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KION OURANOU. The Sky Column on Atlas Mountain

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Author Topic: KION OURANOU. The Sky Column on Atlas Mountain  (Read 885 times)
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« on: December 02, 2009, 10:47:38 pm »

The grammarian Apollodorus of Athens, who had lived around 145bc, had written an important work about the traditions and legends of the heroic times, which he had extracted from the cyclic poets, the ancient logographers and historians. In this work of his, of a great value for the history of ante-Homeric times, we find the following geographical data regarding the region over which the titan Atlas had once ruled: Eurystheus, the king of Mycenae, Apollodorus tells us, had asked Hercules to accomplish also an eleventh labor and to bring him the golden apples from the Hesperides. But these apples, writes Apollodorus, were not in Libya (or the lands of Africa), as some say, but at the Atlas Mountain in the country of the Hyperboreans (Bibl. Lib. II. 5. 11).

Jove, on the occasion of his wedding, had presented these apples to Juno, and they were guarded there by an immortal dragon, who had one hundred heads, born from the union of Echidna and Typhon, and this dragon used many and different kinds of voices. Hercules, traveling across Libya, reached the External Sea, from there he crossed with his ship to the facing continent, and went to the Caucasus mountain, where he killed with his arrows the eagle (also born from Echidna and Typhon), who picked at Prometheus’ liver. So he freed Prometheus from his chains, and Prometheus advised him that, once arrived at Atlas, in the country of the Hyperboreans, he was not to go in person for the apples, but to send Atlas to bring them, while he, Hercules, supported on his shoulders, in Atlas’ stead, the pole of the sky (Apollodorus, II. 5. 11; Cicero, De nat. deor. II. 41) [1].

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