There are differing stories about what Tantalus' crime was. One account says that he tried to share the divine ambrosia with other mortals, and thus aroused the ire of the gods. A more famous account says that he invited the gods to a banquet and served them the dismembered body of his own son, Pelops; when the gods discovered the trick, they punished Tantalus and restored Pelops to life, replacing with ivory a part of the shoulder which had been eaten by Demeter.
Tantalus' family was an ill-fated one. His daughter, Niobe, lost all her children and was turned to stone. His son, Pelops, was murdered, cooked, and restored to life. His grandsons, Atreus and Thyestes, struggled for power, and Atreus committed a variation of Tantalus' cannabilistic trick with Thyestes' children. His great-grandson, Agamemnon, was murdered by another great-grandson, Aegisthus, who was in turn killed by a great-great-grandson, Orestes.