THE ANCIENT MYTH OF ATLAS
THE LONGEST LIST OF THE LONGEST
STUFF AT THE LONGEST DOMAIN NAME AT LONG LAST
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.
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