Labor XI: The Garden of the Hesperides (page 411, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

Previous Page    Table of Contents    Next Page

♦ Chest of Kypselos from temple of Hera at Olympia (known through Pausanias’ description and modern reconstructions)

Paus 5.18.4 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

Atlas too is supporting, just as the story has it, heaven and earth upon his shoulders; he is also carrying the apples of the Hesperides. A man holding a sword is coming towards Atlas. This everybody can see is Heracles, though he is not mentioned specially in the inscription, which reads:—“Here is Atlas holding heaven, but he will let go the apples.  Greek Text

Atlas supporting sky while holding apples, as Herakles, with sword drawn, approaches; from reconstruction of chest of Kypselos (lost monument once in temple of Hera, Olympia) by W. von Massow, “Die Kypseloslade,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung vol. 41 (1916), pl. 1.

Paus 6.19.8 – Pausanias, Descrition of Greece

The third of the treasuries, and the fourth as well [at Olympia], were dedicated by the Epidamnians…. It shows the heavens upheld by Atlas, and also Heracles and the apple-tree of the Hesperides, with the snake coiled round the apple-tree. These too are of cedar-wood, and are works of Theocles, son of Hegylus. The inscription on the heavens says that his son helped him to make it.  Greek Text

Paus 5.17.2 – Pausanias, Descrition of Greece

The Hesperides [in the temple of Hera, Olympia, but believed to be from treasuries of the Epidamnians; see previous passage], five in number, were made by Theocles, who like Dorycleidas was a Lacedaemonian, the son of Hegylus; he too, they say, was a student under Scyllis and Dipoenus. Greek Text

Basel, Archäologisches Seminar: Attic black-figure cup by Nearchos with  Herakles moving to the left (identified by inscription, with second inscription melapheres [“bearer of apples”]), and Atlas with left hand on hip (identified by inscription)

T. Gelzer, “Zur Darstellung von Himmel und Erde auf einer Schale des Arkesilas-Malers in Rom,” Museum Helveticum 36 (1979)  p. 176, fig. 2

Digital LIMC (no image, but description)

Beazley Archive Pottery Database (no image, but bibliography)

Attic Vase Inscriptions

Basel, Antikenmuseum and Ludwig Collection Lu 217: bronze shield-band relief Atlas holding up sky, Herakles striding away with apple, and Athena with spear

“The Museum of the Goddess Athena: Atlas, Hercules and Athena”

Digital LIMC 

Athens, National Museum 113: Attic black-figure lekythos by the Athena Painter with Herakles holding up the sky, which is rendered as an architrave with stars and a crescent moon, while Atlas rushes towards him with the apples

C.H.E. Haspels, Attic Black-Figured Lekythoi (1936) pl. 47.3




Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Digital LIMC

Olympia Museum: metope from temple of Zeus with Herakles, assisted by Athena and a cushion, holding up the sky while Atlas approaches with the apples

Paus 5.10.9 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

Most of the labours of Heracles are represented at Olympia… [Heracles] is also about to receive the burden of Atlas. Greek Text

E. Curtius [Editor] and F. Adler [Editor] and G. Treu, Olympia: die Ergebnisse der von dem Deutschen Reich veranstalteten Ausgrabung (Tafelband 3): Die Bildwerke von Olympia in Stein und Thon (1894) pl. 45.10

David Gill





Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Digital LIMC

Previous Page    Table of Contents    Next Page


#Herakles, #Atlas, #apple, #Athena

Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, April 2024

Literary sources edited By Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2022

 959 total views,  1 views today