Atlas The Bearer of the Heavens and Mother Earth

In West Yorkshire Uk The St Pauls St Leeds building has a sculpture of Atlas holding up the earth repenting his sins against Zeus. To me this picture makes me think of Christ for he died for our sins and Atlas is holding us up on his shoulders for some thing he did but Christ Died for us for what we have done it is similar really.

There are many different stories that tells about Atlas but this one is most accurate from what I can find it comes from the first stories that told of Atlas and how he became the bearer of the heavens and earth.

Atlas was son of the first generations of the Ancient Greek Gods which were the Titans.

Atlas is one of the most well known Titans for many reasons. One is the war that lasted for tens years when he got most of the Titans and many of the gods and goddess to rebel against Zeus. All of the Titans were punished in some fashionable manner that Zeus thought fit the crime but he singled out Atlas and sentenced him to the most terrible punishment he could think of and that was, that he must be the bearer of all of the Heavens for every lasting of time.

Hercules trading places with Atlas for a brief time.
Hercules trading places with Atlas for a brief time.

Atlas was also the one that gave mankind the tool of navigation which help us in knowing which direction to go to get to a certain place as well as being able to know when each season and what season was and is upon us which helped us to be able to grow crops and plan things in certain seasons.

Atlas is the one who turns the heavens upon their axis making the stars to revolve in a certain order and direction.

Atlas was also a part of the 12 labors of Hercules.
Hercules had a task to bring golden apples from Pleiades and asked Atlas to help him with this task for Atlas was the only one who knew where to find the golden apples. Atlas told him where he could get the golden apples but that they would not give them to him for they could only give them to their father.

Atlas did not want to do this task but then atlas thought of a plan and that he would get a rest break from holding the heavens so after a long pleading went down with Hercules asking Atlas to help him get the golden apples Atlas agreed to do so.

But He could not leave his post in holding the heavens so Atlas came up with the plan of asking Hercules to hold up the heavens while he went to find his daughters who had the golden apples. Hercules did so and Atlas returned after many moons had passed with the golden apples but he did not want to take the heavens back onto his shoulders again for he enjoyed to much of being free of the burden. Thinking of how he would get out of this never to hold the heavens up again he told Hercules that he would take the golden apples to Eurystheus himself for Hercules. And was going to leave him with the heavens on his shoulders forever. So Hercules said ok, he understood that and agreed to keep holding up the heavens but asked Atlas if he could take it for just a moment while Hercules shifted himself in a better way to be able to hold it better as well to get some kind of padding for his shoulders.

Atlas was kinda dense and believed Hercules and finally Atlas agreed after a while and as he took it back on his shoulders again Hercules left with the Golden apples. Leaving Atlas there once again holding the heavens. Atlas thought that he could trick Hercules into taking his burden but Hercules tricked him seeing what Atlas was doing to him. So Atlas got a break but was then tricked back into taking it again.

In return for the Titans help Hercules built two great pillars on each side of the heavens and killed the Hesperian Drakon with a swift and accurate shot from his bow and his arrows which was Atlas tormentor while he held the heavens. So Hercules made his job some what easier. The pillars were placed in such of a way the Zeus could not see them and did not know of them. Atlas was able to move around when ever he wanted to but always had to stay in the same place as not to make Zeus wounder what was going on. Atlas was grateful what the hero had done for him.

At some point in the Roman Greek Myths there are two accounts that claims that Atlas was turned to stoned. One account is that he Atlas himself had the head of Medusa in a sack (unsure on how he came to posses the head) and took it out and by accident he looked upon it and was turned to stone still holding up the heavens as a stone Titan never to move again.

The other account is that Perseus ran to Atlas and asked for shelter. When he was refused by Atlas due to the fact it was foretold by goddess Themis that a son of Zeus would come and steal the golden apples from his garden and therefore he wanted nothing to do with any son of Zeus. Perseus took out the head of Medusa and turned him to stone leaving him as a mountain to hold the heavens and stars calling him Mount Atlas.

Atlas did not know that Hercules was the son of Zeus and in away he did take the Apples from Atlas garden but conned Atlas into doing it himself.

The Very first legend of Atlas is that Hercules did build the pillars for Atlas to have some help with his burden as well as killing the vigilant dragon, Ladon with one single arrow across the lands.

How the stories of our Gods and Goddess that we know of came of even though there are so many of them the stories varies but yet has the same meaning and the same out come. Thanks to Science we can date the writings of the first ones that were told to us but we know not where they really came from was there really some thing to all of these stories or just great story tellers.

I think not, I think that due to the fact the most well known book of all times The Bible IT as well speaks of the the Greek names that we know of today. As well as tells many of the stories that we know of from the Greek history and the Norse myth. To much proof that there is some truth to this but we may not know what the truth is for most of the words we know today and the words that were used yesterday means a different thing.

The very last thought on Atlas is this. Maybe he was not what we know of him maybe he was noting more then someone that knew of the heavens and knew how to read the stars. It appears in some texts that Hercules had helped Atlas in rescuing his daughters that were stolen by pirates. In return for him saving his seven daughters he taught Hercules the ways of the sky and astronomy.
Could this maybe at that time make Atlas the bearer of the earth?

Some of the first maps( atlas's) there were made.

Perhaps bearer meant Knowledgeable just a thought there.

The Atlantic Ocean is named after Atlas in his Honor as well when the first maps were made in the 1500’s were called an atlas for it showed all of the waters and land and held all of the locations in the earth. Because Atlas knows every road water way and every part of the world and the heavens and stars.


Written by Tasha Slone all rights reserved.

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