The Pillar of Atlas

What happens when Gods war? Our next vase ‘The Pillar of Atlas’ is named after a legendary rebel who chose the wrong side in a war among Gods, an unusually cruel punishment, and a final look that would stop anyone in their tracks.

Atlas, a famous Titan, unfortunately decided to participate in their rebellion against Zeus and the other gods of ancient Greece. This was their attempt to regain power, for the Titans were the original gods of the upper world.

Raku Pottery Vase – ‘The PIllar of Atlas’

The quest to regain their former glory must have been irresistible. The possibility and lure of power called out to the Titans. Most of all to Atlas, for he would eventually become leader of the rebellion.

Sadly, he was no match for Zeus. He and his Titan rebellion were defeated.

Zeus was often most clever and quite diabolical when handing out punishment. As leader of the rebellion, Atlas would receive a particularly harsh sentence – to hold up the sky! Some say the sky was placed directly on his shoulders, but in other accounts it was placed on two pillars he would hold in his hands.

But the story would not end here. Few people knew the location of Atlas, but a certain demigod who happened to be a son of Zeus happened to pass by Atlas. Perseus would eventually use the head of Medusa to turn Atlas into stone. Some say it was because Atlas refused to grant him hospitality, which would have been difficult because his hands were full.

Others say it was an act of mercy to alleviate the suffering of Atlas and end his cruel punishment. The Atlas Mountains are the remains of this once proud rebel.