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Compiled By John Hurd

Key Points About Atlas:
~ He was born from Lapetus (a Titan) and Asia
~ Atlas led the Titans in a war against Zeus and the Olympians
~ Know as a god of cunning and trickery
~ The Titans lost the war
~ Zeus punished Atlas by separating the earth from the place of the gods

~ Atlas is not holding the earth
~ Atlas is commonly shown in sculptures (as seen on the right)
~ He stole golden apples from Hera to help Hercules

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external image hercules_3.jpgAtlas and Hercules

Summarized By John Hurd

Although Atlas's life seemed to end with his punishment, Atlas had a famous run-in with a famous hero named Hercules...
As you have learned or will learn, Hercules was given twelve tasks to complete. One of the tasks was to get the golden apples of Hera.
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The apples were said to be a source of immortality but were guarded by the Herserides (three nymphs) and a many headed dragon called "Landon." Even Hercules was hesitant to go into the garden so instead of going into to get an apple himself, Hercules asked a god named "Atlas" to get an apple for him. The other gods knew Atlas for his trickery and cunning so he would be the perfect person to sneak past Landon.

The only problem was that Atlas had earlier been punished with the job of holding the earth and sky apart. Atlas was holding a wall that held the mortals apart from the gods. This wall was much like the Berlin Wall that separated two different groups of people. Therefore, Hercules offered to hold the wall if Atlas would get an apple for Hercules. Atlas, who was eager for a break from his eternal punishment, was eager to let Hercules take his burden. Hercules held the earth and sky apart on his shoulders while Atlas went off to get an apple.
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Atlas returned with an apple, but he had apparently been enjoying his freedom so much that he refused to take his burden back from Hercules. Hercules was not enjoying the burden of seperating the earth and sky apart and was not happy about being double-crossed. Hercules needed a way out, so he pretended to be fine with taking Atlas's burden. Hercules said he would take the burden only if he could go and make a pillow to cushion to weight. Atlas agreed to take the earth and sky back while Hercules made his pillow. As expected, Hercules left with the golden apple and never returned, leaving Atlas alone to bear his punishment.

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