Autolycus stole them, Sisyphus was able to follow the tracks and catch the thief red-handed.

The tablets had all been inscribed with the words 'Autolycus stole them.

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

Sisyphus was also the founder of the famous Isthmian games of Corinth, held every two years in honour of Poseidon , and one of the four major Panhellenic games which included the Olympic games. Sisyphus was succeeded as king of Corinth by his son Glaucus — he who was ripped to pieces by his own flesh-eating horses — and then his grandson Bellerophon, whose winged horse Pegasus became a symbol of the city and a feature of Corinthian coins. The Underworld was a relatively rare subject for Greek vase painters, but there are a dozen or so vases from the 6th century BCE showing Sisyphus.

On one Athenian black-figure amphora , dating to c. The trickster pushes a huge boulder up a slope using his arms and a knee while Hades, Persephone, and Hermes look on.

Sisyphus - Wikiquote

Another example is a black-figure amphora in the Staatliche Antikensammlungen of Munich which dates to BCE and again shows Persephone looking on as Sisyphus carries his boulder, this time, unusually painted in white. The myth returns in popularity during the 4th century BCE when it is shown on the interior of several red-figure cups and appears on a number of similar-dated red-figure vases which show multiple figures from the Underworld. In one of the latter examples, Sisyphus has the additional punishment of being whipped by one of the Furies who wears a panther skin.

In sculpture , Sisyphus appears on a c. Here the hapless trickster not only has to roll his stone up a very steep-looking hill but is at the same time attacked from behind by a winged demon. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.


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Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Cartwright, M. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. Last modified December 14, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 14 Dec This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.

Cheating Death In Greek mythology , the story of Sisyphus has multiple and often contradictory versions with embellishments added over time so that the only point of certainty is his terrible punishment. Remove Ads Advertisement.

By Brian Schimmoller, Contributing Editor

Bibliography Bagnall, R. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Wiley-Blackwell, Boardman, J. Athenian Black Figure Vases. Carabatea, M. Greek mythology. Carpenter, T. Art and Myth in Ancient Greece.

elimesim.tk Homer trans. The Odyssey.


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Penguin Classics, Homer trans. The Iliad. Penguin Classics, Hornblower, S. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press, About the Author Mark Cartwright. Never give up. And be thankful for the journey.

How It (Supposedly) Went Down

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Miscellaneous Myths: Sisyphus Captures Death

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