ATLAS was the Titan god who bore the sky aloft. He personified the quality of endurance (atlaô).
Atlas was a leader of the Titanes (Titans) in their war against Zeus and after their defeat he was condemned to carry the heavens upon his shoulders. According to others he was instead (or later) appointed guardian of the pillars which held the earth and sky asunder. Atlas was also the god who instructed mankind in the art of astronomy, a tool which was used by sailors in navigation and farmers in measuring the seasons. These roles were often combined and Atlas becomes the god who turns the heaven on their axis, causing the stars to revolve.
Herakles (Heracles) encountered the Titan during his quest for the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. He agreed to take the heavens upon his shoulders while Atlas fetched the apples. The hero also slew the Hesperian Drakon (Hesperian Dragon), which in vase painting appears as the Titan's tormentor, and built two great pillars at the ends of the earth, perhaps to relieve the Titan of his labour.
In a late myth, Atlas was transformed into the stony Atlas mountain by Perseus using the Gorgon's head. The Titan was also the constellation Kneeler.