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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, 10:48:12 pm »

Later though, Atlas, this powerful ruler of the people of the Atlantes, was turned into a huge mountain, continuing to support on his head the northern pole or the axis of the sky.

This legend is the following:

Perseus, the mythical hero from Argos, the son of Jove and the nymph Danae, was sent by king Polydectes from the island of Seriphos to bring him the head of Gorgona Medusa, which had the magic power to turn mortals into stone. Perseus arrived to the sources of the river Okeanos (the cataracts of Istru), where the three legendary gorgons lived (Apollodorus, Bibl. II. 4.2.8; Hesiod, Theog. v. 274. 281; Preller, Gr. Myth. II, 1854, p.44), cut Medusa’s head, put it in his bag and went away. He stopped at king Atlas on his way back, in the country of the Hyperboreans, and asked for his hospitality for one night. But Atlas, remembering an old prediction that a son of Jove will steal his golden apples, told him harshly to be off immediately, as otherwise neither his false brave deeds, nor his father Jove, will protect him from his wrath.

Perseus took then out of the bag the ugly head of Medusa and Atlas, big as he was, was instantly transformed into a mountain, his head becoming the top of a high peak (Ovid, Metam. lib. IV. 627 seqq; Pindar, Pyth. X. 50), while his body an immense mountain range [2].


[2. A similar legend exists with the Romanian people: that the figure from “Omul” mountain represents a shepherd whom God punished for his lack of piety by changing him into a strong rock (Muller, Siebenburgische Sagen, p.174)].
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