Humanities › History & Culture Who Is Atlas, the Greco-Roman Titan? Share Flipboard Email Print Marc Jackson / Design Pics / Getty Images History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Mythology & Religion Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Rome American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated March 08, 2017 In Rockefeller Center, in New York City, there is a giant 2-ton statue of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders, made in 1936, by Lee Lawrie and Rene Chambellan. This art deco bronze shows him as he is known from Greek mythology. Atlas is known as the Titan giant whose job is to hold up the world (or heavens). He is not known for his brains, although he almost tricked Hercules into taking over the chore. There is a nearby statue of the Titan Prometheus. Occupation God Family of Atlas Atlas is the son of the Titans Iapetus and Clymene, two of the twelve Titans. In Roman mythology, he had a wife, the nymph Pleione, who bore the 7 Pleiades, Alkyone, Merope, Kelaino, Elektra, Sterope, Taygete, and Maia, and the Hyades, sisters of Hyas, named Phaesyla, Ambrosia, Coronis, Eudora, and Polyxo. Atlas also was sometimes named the father of the Hesperides (Hespere, Erytheis, and Aigle), whose mother was Hesperis. Nyx is another listed parent of the Hesperides. Atlas is a brother of Epimetheus, Prometheus, and Menetius. Atlas as King The career of Atlas included ruling as king of Arcadia. His successor was Deimas, the son of Dardanus of Troy. Atlas and Perseus Perseus asked Atlas for a place to stay, but he refused. In response, Perseus showed the titan the head of Medusa, which turned him to the stone that is now known as Mount Atlas. Titanomachy Since the Titan Cronus was too old, Atlas led the other Titans in their 10-year battle against Zeus, which is called the Titanomachy. After the gods won, Zeus singled Atlas out for punishment, by making him carry the heavens on his shoulders. Most of the Titans were confined to Tartarus. Atlas and Hercules Hercules was sent to get the apple of the Hesperides. Atlas agreed to get the apples if Hercules would hold the heavens for him. Atlas wanted to stick Hercules with the job, but Hercules tricked him into taking back the burden of carrying the heavens on his shoulders. Atlas Shrugged Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957. The title refers to a gesture the Titan Atlas might make were he to try to rid himself of the burden of holding up the heavens.