Posts Tagged ‘Iapetus’

atlas

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“Atlas holding up a celestial map”. Sculpture by Artus Quellinus. (17th century). Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

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Atlas (which means ‘very enduring’), was one of the Titans. He was son of  Iapetus (a Titan, son of Uranus and Gaia), and the Oceanid Clymene.

Atlas´ brothers were Prometheus (meaning ‘forethought’, the Titan who gave the human race the gift of fire and the skill of metalwork), Epimetheus (meaning ‘afterthought’. He was Pandora´s husband) and Menoetius (meaning “doomed might”).

Atlas was married to his sister, Phoebe (Titan and Goddess of Prophecy). 

He had numerous children, including  the Pleiades (the stars that announced good spring weather), the Hesperides (the maidens who guarded a tree bearing golden apples), the Hyades, (the stars that announced the rainy season), Hyas (Brother of the Hyades, and spirit of seasonal rains), the nymph Calypso, Dione (Goddess of the Oak and the personification of a more ancient Mother Goddess, and presumably, Aphrodite´s mother) and Maera

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During the Titanomachy, the War between the Titans and  the Olympian gods for control of the heavens, Atlas and his brother Menoetius sided with the Titans, while Prometheus and Epimetheus helped the Olympian gods.

Atlas was the leader in the batttle; however, being on the losing side, Zeus condemned him to eternally stand on the western side of Gaia (the earth) holding Uranus (the sky) on his shoulders.

Homer describes Atlas in his “Odyssey” as ‘deadly-minded’ and as holding the pillars which hold the heavens and earth apart.

Hesiod  in his “Theogony” also describes Atlas as holding up the heavens and locates him in the land of the Hesperides (female deities famed for their singing), which was far to the west, at the edge of the world.

Later tradition, including Herodotus, associates the god with the Atlas Mountains where the Titan was transformed from a shepherd into a huge rock mountain by Perseus (who had behead Medusa)using the head of the Gorgon Medusa with her deadly stare. (Note: the Gorgon Medusa was one of three ugly monsters who had snakes for hair, staring eyes, and huge wings).

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On the Left:

On the Left: “Medusa”, by Carvaggio (1595). On the Right: Statue of Perseus, holding Medusa´s head. Piazza della Signoria, Florence. Italy.

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Both sides of The Titan. NYC, St. Patrick’s Cathedral/Rockefeller Center.

Both sides of The Titan. NYC, St. Patrick’s Cathedral/Rockefeller Center.

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Atlas was considered a source of great wisdom and founder of astronomy, and, according to Plato, in his dialogue “Critias”, he was the original king of Atlantis.

Atlas had been required to fetch the golden apples from the fabled gardens of the Hesperides which were sacred to Zeus´wife, Hera, and guarded by the fearsome hundred-headed dragon Ladon.  

Following the advice of Prometheus, Heracles (the grandson of Perseus) asked Atlas to get him the apples because he was the father of the Hesperides, who guarded the Golden Apples´Garden…

He was also requested to take the world onto his shoulders for a while, with the help of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom.

But, Hercules tricked Atlas into taking the load back by asking Atlas to hold it while he shifted the load.

Hercules then took the apples and Atlas again shouldered the weight of the heavens.

Because the place where Atlas stood to perform his task was the westernmost end of the world known to the ancient Greeks, the ocean near him was called the Atlantic, meaning the “Sea of Atlas” in his honor.

Atlas’ best-known cultural association is in cartography / maps. The first publisher to associate the Titan Atlas with a group of maps was Antonio Lafreri, on an engraved title-page in 1572. However, he did not use the word “atlas” in the title of his work. The mapmaker Gerardus Mercator was the first to put a picture of Atlas holding up the world – not the heavens – on the title page of his book.

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On the Left: Atlas bears the world and the cosmos on his shoulders - from a 16th century English woodcut. on The Right: Drawing by Danckerts, Justus. Atlas hold up the world on his back.

On the Left: Atlas bears the world and the cosmos on his shoulders – from a 16th century English woodcut. On The Right: Atlas holding up the world on his back. Drawing by Danckerts, Justus.

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“Atlas turned to stone” (The Perseus´Series), by Edward Burne Jones (1878).

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►Gallery: Atlas:

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►Links Post
http://atlascider.com/atlasmythology.html
http://www.greekmythology.com/Titans/Atlas/atlas.html
https://mitologiahelenica.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/perseu-e-atlas/
http://www.mapforum.com/03/lafrscho.htm
http://www.ancient.eu/Atlas/

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atlaspoem

I want to be your Atlas, so I can
chisel away at “alas,” and grant you
relief from worries of the past.

I want to create a globe out
of those woes
to carry on my shoulders—
just for a moment.

Just so you can exhale the words:

“At last”.

© 2015 – Eva PoeteX

Originally published on Eva PoeteX.-

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About Eva Xanthopoulos: She is a Greco-American Artist and Mystic Poet. She is also a  Supporter of various causes and Promoter of artists worldwide.

Learn More about Eva here 

Check out her Poetry blog!. Also make sure to follow Eva on Twitter and  Facebook.

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Eva Poetex.

Eva Xanthopoulos AKA Eva Poetex.

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