Sisyphus


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Sisyphus: Sisyphus syndrome

Sisyphus

(sĭs`ĭfəs), in Greek mythology, son of Aeolus and founder and king of Corinth. Renowned for his cunning, he was said to have outwitted even Death. For his disrespect to Zeus, he was condemned to eternal punishment in Tartarus. There he eternally pushed a heavy rock to the top of a steep hill, where it would always roll down again. Albert Camus' essay The Myth of Sisyphus is based on this legend.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Sisyphus

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Sisyphus, asteroid 1,866 (the 1,866th asteroid to be discovered, on December 5, 1972), is approximately 7.6 kilometers in diameter and has an orbital period of 2.6 years. Sisyphus was a mythological figure whose punishment in the underworld was to roll a stone up a hill, only to have it roll back to the bottom, and then have to push it up the hill, over and over again for eternity. According to Martha Lang-Wescott, Sisyphus represents “determination; dogged persistence; to start over (again or anew); to repeat effort.” Jacob Schwartz gives this asteroid’s astrological significance as “determined action on hopeless or repetitive tasks, ‘returning to square one.’” This asteroid’s key phrase is “start over.”

Sources:

Lang-Wescott, Martha. Asteroids-Mechanics: Ephemerides II. Conway, MA: Treehouse Mountain, 1990.
Lang-Wescott. Mechanics of the Future: Asteroids. Rev. ed. Conway, MA: Treehouse Mountain, 1991.
Schwartz, Jacob. Asteroid Name Encyclopedia. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1995.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sisyphus

 

in Greek mythology, the son of Aeolus (the guardian of the winds) and the builder and king of Corinth.

After his death, Sisyphus was condemned in Hades to roll a heavy stone up a hill, which, every time it nearly reached the top, rolled down again. Hence the expression “Sisyphean labor,” which signifies endless and ineffective hard work and torments. Various myths have been preserved that explain why such a severe punishment befell Sisyphus. According to one myth, he is tormented for having disclosed the gods’ secrets. Sisyphus was portrayed in ancient Greek dramas, including non-extant works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. He has been represented in modern literature (A. Camus, R. Merle) and in art (Titian). [23–1053–]


Sisyphus

 

a genus of dung beetles whose black or brown body is 5-12 mm long. The legs are very long. The anterior tibiae are dentate, whereas the posterior tibiae are bent and lack denticles. There are 16 species, distributed mostly in the tropics of Africa and Asia. There is only a single species, S. schaefferi, in the USSR (southern region). Like the scarab, Sisyphus feeds on the excrement of animals, mostly ungulates. Before eating the dung, the beetle rolls it into small balls.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sisyphus

man condemned to roll up a hill a huge stone which always rolls back before he gets it to the top. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 1006]

Sisyphus

condemned to impossible task for his avarice. [Gk. Myth.: Wheeler, 1011]
See: Greed

Sisyphus

condemned in Hades to roll boulder uphill which would immediately roll down again. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 244; Gk. Lit.: Odyssey; Rom. Lit.: Aeneid]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Whereas Odysseus's Sisyphus exists in a richly peopled part of the Greek underworld, Camus puts his Sisyphus alone on a mountain.
Nonetheless, unlike Sisyphus, the MB will remain at the bottom of the hill, being unable to ascend it again and for decades to come.
At the behest of Mary of Hungary (1505-558), he created a group of four paintings depicting the Damned in mythology: Tityos, Sisyphus, Tantalus, and Ixion--all condemned to perpetual torture for incurring the wrath of the gods.
On days I bathe Sisyphus, I think I've come home to the wrong townhouse.
Orpheus and Sisyphus are not exactly opposite sides of the same coin, but the two leadership styles are very instructive.
Works from Camus' first cycle (The Stranger [1942], The Myth of Sisyphus [1942], The Misunderstanding [1943], and Caligula [1944]) describe the awakening of the absurd man to the meaningless of his existence and, subsequently, demonstrate why the perfunctory "leap of faith" afforded by both Christian and existentialist thought is ultimately unacceptable.
Calling on field-tested methods and insights, Richard uses case studies to debunk the notion that the Lone Leader (the modern day Sisyphus) can “go it alone” in a business world of fast-paced change.
Sisyphus and his boulder are fairly well established, even if his wife Merope tends to be neglected.
Sisyphus would have welcomed a bit of support, guidance and review, but think what he might have achieved with a block and tackle.
The authors conclude, "Our research suggests that Sisyphus was better off with his punishment than he would have been with a punishment of an eternity of doing nothing, and that he might have chosen roiling a rock over idleness if he had been given a slight reason for doing it."
In his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus retells the classic story of a mortal man punished by the gods for attempting to avoid death.