world's largest Atlas.


Atlas - Greek Mythology

When you look at an atlas, you can see the entire geographical world. But next time you need to look for a place on an atlas, you might remember that these tools get their name from the mythical Atlas, one of the firstborn sons of Earth.

Atlas sided with his brother, Cronus, in a war against the great god Zeus. For his punishment in siding against the god, Zeus sentenced him to a lifetime of carrying the weight of the heavens on his shoulders. This was to keep the heavens and earth apart from each other. The weight was placed on a pillar that Atlas was to hold on his shoulders.

Atlas was relieved of his duties when Heracles needed help obtaining the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. The apples belonged to the goddess Hera. They were a wedding present to her and so precious that she had nymphs to watch over them to ensure that they would remain safely in her possession. She also had a wall built around the apples and placed a dragon named Ladon on the outside for added protection. Ladon was a fierce dragon that had many heads and spoke many tongues.

Atlas was pleased to help Heracles obtain the apples as it meant that he would be temporarily free from holding the pillar of weight. He did ask that Heracles conquer Ladon before Atlas attempted to enter the garden. Heracles killed the dragon with a shot from an arrow and Atlas gave Heracles the pillar to hold the weight while he would be getting the apples. Atlas entered the garden and came back with the apples with very little problem but he did not want to be forced to take back the pillar of weight.

Atlas told Heracles that he would have to take over the responsibility of holding the weight of the heavens for an undetermined amount of time. Heracles said that he would but asked Atlas if he would mind holding it while he went to get a cushion for his shoulder. Atlas agreed and took the pillar back, not knowing that Heracles had only feigned agreement and that he had no intention of returning. Heracles did not return and Atlas was forced to carry out his punishment.

Atlas mythology.

 The myth of Atlas.

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