Throughout Greek mythology, as many stories can attest, details about insanely crazy individuals are buried within the thousands of pages, often being eclipsed by the heroes who wind up dealing with them in…well, heroic ways. Many of these individuals are flat out cod-blooded murderers, thieves and psychopaths, so the reader never feels too bad when they meet their maker at the swordpoint of a swashbuckling adventurer like Hercules or Theseus.
In fact, some of the craziest thugs tend to show up within Theseus’ pre-Minotaur adventures, as he walks ever closer to Athens and big-time fame. He slaughters several bonafide basket cases, showing off both his sense of justice and his growing fame as a hero. One of these creeps who meets a rather gory end at the hand of Theseus was a bandit that went by the name SINIS (sigh-niss), but who also carried the nickname "Pityokamptes,” which in Greek means "he who bends pine trees.” I know. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. How bad can a guy who messes around with trees really be? Odd, maybe, but not a serious threat, right?
Well…not exactly. You see, those pine trees that Sinis liked to screw around with had a purpose; a rather deadly and horrific purpose.
In a specific area along the road to Athens there was a pine forest full of large full evergreen trees. It was within these quiet, shadowy woods that Sinis made his home, and it was there that he would lie in wait for any travelers who might be heading along the path.
One could guess correctly that Sinis was there to act as the welcoming committee; he’d use his brawn to bend two pine trees to the ground, pegging their tops so that they were held in place. Then, after he’d beaten and robbed his victims, he’d tie them to the trees; arms tied to one tree and legs tied to the other. Once that was accomplished, Sinis would maliciously cut the ropes holding both of the creaking, stressed trees down. With a loud, wet and rather bloody rip, one half of the victim would fly up with one tree in one direction and the other half would go up into the other. One could make a bad joke about split personalities here, but…
Pretty bad. There was a different version of that story where Sinish would simply ask for help bending the pine trees down, and then once he and his victim had done just that, Sinis would let go of the tree with a huge gut-laugh and watch in totally amusement as the person helping him got tossed and catapulted way up into the air. Not long after, he probably had a chuckle as what went up came straight down with a hearty and sickening thump. No matter which version of the story you jive with, you can’t deny that Sinis belongs in the Greek Mythological Psychopath Hall of Fame…or at least down in Tartarus with the rest of the truly horrendous and monstrous human beings who were evil simply to be evil.
Theseus, fresh off his last adventure of offing a similar not-right-in-the-head villain and serial killer named Procrustes, didn’t buy into Sinis’ ploy to launch him up into the air and promptly turned the tables on the messed-in-the-head weirdo.
Within minutes, Sinis was the one tied to a pine tree, and shotly thereafter, Theseus was the one waving “so long” as Sinis flew above the tree tops in a brief flight of fancy, only to smash his entire body and soul up against another tree some distance away. Lights out for the villain…permanently. Justice done, Theseus dusted off his hands and got ready to continue on to Athens when he discovered that there was a kind of reward for dealing the death blow to Sinis and ending his tree fetish; Sinis had a daughter named Perigune who absolutely HATED her father. Glad that Theseus had sent him packing to whatever fate awaited him in the underworld, Perigune decided to tag along with Theseus for a while.
Long story short, the two of them shared a little sweet romance along the way and before too long, she bore the hero a son named Melanippus. It was sweet while it lasted, but both of them realized they had other things to do and went their separate ways; Perigune married a king named Deioneus, the son of Aeolus, the god of the winds (not bad!) and Theseus went on to his destiny, killed the Minotaur and eventually landed the job of king of Athens (epic!). As for Sinis…well, no doubt he is still enjoying eternity down in Tartarus for his messed up antics after his bones were picked clean by the vultures. So goes life.
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