Unspeakable Crimes The Most Brutal Punishments Doled Out by Mythological Gods  

Edira Putri
15k votes 2.9k voters 328.6k views 17 items

List Rules Vote up the punishments you really, really wouldn't want to endure.

These horrible punishments in mythology will make you thankful to live in a modern world, where there is a legitimate legal system to determine the punishments people get for bad acts. However cruel or unfair you think your law system is, it’s really nothing compared to the most brutal punishments doled out by Greek and Roman gods.  

Some people believe that good deeds will bring us rewards and bad deeds will bring us punishment. Some call it karma, others call it cosmic retribution or even religious reckoning. However, no one punishes like the great Greek gods. Maybe it’s because their power is supreme and they can do just about anything, but these brutal punishments from the gods are cruel beyond common sense. 

What follows are some of the worst punishments in mythology. If you believe that karma’s a b*tch, well, then these gods are even b*tchier. Vote up the punishments you really, really wouldn't want to endure.

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Zeus Chained Prometheus to a Rock Where an Eagle Would Eat His Liver Every Night

Zeus Chained Prometheus to a R... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Brutal Punishments Doled Out by Mythological Gods
Photo:  Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Zeus resented Prometheus for giving fire to mankind and generally being willful and defiant. For his disobedience, Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock on the side of a mountain. But of course, that wasn't enough. Every night, an eagle would come and peck on his abdomen and munch on his liver.

His liver would then regenerated during the day so that the eagle could have at it, again and again, every night. Eventually, he was freed by Chiron, a centaur who gave his life for Prometheus's, and Heracles, who killed that pesky eagle. 

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Zeus Bound Ixion to an Eternally Burning Wheel

Zeus Bound Ixion to an Eternal... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Brutal Punishments Doled Out by Mythological Gods
Photo: Jules-Élie Delaunay/Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

One day, Zeus was kind enough to invite Ixion to Olympus as a guest. However, when the mortal saw Hera, Zeus’s wife, he was attracted to her and made his move to seduce her. Zeus decided to test Ixion’s loyalty and made a cloud copy of his wife. Ixion fell for it and somehow impregnated the cloud-Hera, who later bore the monster Centaurus.

Zeus blasted Ixion with his powerful lightning bolt and bound him to a burning wheel that would spin forever. Ixion was forced to repeat the words "Repay your benefactor frequently with gentle favors in return" for eternity.

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Demeter Cursed Erysichthon with an Insatiable Hunger

Demeter Cursed Erysichthon wit... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Brutal Punishments Doled Out by Mythological Gods
Photo: Jan Havicksz. Steen/Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

Erisychthon was a king with a serious case of hubris. He desired a large banquet table, so naturally, he cut down trees from Demeter's grove, because goddesses definitely don't mind when you disrespect them, right? Wrong. In retaliation, she cursed him with never-ending hunger. He would yearn for anything digestible and eat it, but the hunger was insatiable. In frustration, Erysichthon ended up eating his own flesh until he died.

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Zeus Sent Tantalus to the Underworld and Restrained Him From Nearby Food and Drink

Zeus Sent Tantalus to the Unde... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Brutal Punishments Doled Out by Mythological Gods
Photo:  Gioacchino Assereto/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Tantalus was the mortal son of Zeus. The gods often welcomed him in Olympus because of his bloodline, but he didn't do much to thank them for it. In fact, he once stole nectar and ambrosia from them. Even worse, though, was his brilliant idea for a sacrifice: he killed his own son, Pelops, and served him to the gods. They were furious and brought the boy back to life.

The king was sent to the underworld, where he had to spend his afterlife standing in a pool of water with branches of a fruit tree hanging over his head. Whenever he tried to reach the branches for some fruits to eat, they would move just beyond his grasp. Likewise, the pool water would drain whenever he tried to bend down and drink. So he was left hungry and thirsty forever, tantalized by the fruit and water he would never be able to reach.

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