Sisyphus was condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of rolling a boulder up a hill all day, and then watching it roll back down again at night. Not as bad perhaps, as an eagle ripping into your liver every day (like Prometheus) but dreadfully long and exhausting work just the same. You may wonder at his sentence, what crime it was that condemned him. Like a lot of Greeks, he defied the Gods, but his defiance was unequalled It was the worst, for he tried to cheat death.
Sisyphus was founder and King of Corinth, and known as a clever, inventive man. In the Underworld, they called him a rogue, for he was notorious for his cunning,
When Sisyphus came to the end of his lifetime, the God Hades came to claim him personally for the kingdom of the dead. Hades had brought along a pair of handcuffs, a comparative novelty, and Sisyphus expressed such an interest that Hades was persuaded to demonstrate their use, and on himself.
And so it came about that the high lord of the Underworld was kept locked up in a box at the house of Sisyphus for many a day. Of course nobody could then die.
After much trouble throughout the world, Hades finally escaped and Sisyphus was ordered summarily to report to the Underworld.
But the wiley one had another trick up his sleeve. He simply told his wife not to bury him and then complained to Persephone, Queen of the Dead, that he had not been accorded the proper funeral honours and could not even pay the fare that Charon the ferryman demanded to cross the River of the Dead.
Persephone let him go back to the Land of the Living to secure the proper rites (and gold coin) for himself. Of course, the minute that Sisyphus got back to the sunshine, he disregarded all business about any funeral.
Sisyphus lived on for a good many more years but no mortal can long defy the inevitable. He was finally hauled down to Hades, where his indiscretions caught up with him.
For his crime against the Gods he was condemned to an eternity at hard labour. His punishment was to roll a huge boulder to the top of a steep hill by the greatest of exertion and toil, and then, every time he reached the summit, he was condemned to watch the boulder roll back down again.