Daughters of the Greek Titan Atlas

Daughters of Atlas

Daughters of Atlas

According to the myth, Greek Titan Atlas fathered a number of children with his spouse, a nymph called Pleione. In the article below, World History Edu takes a look at the sons and daughters of Atlas.

The Pleiades

The Pleiades in Greek mythology

The Pleiades: The Seven Daughters of Atlas. Image: The Pleiades by American painter Elihu Vedder

According to the myths, the Pleiades are seven sister-nymphs. They are largely seen as the daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid nymph Pleione. The latter was said to be the daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.

The seven Pleiades were: Maia, Electra, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope, and Merope. The eldest, Maia, was believed to the mother of Hermes by Zeus.

In some accounts, however, the Pleiades are the daughters of Atlas and Aethra. The latter, an Oceanid, was one of the 3,000 daughters of Oceanus and Tethys.

Believed to have been on born on Mount Cyllene (in the Peloponnes in Greece), the Pleiades were also known for being the companions of the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis.

RELATED: Children of Greek Titans Oceanus and Tethys

How the Pleiades were turned into bright stars in Greek mythology

Following Atlas’s punishment from the Greek Olympians, the Pleiades began receiving strong advances from the giant huntsman Orion. With Atlas unavailable to protect them from Orion’s unrelenting pursuit, the Pleiades were turned into stars by Zeus.

RELATED: Greek Goddess Artemis and the Boeotian Hunter Orion

The Pleiades - The Seven Daughters of Atlas

The Pleiades – The Seven Daughters of Atlas

In astronomy

Therefore in astronomy, the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, are a group of bright stars located in the constellation Taurus. They are one of the most recognizable star clusters in the night sky and have been observed and celebrated by various cultures throughout history.

The Pleiades are relatively young stars, estimated to be around 100 million years old. They are also relatively close to Earth, located about 440 light-years away. The stars in the cluster are still surrounded by a cloud of gas and dust from which new stars may form in the future.

The Pleiades have been observed and studied by astronomers for centuries, and they continue to be a popular object of study and fascination for both amateur and professional astronomers.


Calypso in Greek mythology

Daughter of the Titan Atlas, Calypso offered immortality to the Greek hero Odysseus if he stayed by her side, but instead he chose to go back home, despite her promise. Image: Detail from Calypso receiving Telemachus and Mentor in the Grotto by English painter William Hamilton

Calypso is a figure from Greek mythology who was a nymph, the daughter of the Titan Atlas. According to the Latin author Hyginus, Calypso’s mother was the Oceanid nymph Pleione. In some accounts, however, she is the daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.

According to myth, Calypso lived on the island of Ogygia, where she was known for her beauty and singing voice.

In Homer’s Odyssey, Calypso is described as keeping the hero Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman mythology) captive on her island for seven years, promising him immortality if he would stay with her. However, Odysseus eventually grew homesick and begged the gods to help him return to his wife, Penelope, and kingdom in Ithaca. The god Hermes was sent by Zeus to demand that Calypso release Odysseus, and she reluctantly complied.

Calypso and Odysseus

Calypso calling heaven and earth to witness her sincere affection to Odysseus (i.e. Ulysses) by Swiss Neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffman (18th-century)

RELATED: Greatest Heroes and Heroines in Greek Mythology

According to some accounts, Calypso gave birth to a son called Latinus. And in another account, she and Odysseus gave birth to two children: Nausinous and Nausithous.

Calypso is often seen as a symbol of temptation and the lure of pleasure, which can distract from one’s duty and responsibilities. She is also sometimes associated with the power of nature, as her island is described as a beautiful and idyllic paradise.

Calypso has been depicted in various works of literature, music, and art throughout history. Her story has been interpreted in different ways, with some seeing her as a tragic figure who is punished for falling in love with a mortal, and others viewing her as a symbol of the dangers of desire and the need to resist temptation.

RELATED: The 12 Major Titans in Greek Mythology

The Hesperides

Image: Garden Hesperides by British painter Edward Burne-Jones

The Hesperides, also known as the Atlantides, were three nymphs from Greek mythology who were the daughters of the Titan Atlas and the goddess Hesperis. They were named Aegle, Erytheia, and Hesperia.  In another source, they are named Aegle, Hesperie, and Aerica.

According to the myth, the Hesperides were responsible for guarding the golden apples that were given to Hera, the queen of the gods, as a wedding gift by Gaia, the goddess of the earth.

In some versions of the myth, these daughters of Atlas were said to have been entrusted with the care of the golden apples by Zeus, who feared that Hera might lose them.

In other versions, the golden apples were said to have been a gift from the goddess of love, Aphrodite, who gave them to her son Eros (i.e. the primordial god of love, lust and sex) to present to the goddess of discord, Eris, in order to prevent a fight between the gods.

Taking after their mother, Hesperis, the Hesperides were often depicted as beautiful and graceful maidens, wearing flowing robes and wreaths of flowers. They were said to live in a garden at the edge of the world, where the sun sets, surrounded by a fence made of dragon’s teeth that had been sown by Cadmus, the founder of Thebes. The garden was also said to contain a tree with golden branches that had been given to the Hesperides by Gaia.

