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(i.e. "the crafty"). The son of Aeolus, brother of Athamas, husband of the Pleiad Merope. His son is Glaucus, the father of Bellerophon. He is regarded as the builder of Ephyra, (afterwards Corinth) and as originator of the Isthmian Games. In legends he appears as extremely cunning and crafty; in Homer he is called the "slyest of all men" [Il. vi 153]. The reason why he is punished in the other world, where he is forced for ever to keep on rolling a block of stone to the top of a steep hill, only to see it roll again to the valley, and to start the toilsome task again [Od. xi 593], is not mentioned by Homer; and later legends vary on this point. According to the account which gives the best idea of his cunning, Sisyphus discloses to the rivergod Asopus, in search of his daughter Aegina (see AeACUS), how she had been carried off by Zeus; but this information was not given until Asopus has satisfied the condition laid down by Sisyphus, by creating the spring Peirene, which ever after supplied the citadel and town of Corinth [Pausanias ii 5 § 1]. Zeus desires to kill Sisyphus as a punishment for revealing the facts, and sends Death to him; but Sisyphus fetters Death in strong chains, and no one dies, till at last Ares sets him free and hands Sisyphus over to him. But be commands his wife not to inter him, and succeeds in persuading Pluto and Persephone to let him return for awhile to the upper world in order to punish her want of love. Having no desire to return to Hades, he forgets his promise, and eventually Hermes has to come and fetch him. In the post-Homeric legends Odysseus, on account of his cunning, is made the son of Sisyphus and Anticleia [Sophocles, Ajax 190, Phil. 417; Eur., Iph. at Aulis, 524].
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