In distant and apart years, so long ago that no one can remember, ancient years indeed, Aeolus, the mighty ancestor of all the Aeolians, coupled with Enarete, the daughter of all virtues.

Sisyphus was the rotten fruit of their wedlock.

Some say that Sisyphus was the father of Odysseus by Anticlea, before she married Laertus, but I want to consider this legend incorrect.

Our grandfathers know by word of mouth that Sisyphus was sly as a fox and evil as a poisonous serpent, that he was amused to lie in wait drifters, to arrest and torture them to the death. His sacrileges, they say, are numerous and awful.

Sisyphus, the founder and King of Corinth, or Ephyra as this great city was called in those old days is the same Sisyphus of our tale, the same one who was severely punished by the Gods, condemned in Tartarus, a place equally far beneath Hades as heavens are high above the earth; punished to an eternity…

I’ve been told that with one of his nasty plays, Sisyphus coped with chaining Hades, the master of the Underworld, so the souls could not find their way to the abode of the dead…

Some claim that when Jupiter took the form of an eagle and abducted Aegina, taking her away in the isle of Oenone,Sisyphus, betrayed the two lovers, revealing their love nest to Asopus, Aegina’s father, who was after them. Oenone was sleeping in the bay of the Saronic Gulf, a string of six entrances to the Kingdom of the Dead, each guarded by abysmal, chthonic monsters. Hades himself, old victim of Sisyphus’ trickeries, intervened on behalf of the lovers and demanded the severe punishment of Sisyphus.

Gods have thought with divine reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. Homer [Odyssey, XI 593] reveals the punishment: In Tartarus, in the realm of the dead, Sisyphus, naked, is rolling a block of stone against a steep hill. Only every time, by the greatest of exertion and toil, the slave of the Underworld attains the summit, the darn thing rolls back down again. Then the vain struggle starts again and again, lasting all eternity.

His punishment is depicted on the souls of many unjust people of our times…


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