Welcome, welcome, welcome to round four in our mini-series on Punishment in Tartarus. So far we have looked at the stories and indiscretions and subsequent punishments of Sisyphus, Tantalus and Ixion. Do give them a read if you get the chance, they are very interesting!
This week we turn to not a man, but a giant. The giant Tityos, to be precise. So pull up a chair, kick back and let me hit you with some Greek Mythology.
Tityos was the son of Zeus and Elare. After he had “seduced” Elare and impregnated her, he hid her deep below the ground afraid that Hera would find out. There seems to be a bit of conflict here about what happened after that with some people suggesting that Elare carried Tityos to term and gave birth to him. Others say that Tityos grew so large that he ripped his mother’s womb and was carried to term by Gaia (the earth).
Either way, Tityos is born and sees the light of day for the first time. The goddess Leto – remember her? She was the mother of the twins Artemis and Apollo – decided to pay a visit to Delphi. Tityos saw her and could not help but grab her. The ever protective Apollo reacted by slaying the giant. Here comes the good part.
For his punishment, Tityos was stretched out on the ground in Tartarus and bound there. He was so big he covered nine acres! It isn’t terrible so far, right? Well, every day, while he was there, two vultures would peck out his liver and eat it only for it to grow back again at night.
I know right, isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever heard?
Perhaps you have heard of it before because Tityos was not the only figure in mythology to have such a punishment. Prometheus, the Titan who gave fire back to man, was tied to a rock and every day his liver would be pecked out by an eagle.
That’s all there is to it. A nice short, snappy myth you can impress all your friends with. Go forth and spread the word!
Thanks for reading. If you wish to do so for whatever reason, you can follow me on Facebook on Twitter. If you don’t want to follow me then that’s quite alright too. I’ll be back next time with the myth of Salmoneus (another short account) before wrapping things up with the Danaides.
Have a most enjoyable day,