So, yesterday, I posted one of the reader questions I had gotten, and wondered if any of you guys could help me answer it. The question came down to the following:

"I’ve been wondering if there are any similar stories out there; [other] people who tried to rebel against the Gods of their society and were either more-or-less successful, or harshly punished."

The ever wonderful Rob Buckley answered with a few wonderful examples, two of which had crossed my mind as well. I will get to those, but before we do, I am going to assume we are talking about real live people, and not mythology. The example of Moses came up, which threw me a little. If mythological examples are allowed, Sísyphos, comes to mind--along with Cassiopeia, Niobe, and Tantalos.

Rob mentioned Socrates, who was pre-emptively punished by humanity so he would not bring down society with his blasphemous speeches. The people were sure that the Gods would eventually take our Their revenge on them, if he was not stopped. It was not the only reason he was put to death, but it was one of them.

Stēsikhoros (Στησίχορος) was another example of Rob's that I had completely forgotten about. He was a lyrical poet, who lived around 640 – 555 BC. To quote Wikipedia:

"Helen of Troy's bad character was a common theme among poets such as Sappho and Alcaeus and, according to various ancient accounts, Stesichorus viewed her in the same light until she magically punished him with blindness for blaspheming her in one of his poems. According to a colourful account recorded by Pausanias, she later sent an explanation to Stesichorus via a man from Croton, who was on a pilgrimage to White Island in the Black Sea (near the mouth of the Blue Danube), and it was in response to this that Stesichorus composed the Palinode, absolving her of all blame for the Trojan War and thus restoring himself to full sight."

I was also reminded of the first man who slew an ox, an act commemorated during the Bouphónia. Various authors name various people to commit the first slaying; Porphyrios names Diomus, priest of Zeus Polieus; Theophrastos (371 – 287 BC), a student of Aristotle, names a man called 'Sopatros' as the culprit, a métiokos who occupied a farm in Attika; and Androtion, a Hellenic orator from around 350 BC names a man called Thaulon as the killer, although he offers no more details than his name. The myth remains largely the same, though; the man in question slays the ox, flees, and is pursued to stand trial--usually because a drought or famine plagued Athens afterwards and an oracle (usually the oracle at Delphi) decreed that the punishment would only be lifted once the culprit was brought to justice. In all versions, those who witness the murder of the ox eat of the ox's flesh, and otherwise perform tasks in its processing. In most versions, the ox's skin is filled with hay and put in front of the plough. In almost all versions, the axe is eventually blamed for the murder, and destroyed.

Rob's last example had occurred to me as well; the earthquake at Sparta in 464BC was put down to disrespect towards Poseidon's laws. Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, writes:

"As the Spartans paid no heed to their being suppliants, the wrath of Poseidon came upon them, and the god razed all their city to the ground. At this disaster all the serfs who were of Messenian origin seceded to Mount Ithome. Against them the Lacedaemonians, amongst other allies, called to their assistance Cimon the son of Miltiades, their patron in Athens, and an Athenian force. But when the Athenians arrived, they seem to have regarded them with suspicion that they were likely to promote revolution, and as a result of this suspicion to have soon dismissed them from Ithome." [4. 24. 6]

I'm not sure if it counts, but the story of Atlantis might also qualify, even though there is no one man or woman blamed for the event--not even a God, although Poseidon comes to mind? From Plato's Timaeus:

"...But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island." [24e - 25d]

For now, these are all the examples I could come up with--besides the entire Trojan war--so I hope these are what you were looking for, Anon. I'll keep my eyes open for other examples, and if my readers have any, I encourage them to share. Thank you for your question, and Rob, thank you for your answers!