Titan of endurance, strength, and astronomy
|Abode||Western edge of Gaia (the Earth)|
In Greek mythology, Atlas ( // ; Greek : Ἄτλας, Átlas) was a titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens for eternity after the Titanomachy. Atlas also plays a role in the myths of two of the greatest Greek heroes: Heracles (Hercules in Roman mythology) and Perseus. According to the ancient Greek poet Hesiod, Atlas stood at the ends of the earth in extreme west. Later, he became commonly identified with the Atlas Mountains in northwest Africa and was said to be the first King of Mauretania. Atlas was said to have been skilled in philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy. In antiquity, he was credited with inventing the first celestial sphere. In some texts, he is even credited with the invention of astronomy itself.
Atlas was the son of the Titan Iapetus and the Oceanid Asiaor Clymene. He was a brother of Epimetheus and Prometheus. He had many children, mostly daughters, the Hesperides, the Hyades, the Pleiades, and the nymph Calypso who lived on the island Ogygia.
The term Atlas has been used to describe a collection of maps since the 16th century when Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his work in honor of the mythological Titan.
The "Atlantic Ocean" is derived from "Sea of Atlas". In Ancient Greek, Plato's Timaeus dialogue also mentions "Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος" (English:"Atlantis nisos") meaning "Atlas's Island", giving rise to the English derivative: Atlantis (Atlantean / of Atlas).
The etymology of the name Atlas is uncertain. Virgil took pleasure in translating etymologies of Greek names by combining them with adjectives that explained them: for Atlas his adjective is durus, "hard, enduring",which suggested to George Doig that Virgil was aware of the Greek τλῆναι "to endure"; Doig offers the further possibility that Virgil was aware of Strabo's remark that the native North African name for this mountain was Douris. Since the Atlas mountains rise in the region inhabited by Berbers, it has been suggested that the name might be taken from one of the Berber, specifically ádrār 'mountain'.
Traditionally historical linguists etymologize the Ancient Greek word Ἄτλας (genitive: Ἄτλαντος) as comprised from copulative α- and the Proto-Indo-European root *telh₂- 'to uphold, support' (whence also τλῆναι), and which was later reshaped to an nt-stem.However, Robert Beekes argues that it cannot be expected that this ancient Titan carries an Indo-European name, and that the word is of Pre-Greek origin, and such words often end in -ant.
Atlas and his brother Menoetius sided with the Titans in their war against the Olympians, the Titanomachy. When the Titans were defeated, many of them (including Menoetius) were confined to Tartarus, but Zeus condemned Atlas to stand at the western edge of Gaia (the Earth) and hold up the sky on his shoulders.Thus, he was Atlas Telamon, "enduring Atlas," and became a doublet of Coeus, the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve.
A common misconception today is that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders, but Classical art shows Atlas holding the celestial spheres, not the terrestrial globe; the solidity of the marble globe borne by the renowned Farnese Atlas may have aided the conflation, reinforced in the 16th century by the developing usage of atlas to describe a corpus of terrestrial maps.
The Greek poet Polyidus c. 398 BCtells a tale of Atlas, then a shepherd, encountering Perseus who turned him to stone. Ovid later gives a more detailed account of the incident, combining it with the myth of Heracles. In this account Atlas is not a shepherd but a King. According to Ovid, Perseus arrives in Atlas' Kingdom and asks for shelter, declaring he is a son of Zeus. Atlas, fearful of a prophecy which warned of a son of Zeus stealing his golden apples from his orchard, refuses Perseus hospitality. In this account, Atlas is turned not just into stone by Perseus, but an entire mountain range: Atlas' head the peak, his shoulders ridges and his hair woods. The prophecy did not relate to Perseus stealing the golden apples but Heracles, another son of Zeus, and Perseus' great-grandson.
One of the Twelve Labours of the hero Heracles was to fetch some of the golden apples which grow in Hera's garden, tended by Atlas' reputed daughters, the Hesperides which were also called the Atlantides, and guarded by the dragon Ladon. Heracles went to Atlas and offered to hold up the heavens while Atlas got the apples from his daughters.
