Who was Atlas, and how was he perceived in the eyes of the ancient Greeks VS the modern day individual? How has the various religious movements from ancient to modern times changed the way we look on the Olympic mythologies?
It is a strange idea, when studying the ancients, to try to understand the mindset that truly believed in a pantheistic reality. Atlas is best known for being the shoulders holding the heavens up. One of Hercules trials (12? I forget which) was to find the golden apples, and he ended up holding the world for the relieved Atlas for a while. I know more about Prometheus, and they are considered brothers. Atlas is a Titan.
To the ancient Greeks he was a deity to be revered in association with others of his kind. Different regions worked towards different types of theism. To the modern day, he is much like Prometheus in NYC. A statue and idea of a long past time. He is a representation of the world being held, and a metaphor for those overburdened, but carrying on.
The religious movements have turned what was once spiritual practice into a child's tale, sadly. From the Disney movie for Hercules (which was cute and humorous... but lacking), to simplifying tales, the ancient studies have suffered in our days. This includes the perception of Greek mythology. In a small university, I can't even get a class about it!
Thank you for your response to this, as it is very true that mythologies of past deities have been underscored by morals of present status, which were once much more structured. Thank you for also understanding that it isn't taught in many small universities as I can relate, wanting to understanding classical mythology without formally studying it in a class setting.