/at"leuhs/, n., pl. Atlases for 2, 4.1. Class. Myth. a Titan, son of Iapetus and brother of Prometheus and Epimetheus, condemned to support the sky on his shoulders: identified by the ancients with the Atlas Mountains.2. a person who supports a heavy burden; a mainstay.3. Charles (Angelo Siciliano), 1894-1972, U.S. body-building advocate, born in Italy.4. a liquid-propellant booster rocket, originally developed as the first U.S. ICBM, used with Agena or Centaur upper stages to launch satellites into orbit around the earth and send probes to the moon and planets; also used to launch the Mercury spacecraft into orbit around the earth.
* * *In Greek mythology, the strong man who supported the weight of the heavens on his shoulders.He was the son of the Titan Iapetus and the nymph Clymene (or Asia) and the brother of Prometheus. According to Hesiod, Atlas was one of the Titans who waged war against Zeus, and as punishment he was condemned to hold aloft the heavens.
* * *in Greek mythology, son of the Titan Iapetus and the Oceanid Clymene (or Asia) and brother of Prometheus (creator of mankind). In Homer's Odyssey, Book I, Atlas seems to have been a marine creature who supported the pillars that held heaven and earth apart. These were thought to rest in the sea immediately beyond the most western horizon, but later the name of Atlas was transferred to a range of mountains in northwestern Africa. Atlas was subsequently represented as the king of that district, turned into a rocky mountain by the hero Perseus, who, to punish Atlas for his inhospitality, showed him the Gorgon's head, the sight of which turned men to stone. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Atlas was one of the Titans who took part in their war against Zeus, for which as a punishment he was condemned to hold aloft the heavens. In many works of art he was represented as carrying the heavens (in Classical art from the 6th century BC) or the celestial globe (in Hellenistic and Roman art).
* * *