Upon his return with the apples, however, Atlas attempted to trick Heracles into carrying the sky permanently by offering to deliver the apples himself, as anyone who purposely took the burden must carry it forever, or until someone else took it away. Heracles, suspecting Atlas did not intend to return, pretended to agree to Atlas' offer, asking only that Atlas take the sky again for a few minutes so Heracles could rearrange his cloak as padding on his shoulders. When Atlas set down the apples and took the heavens upon his shoulders again, Heracles took the apples and ran away.
In some versions,Heracles instead built the two great Pillars of Hercules to hold the sky away from the earth, liberating Atlas much as he liberated Prometheus.
According to Plato, the first king of Atlantis was also named Atlas, but that Atlas was a son of Poseidon and the mortal woman Cleito.The works of Eusebius and Diodorus also give an Atlantean account of Atlas. In these accounts, Atlas' father was Uranus and his mother was Gaia. His grandfather was Elium "King of Phoenicia" who lived in Byblos with his wife Beruth. Atlas was raised by his sister, Basilia.
Atlas was also a legendary king of Mauretania, the land of the Mauri in antiquity roughly corresponding with modern Maghreb. In the 16th century Gerardus Mercator put together the first collection of maps to be called an "Atlas" and devoted his book to the "King of Mauretania".
Atlas became associated with Northwest Africa over time. He had been connected with the Hesperides, "Nymphs" which guarded the golden apples, and Gorgons both of which lived beyond Ocean in the extreme west of the world since Hesiod's Theogony.Diodorus and Palaephatus mention that the Gorgons lived in the Gorgades, islands in the Aethiopian Sea. The main island was called Cerna and modern day arguments have been advanced that these islands may correspond to Cape Verde due to Phoenician exploration. The Northwest Africa region emerged as the canonical home of the King via separate sources. In particular, according to Ovid, after Perseus turns Atlas into a mountain range, he flies over Aethiopia, the blood of Medusa's head giving rise to Libyan snakes. By the time of the Roman Empire the habit of associating Atlas' home to a chain of mountains, the Atlas mountains, which were near Mauretania and Numidia, was firmly entrenched.
The identifying name Aril is inscribed on two 5th-century BC Etruscan bronze items: a mirror from Vulci and a ring from an unknown site.Both objects depict the encounter with Atlas of Hercle—the Etruscan Heracles—identified by the inscription; they represent rare instances where a figure from Greek mythology was imported into Etruscan mythology, but the name was not. The Etruscan name Aril is etymologically independent.
According to Robert Graves' The Greek Myths , the Pelasgians believed the creator goddess Eurynome assigned Atlas and Phoebe to govern the moon.
Sources describe Atlas as the father, by different goddesses, of numerous children, mostly daughters. Some of these are assigned conflicting or overlapping identities or parentage in different sources.
Hyginus emphasises the primordial nature of Atlas by making him the son of Aether and Gaia.
Atlas' best-known cultural association is in cartography. The first publisher to associate the Titan Atlas with a group of maps was the print-seller Antonio Lafreri, on the engraved title-page he applied to his ad hoc assemblages of maps, Tavole Moderne Di Geografia De La Maggior Parte Del Mondo Di Diversi Autori (1572);however, he did not use the word "Atlas" in the title of his work, an innovation of Gerardus Mercator, who dedicated his "atlas" specifically to honour the Titan, Atlas, King of Mauretania, a learned philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer.
In psychology, Atlas is used metaphorically to describe the personality of someone whose childhood was characterized by excessive responsibilities.
In Greek mythology, Cerberus, often referred to as the hound of Hades, is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. Cerberus was the offspring of the monsters Echidna and Typhon, and is usually described as having three heads, a serpent for a tail, and snakes protruding from multiple parts of his body. Cerberus is primarily known for his capture by Heracles, one of Heracles' twelve labours.
In Greek mythology, Eos is a Titaness and the goddess of the dawn, who rose each morning from her home at the edge of the Oceanus.
