The mythological figure Atlas was a Titan (a Giant). As punishment for his part in the battle against the gods he had to hold the heavens on his shoulders. Atlas stood near the garden of the Hesperides, his daughters. When the hero Heracles went there as one of his twelve labours to obtain the heavily guarded golden apples, he was helped by Atlas. Heracles temporarily took over Atlas’ burden so that he could fetch the apples. However, when Atlas refused to take back the heavens, Heracles tricked him by asking Atlas to hold the globe for a moment while he placed a cushion on his shoulders. Heracles then ran off with the apples.

Another story involving Atlas is when Perseus transformed the Titan into stone, the present Atlas Mountains. Perseus did this out of resentment for being suspected of having stolen the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides



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