Greek mythology: the myth of Atlas

Greek mythology: the myth of Atlas


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As revealed by the different writings of Homer and Hesiod with his Theogony, we were able to know many of the characteristics of one of the most important titans in history, Atlas, who was able to hold the Earth separated from the heavens in his hands and shoulders.

It is also known as Atlante, a titan condemned by Zeus to keep earth from heaven for all eternity.

Atlante was the son of the nymph Climene and Iapetus, as well as brother of Epimetheus, Menecius and Prometheus, although other versions assure that he was the son of Gea Y Uranus.

Atlas reigned in Arcadia, in what is now northwestern Africa, a place where one of the great ancient treasures for the Greeks was found, the divine tree, a tree with golden leaves and fruits, the same ones that Gaea gave to Zeus in his wedding with the god Hera and that we have been able to see in countless pictorial representations.

During his youth, Atlas married Hesperis, with whom he had six daughters, who over time were popularly known as the Hesperides or Atlantis, whose main mission was to care for and maintain the garden where the divine tree of fruits and golden leaves was located.

Legend says Perseus visited the kingdom of Atlas after killing Medusa the GorgonOnce there, he presented himself as the son of Zeus, being able to hospitality and wanting to stop on his return home.

At that moment, Atlas recalled that there was a prophecy that revealed that one of Zeus's sons would steal his wealth, including the garden tree.

Atlas denied him hospitality and in the face of such refusal, Perseus pulled out Medusa's head and placed it in front of the titan's eyes Atlas, automatically turning it into a stone of enormous dimensions that today we know as Atlas Mountains, in Morocco mainly.

Another of the many versions reveals that It was Heracles (Hercules) who deceived Atlas to retrieve some of the golden apples from the garden of the divine tree as part of his twelve jobs.

Really, it does not matter which of these two or of the many other stories about the Atlas myth is true, what is certain is that it has a great presence even today, and in different countries.

For example, in Libya it is said that he was a scholar of mathematics and philosophy as well as a brilliant astrologer, who built the first celestial globe and discovered the sphericity of stars.

Either way, Atlas is still one of the great characters of greek mythology.

Image: Shutterstock

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