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The Pettiest Punishments Ever Given In Greek Mythology

Updated November 15, 2020 3.9k votes 564 voters 17.6k views11 items

List RulesVote up the pettiest punishments doled out in Greek mythology.

Greek gods and goddesses are not exactly known for being fair. Not only do they love to dole out harsh consequences, but they do so for downright ridiculous reasons. Whether they're being overly sensitive or merely having a power trip, these petty punishments in Greek mythology will make you happy you're not alive in ancient Greece. 

The gods of Greek mythology act more like vengeful and temperamental children than divine beings. The slightest remark or glance in the wrong direction could cause a Greek god to turn you into an animal for eternity or doom you to a dreadful demise. While it's easy to dismiss as ancient mythology, these revenge stories speak to a real time - involving actual people - wherein your fate could turn upside down at any moment.

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    Hermes Made Chelone A Tortoise After She Didn't Attend A Wedding

    Hermes Made Chelone A Tortoise After She Didn't Attend A Wedding
    Photo: Ludvig Abelin Schou / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Hermes invited all gods, animals, and men to attend the wedding of Hera and Zeus. When the nymph Chelone opted to stay in that night, Hermes threw her and her home into a river, turning her into a tortoise who always had to carry her house on her back. 

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  • Hera is known for her extreme jealousy, just as Zeus is known for his adultery. But no one seemed to incur Hera's wrath for a pettier reason than Heracles, who had the misfortune of being born to Zeus by another woman. 

    As a young man, Heracles moved to Thebes and started a family with Megara. Hera drove Heracles temporarily mad, causing him to murder his wife and kids. While Heracles eventually recovered from Hera's spell, he had to come to terms with the fact he had claimed the lives of his entire family.

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  • Demeter Turned Minthe Into A Plant For Claiming To Be Prettier Than Her Daughter
    Photo: Wknight94 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Before Hades took Persephone and made her his bride, he was involved with a naiad, Minthe. After being cast aside, Minthe made a few comments about how she was more attractive than Hades's new wife, Persephone.

    Persephone's mother Demeter caught wind that someone thought they were better-looking than her daughter; this could not stand. She turned Minthe into a plant, specifically into the mint leaf.

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    Demeter Turned Ascalabus Into A Lizard For Laughing At Her

    Demeter Turned Ascalabus Into A Lizard For Laughing At Her
    Photo: Adam Elsheimer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    While searching for her missing daughter, Persephone, Demeter came across the home of Misme and asked for something to drink. Exhausted and thirsty, Demeter finished the drink in one gulp, eliciting laughter from Misme's son, Ascalabus.

    Rather than thanking Misme for her hospitality, Demeter had a fit and turned Ascalabus into a lizard.  

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