Chapter 19: Atlas Pushes away the Heavens, and with Them, the God of the Heavens



Figure 213: Atlas takes his place in the Garden of the Hesperides

Above we see Atlas, the Hesperides, and Nyx. As Nyx departs the scene, she leaves behind her offspring, the Hesperides, always depicted in Greek art with the serpent-entwined tree. Next to them, we find Atlas, for according to Hesiod, Zeus himself has placed him there, standing “at the borders of the earth before the clear-voiced Hesperides.” The raking cornice represents the skyline or heaven. By lifting here, Atlas enables Zeus, the transfigured serpent, to stand at the apex of the triangle—the center of Greek religion.

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