Museo Nationale, Naples

The cosmic globe, Atlas’s burden for eternity, is intricately carved with constellations in this famous statue, known as “Atlas Farnese.”

In Mithraic tradition, the cult’s caves were intended to be an image of the cosmos as seen from the inside, looking out at the enclosing sphere of stars. The sphere supported by Atlas, on the other hand, depicts the constellations as seen from outside the universe. Believed by his devotees to be capable of moving the entire cosmos, Mithras too was sometimes portrayed supporting the cosmos.