Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Word from Mythology: Atlas

The English word atlas refers to a book that contains maps, and it got its name from the Greek Titan god, Atlas. You can read more about Atlas at Wikipedia.

The use of "atlas" in English to mean a collection of maps dates to 1636 when an English translation was published of Gerhardus Mercator's Atlas, sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi ("Atlas, or cosmographical meditation on the construction of the world"), first published in 1585.

Mercator chose the title Atlas for his book because of the legend that Atlas holds up the pillars of the heavens, his punishment for having fought against Zeus and the Olympian gods in the battle called the Titanomachy.

The statue below shows the Farnese Atlas; more at Wikipedia:

This is a statue of Atlas on the Schloss Linderhof:

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