In Greek mythology, the Titans were the pre-Olympian gods. According to the Theogony of Hesiod, they were the twelve children of the primordial parents Uranus (Sky) and his mother, Gaia (Earth), with six male Titans: Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus, and six female Titans, called the Titanides : Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. Cronus mated with his older sister Rhea and together they became the parents of the first generation of Olympians: Zeus and his five siblings Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. Descendants of the Titans are sometimes also called Titans.
In Greek mythology, Oceanus was the Titan son of Uranus and Gaia, the husband of his sister the Titan Tethys, and the father of the river gods and the Oceanids, as well as being the great river which encircled the entire world.
Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. "Mnemosyne" is derived from the same source as the word mnemonic, that being the Greek word mnēmē, which means "remembrance, memory".
In Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, the Cyclopes are giant one-eyed creatures. Three groups of Cyclopes can be distinguished. In Hesiod's Theogony, they are the brothers: Brontes, Steropes, and Arges, who provided Zeus with his weapon the thunderbolt. In Homer's Odyssey, they are an uncivilized group of shepherds, the brethren of Polyphemus encountered by Odysseus. Cyclopes were also famous as the builders of the Cyclopean walls of Mycenae and Tiryns.
In Greek mythology, the Hesperides are the nymphs of evening and golden light of sunsets, who were the "Daughters of the Evening" or "Nymphs of the West". They were also called the Atlantides (Ἀτλαντίδων) from their reputed father, the Titan Atlas.
Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as "[the Lady] of good counsel", and is the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom. Her symbols are the Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic. Themis means "divine law" rather than human ordinance, literally "that which is put in place", from the Greek verb títhēmi (τίθημι), meaning "to put".
In Greek mythology, Phorcys or Phorcus is a primordial sea god, generally cited as the son of Pontus and Gaia (Earth). According to the Orphic hymns, Phorcys, Cronus and Rhea were the eldest offspring of Oceanus and Tethys. Classical scholar Karl Kerenyi conflated Phorcys with the similar sea gods Nereus and Proteus. His wife was Ceto, and he is most notable in myth for fathering by Ceto a host of monstrous children. In extant Hellenistic-Roman mosaics, Phorcys was depicted as a fish-tailed merman with crab-claw forelegs and red, spiky skin.
In Greek mythology, Coeus was one of the Titans, the giant sons and daughters of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth). His equivalent in Latin poetry—though he scarcely makes an appearance in Roman mythology—was Polus, the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve.
In Greek mythology, Echidna was a monster, half-woman and half-snake, who lived alone in a cave. She was the mate of the fearsome monster Typhon and was the mother of monsters, including many of the most famous monsters of Greek myth.
Eurytion or Eurythion (Εὐρυθίων) was a name attributed to several individuals in Greek mythology:
In Greek mythology, Thaumas was a sea god, son of Pontus and Gaia, and the full brother of Nereus, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.
The Lernaean Hydra or Hydra of Lerna, more often known simply as the Hydra, is a serpentine water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, which was also the site of the myth of the Danaïdes. Lerna was reputed to be an entrance to the Underworld, and archaeology has established it as a sacred site older than Mycenaean Argos. In the canonical Hydra myth, the monster is killed by Heracles (Hercules) as the second of his Twelve Labors.
In Greek mythology, Tethys was a Titan daughter of Uranus and Gaia, sister and wife of the Titan Oceanus, mother of the river gods and the Oceanids. Tethys had no active role in Greek mythology and no established cults.
In Greek mythology, Iapetus was a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia and father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius. He was also called the father of Buphagus and Anchiale in other sources.
Calypso was a nymph in Greek mythology, who lived on the island of Ogygia, where, according to the Odyssey, she detained Odysseus for seven years.
Ladon is a monster in Greek mythology.
In Greek mythology, Pallas was one of the Titans. According to Hesiod, he was the son of Crius and Eurybia, the brother of Astraeus and Perses, the husband of Styx, and the father of Zelus, Nike ("Victory"), Kratos, and Bia. Hyginus says that Pallas, whom he calls "the giant", also fathered with Styx: Scylla, Fontes ("Fountains") and Lacus ("Lakes"). Pallas was sometimes regarded as the Titan god of warcraft and of the springtime campaign season.
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