book with maps, upper cervical vertebra

To Atlas, king of Mauritania, and Atlas, the son of the Titan from Greek mythology.
Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) was the first to give the term 'atlas' to a book containing a collection of maps. He devoted the last years of his life mainly to compiling a collection of the best maps in the world. Before his death in 1594 he managed to publish two volumes.

His son Rumold completed the work in 1595 with a title that Mercator himself had chosen: Atlas, or Cosmographic Reflections on the Creation of the World as well as the Image of the Creation. Within a few years thirty-one editions appeared in folio.

Although Ortelius had already provided an atlas in 1570, the word 'atlas' now appeared in print for the first time as an indication of such a work.
In his preface Praefatio in Atlantem, Mercator does not refer to the giant Atlas of Greek mythology, who held up the vault of heaven, but to Atlas junior, king of Mauritania and astronomer. He is said to have been the first ever to make a globe.

This Atlas is depicted on the title page of Mercator's book. The man has the celestial globe on his knees and the globe in front of him on the ground.
The Atlas Mountains in North Africa and the Atlantic Ocean are named after the Titan's son Atlas from Greek mythology.

As punishment for his attempt to dethrone Zeus with the other Titans, he was condemned to wear the vault or the pillars on which the vault rested.
The 'atlas' is also the upper cervical vertebra, so called by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) because of the similarity: the head rests on the vertebral column like the celestial vault on Atlas.

> (see also Mercator projection)