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Atlas (mythology)

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In Greek Mythology, Atlas ("he who dares or suffers") was the son of the Titan Iapetus and the nymph Clymene, and brother of Prometheus. Father of the Hesperides, Maera, the Hyades, Calypso and the Pleiades. Because Atlas fought in the war between the Titans and the gods of Mount Olympus, Zeus decreed that, as punishment, he should forever bear the burden of carrying the heavens and the Earth upon his shoulders. Atlas was turned to stone by Perseus using Medusa's head in the place where the Atlas mountains now stand when he refused to give Perseus shelter. Also known as the king of Atlantis.

During the Titanomachy, Atlas fought on the side of the Titans. For this, Zeus punished him by making him hold the whole weight of sky on his shoulders forever.

His daughters with Hesperius were the Hesperides, beautiful nymphs who lived near where Atlas stood, and tended a beautiful garden with a tree that had golden apples. As part of his Twelve Labors, the hero Heracles tricked Atlas into retrieving some of the golden apples for him by offering to hold the heavens for a little while. Upon his return with the apples, Atlas decided not to take the heavens back from Heracles. Heracles tricked him again by agreeing to take his place if he would only take the sky again for a few minutes so Heracles could rearrange his cloak as padding on his shoulders. Atlas agreed and Heracles left him.

Hesperos was sometimes regarded as his son.

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