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In Greek mythology a brother of Prometheus who was originally a marine god before Perseus showed him the Gorgon's head and turned him into a rock mountain supporting the heavens. A mythical god, or Titan, he gave his name to the Atlas Mountains at the western end of the Mediterranean and also to the Atlantic Ocean. In the Odyssey (1. 52) Homer describes him as ‘one who knows the depths of the whole sea, and keeps the tall pillars which hold heaven and earth asunder’. In his famous book of maps, the inventor of the Mercator projection, Gerardus Mercator, used a picture of Atlas supporting the heavens as a frontispiece, and this use has led to the term ‘atlas’ being used to describe a volume of maps.

See also chartmaking.

See also chartmaking.

Subjects: Classical Studies — Maritime History.

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