1. Or to be more pedantic, a version of the scam worked for Atlas — “here, hold the earth on *your* shoulders for a while, and I’ll go fetch that stuff you wanted.” Close enough for demigod work.

  2. Brian in STL: Fair enough; you got me. Or maybe I could argue that since there is no “up or down” in space, we could think of Atlas as standing on his head on the heavens and balancing the earth on his feet. (“Geez — er, Zeeeuz — Atlas, nobody likes a showoff!”)

  3. Well, the images are created from the stories, where Atlas was condemned to hold up the heavens. Many depictions show him holding a large sphere, but that’s supposed to represent the “celestial sphere”.

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