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The Origin of the Term 'Atlas'

Miljenko Lapaine, Olga Perić, Ivo Dubravčić


In this paper the origin of the term 'atlas', as a bound collection of maps, is considered. It is usually thought to derive from the name of the Titan, Atlas, who was punished by being forced to bear the entire celestial sphere or universe on his shoulders. However, on the basis of research into and translation of the original Preface of Mercator's Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mvndi et fabricati figvra, it has been determined that Mercator did not refer to this legend, but named his atlas for the completely different characteristics, such as wisdom, erudition and humanity, of another Atlas.


Atlas; atlas; Mercator

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Copyright (c) 2008 Miljenko Lapaine, Olga Perić, Ivo Dubravčić

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