According to ancient author Pliny the Elder, the garden where the Hesperides reside was located at Lixus, Morocco. This assertion is in line with the general view that Hesperides and Atlas were associated with the Atlas Mountains in North Africa.

The Garden of Hesperides

The Garden of Hesperides by Italian painter Ricciardo Meacci, 1894

It is for the above reason why some accounts called them the “Nymphs of the West” or “Daughters of the Evening”.

The Hesperides have been featured in various works of art, literature, and music throughout history. They have been interpreted in different ways, with some seeing them as symbols of the beauty and bounty of nature, and others viewing them as a warning against greed and the dangers of desire.

According to Hesiod, however, the Hesperides are the daughters of the primordial deity Nyx, who is the personification of night. Hesiod also states that they were four Hesperides – Aegle (“dazzling light”), Erytheia, Hesperia (“sunset glow”), and Arethusa. According to Latin writer Fulgentius, the Hesperides were: Aegle, Hesperia, Arethusa, and the gorgon Medusa.

Atlas the Hesperides

Atlas the Hesperides

RELATED: The Myth of Medusa and Poseidon

The Hyades

In Greek mythology, the Hyades were the daughters of Atlas and the ocean-nymph Pleione. In some accounts, however, their mother is Aethra.

The Hyades were said to weep tears that fell to the Earth as rain, hence the name “Hyades,” which means “the rainy ones” in Greek. They tears they shed were for the death of their sibling Hyas.

In some accounts, the Hyades served as the tutors of Dionysus, the god of wine making, vegetation, fertility and religious ecstasy.

The Hyades - daughters of Atlas

The Hyades – daughters of Atlas

In astronomy

The Hyades are a group of stars located in the constellation Taurus. They are one of the closest open star clusters to Earth, at a distance of about 153 light-years. The Hyades are easily visible to the naked eye and are named after the nymphs from Greek mythology.

The stars in the Hyades cluster are relatively young, with an estimated age of around 625 million years. They are also relatively bright and hot, with some of the stars being more than 100 times as luminous as the sun. The Hyades are thought to have formed from a cloud of gas and dust about 600 million years ago.

The Hyades have been observed and studied by astronomers for centuries, and they continue to be a popular object of study and fascination for both amateur and professional astronomers. The cluster has been used as a standard for measuring distances in space, and it has also been studied in order to learn more about the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies.

Who is the Titan Atlas?

Most known for literary carrying the entire world on his shoulders, Greek Titan Atlas was a very powerful deity in Greek mythology. He was a second generation Titan revered for his unimaginable strength and endurance.

Born to Iapoetos and the Okeanid Klymene, Atlas is believed to have served as a general on the side of his fellow titans and titaness to wage a fierce war (i.e. the Titanomachy) against the new gods, i.e. the Olympians.

Atlas and the Titanomachy

It is believed that Atlas was an influential general in the army of Titans. He was the strongest and second most powerful Titan in the war. He often served as the second-in-command to Kronos (Cronos), the father of Zeus.

Having lost the war, Atlas and the Titans were punished by Zeus, the leader of the Olympians. He was condemned to literary carry the heavens.

Another famous story involving Atlas is the tale of Perseus, who sought Atlas’ help in finding the location of the Gorgon Medusa. In this story, Atlas attempted to trick Perseus by offering to retrieve the Gorgon’s head himself, but Perseus used Medusa’s petrifying gaze to turn Atlas to stone.

Punishment of Atlas and the Titans

Greek Titan Atlas: Fast Facts

Greek Titan Atlas

A sculpture of the Titan Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders, 2nd century CE. (National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy).

In modern times, Atlas has become a popular symbol and motif in art and literature, often used to represent strength, endurance, or the weight of responsibility.

The image of Atlas holding up the world on his shoulders has also been used in scientific contexts to represent the gravitational forces that govern the movement of planets and other celestial bodies.

Parents: Iapoetos (Iapetus) and the Okeanid Klymene (Clymene)

Siblings: Epimetheus, Ankhiale, Menoitios, Prometheus

Consorts: Pleione, Hesperis

Children: Calypso, the Hesperides, Hyades, the seven Pleiades

Best known for: His involvement in the Titanomachy, a war fought between the Greek Titans and the Olympians for the control of the heavens

Egyptian equivalent: Shu

Did you know…?

The Boeotian Hyas was the son of Atlas and Pleione or Aethra. Like many Boeotians of his time, Hyas was believed to be a very skilled archer. Sadly, his life was cut short after he was mauled to death by his prey, either a wild boar or a serpent. In some accounts, he was killed by a lion after he tried to steal its cubs.

Death of Hyas, the son of Atlas

The death of Hyas devastated many of his siblings, especially his sisters, the Pleiades and the Hyades. Touched by the pain of his sisters, Zeus turned them into stars, making them the constellation Hyades.

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