Study Guide

Atlas

  • Profile

    Atlas is the giant god who holds the entire sky on his back. No big deal. This guy is part of the second generation of Titans, the gods that ruled before the Olympians. Here's how things went down for him: When Zeus led a rebellion against his father Kronos, the king of the Titans, Atlas stuck with Kronos and did his best to help keep the upstart Olympians in their place. This famous conflict, known as the War of the Titans, didn't work out so well for Kronos, Atlas, and their buddies. Zeus and the Olympians ended up kicking some titanic booty, and most of the Titans were thrown into the black pit of Tartarus. But Atlas, lucky Titan that he is, got an extra-special punishment. And let's just say he has had a weight on his shoulders ever since.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Atlas

    Nickname

    He-Man, The Mighty A

    Sex

    Male (and manly male at that)

    Current city

    The western edge of the world

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Sky Holder

    General Duties:

    Holding up the sky on my back. NBD.

    Education

    Kronos' School for Giants
    Self-taught astronomer

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Kronos for king

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Iapetos and Klymene (aka Asia)

    Children

    The Pleiades (nymphs)
    The Hyades (also nymphs)
    Hyas
    Calypso
    Maera
    Dione
    The Hesperides (more nymphs)

    Friends

    Kronos
    Prometheus
    Epimetheus
    Iapetos

    Enemies

    Zeus
    Heracles
    Perseus

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Pleione (aka Aethra), Fling with Hesperis

    Favorites

    Quotations

    "Life's heaviest burden is to have nothing to carry."
    – Anonymous

    "When it is darkest, men see the stars."
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "The bluebird carries the sky on its back."
    – Henry David Thoreau

    "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking in the stars."
    – Oscar Wilde

    "The sky isn't falling."
    – Thomas Leonard

    Books

    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    The Metamorphoses by Ovid
    The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
    "I wandered lonely as a Cloud (Daffodils)" by William Wordsworth
    Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
    The Oxford Atlas of the World
    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost
    Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
    "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman

    Music

    Beast of Burden by The Rolling Stones
    Fixed by Stars
    Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
    Terra Incognita by Atlas Sound
    Atlas by Battles
    Down by Jay Sean
    Stars by Hum
    Double Rainbow Song
    Yellow by Coldplay
    What a Wonderful World performed by Louis Armstrong (though I'm not sure I buy it)

    Movies

    Atlas Shrugged
    Star Wars
    300
    Cloud Atlas
    Titanic
    Chicken Little
    The Last Starfighter
    Immortals
    Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops
    The Gods Must Be Crazy

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Body Building
    Professional Wrestling
    Telescopes
    Tug of War
    Star Trek Conventions

    Interests

    Astronomy
    Astrology

    Groups

    Stargazers
    Shoegazers
    Hard-Core Weightlifters
    Map Lovers

    • Spotter's Guide

      Atlas won't be too hard to spot: he'll be the one holding the sky on his back. You won't find him up on Olympus, though. To talk to him, you have to head out to the western edge of the world... hmmm, or was it the Atlas Mountains? Anyway, he's definitely an interesting person to talk to: he's been holding up the sky on his massively muscled shoulders ever since Zeus put the smack down on him and the other Titans way back in the day. Atlas can be kind of grumpy sometimes, which is pretty understandable considering the fact that he's got the entire cosmos pressing down on his back. Still, he loves having visitors, and is always down to chat. After all, what else does he have to do?

      Oh, one other thing: because the ancients thought of the sky as a celestial sphere, Atlas is often shown holding what looks like a globe on his back. This has led a lot of people to think that he holds up the earth instead of the sky. But don't be fooled—you're looking for sky guy.

      Sex: Male
      Age: Middle-aged
      Build: Majorly—and we mean majorly—built
      Complexion: Tan
      Hair Color: Brown
      Facial Hair: Beard
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: None
      Clothing: Not a lot, to be honest
      Armor: None
      Type of Weapon: Bare hands (and shoulders)

      Typical Companions:

      The Hesperides
      The sky

      Known Hangouts:

      The western edge of the world
      The Atlas mountains

    • Sightings

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Metamorphoses by Ovid

      Ovid can't seem to get his story straight: first he says that Atlas was turned into stone by Perseus, but then he says that Atlas has a conflict with Perseus' great grandson, Heracles. Hmmm, something doesn't line up there.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto

      This subversively funny Renaissance author turns Atlas into a mortal (be it, an enchanted one) in his epic romance poem. What do you think? How would Atlas fare as a mortal?

      Dec 20, 1968

      Hercules in New York

      Back in his early 20s, Arnold Schwarzenegger took a turn as Hercules in this must-see (if only for the high levels of ridiculousness) action comedy.

      Dec 20, 1990

      Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths

      Atlas makes an appearance in the Muppet master's version of the tale of Perseus.

      Dec 20, 1999

      Hercules: the Legendary Journeys

      Our unlucky Titan friend flexes his muscles quite a bit in this 90s-style TV series, which inspired the famous spin-off, Xena: Warrior Princess. Making TV history one god at a time.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan's Curse

      In this installation of the Percy Jackson series, Atlas is the bad guy. Believe us, you don't want to mess with him.

      Dec 20, 2019

      God of War II

      This video game veers away from Greek mythology by showing Atlas imprisoned in Tartarus where he's forced to hold up the earth instead of the sky. We guess accuracy isn't their main goal.