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Atlas (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Atlas ("he who dares or suffers") was the son of the Titan Iapetus and the nymph Clymene, and brother of Prometheus. He was the father of the Hesperides, Maera, the Hyades, Calypso and the Pleiades. Because Atlas fought in the war between the Titans and the gods of Mount Olympus, Zeus punished him with the burden of carrying the heavens and Earth upon his shoulders. Atlas was turned to stone by Perseus using Medusa's head in the place where the Atlas mountains now stand, after he refused to give Perseus shelter. He is also known as the king of Atlantis.

As part of his Twelve Labors, the hero Heracles tricked Atlas into retrieving some of the golden apples of the Hesperides for him by offering to hold the heavens for a little while. Upon his return with the apples, Atlas decided not to take the heavens back from Heracles. Heracles tricked him again by agreeing to take his place if he would only take the sky again for a few minutes so Hercules could rearrange his cloak as padding on his shoulders. Atlas agreed and Hercules left.