SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Atlas supporting the sky, 19th century artwork. Shown here standing on the globe of the Earth and supporting the starry sky on his shoulders, Atlas was a Titan described in Ancient Greek mythology. The Titans were powerful god-like beings who preceded the Olympian Gods and fought a long battle with them. When the Titans were defeated, Zeus, the King of the Gods, punished Atlas by condemning him to hold up the Sky for eternity. This prevented the Sky and Earth (also primordial beings in Greek mythology) from bearing more children. Atlas features in other Greek myths, such as the Labours of Hercules, and the Atlas mountains in Morocco are named after him. Artwork from Astra Castra (Hatton Turner, London, 1865).
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