Hi Kata. A family in the book im planning are descended from Greek mythology but aren't related to the Gods. They're my antagonists so they're rich, back stabby, greedy and full of hubris even towards their own kin. Im having trouble researching mortal Greek myths with families of people like that. Can you give me any suggestions? All I can think of is Sisyphus and I don't want to step on your toes!
Sorry this took so long to answer, I had to get all my notes in order. You wouldn’t be stepping on my toes, and you CANNOT GO WRONG with all the wrongness of the House of Aeolus. They are just totally fucked up from beginning to end and a lot of their most prominent members are on the Tartarus roll call.
Let’s do a brief overview, shall we?
Punished his son Macareus and his daughter Canace for incest by throwing his grandson (their issue) out a window to be torn apart by dogs. Thus he was a kinslayer, possibly the greatest sin in Ancient Greece and went to Tartarus.
Son of Aeolus. Murdered house guests (one of the biggest no-nos in Ancient Greece as they were all about hospitality), raped his niece Tyro, tried to trick Persephone into releasing him from the underworld, got his wife Merope to skip certain funerary rites for him so he could con his way back to earth, trapped Thanatos in his own chains, captured Thanatos in a sack to keep death from happening. Ultimately punished by Persephone and currently stuck rolling a rock up a hill for eternity.
Brother of Sisyphus, son of Aeolus. Murdered his subjects by throwing lightning bolt shaped spears at them from his chariot, which he’d set up on a wooden platform to mimic thunder. Pretended to be Zeus, was subsequently struck down by him. In Tartarus, punishment not specified.
Due to serious and continued shaming and philandering, his first wife Ino convinced him to kill his son by another mother, Phrixus, by way of human sacrifice, but Phrixus was rescued at the last minute by a fairly complex deus ex machina. He was subsequently driven mad and murdered his legitimate son, Learchus.
Fathered several sons and daughters and seems to be the only one of the four major sons of Aeolus who didn’t fuck up extraordinarily. He married his niece, Tyro, but that was something very common for royal Greek families who wanted to keep the bloodlines pure (and true of royal lineages before and after, ie. the 4-8th dynasties of Egypt, the Hapsburg family, etc.) Ever wonder where the term “blue blood” comes from? It’s because those of royal blood were so inbred that their skin was thin enough to see veins. Hence, blue blood.
Daughter of Salmoneus, wife of Cretheus, raped by Sisyphus who did so with the intent of begetting sons on her that would dethrone her father so Sisyphus could usurp his kingdom. When Tyro found out, she murdered her sons by him. She is the only singular female mentioned as a denizen of Tartarus (besides the Daenids).
Here’s a little aside to all this though: The Aeolic branch of the Greek nation was Thessalonian, their descendant rulers were kings of Boeotia, and stories about them function about the same in mythology as the explanations about the lines of Ishmael and Lot function in the Hebrew Torah. They’re not very flattering. Tales about the House of Aeolus were written by Athenian authors in Attica, who were almost constantly at war with the Boeotians in pre-classical and classical times.
In the same respect, the descendants of Isaac (Israel) were constantly at war with the descendants of Lot and Ishmael, so of course they would tell unflattering stories about the founders of those tribes (Ishmael was born from a sex slave of Abraham, Lot conceived his nation by incest with his daughters). By that same token, the most memorable and transcribed stories about the founders of the Aeolic branch of the Greek people would include their members all residing in Tartarus because those stories were written down by people who lived in Athens.