Atlas was one of the Titans, beings of immense strength who ruled the earth before they were overthrown by Zeus. In Greek mythology, Zeus’s victory over the Titans symbolised the triumph of wisdom over brute strength. Zeus punished Atlas by consigning him to hold up the heavens for all eternity. Classical Greek and Roman statues invariably show the celestial heavens in the form of a globe, which probably caused the confusion between the heavens and the Earth as Atlas’s burden. His punishment was to hold up the entire firmament, yet illustrations of Atlas invariably show him with the Earth on his shoulders, an infinitely lighter task. This discrepancy was further exacerbated by Rumbold Mercator, the son of Gerard Mercator the celebrated Dutch cartographer (1512-1592). In 1638, Rumbold Mercator published a collection of his father’s maps under the title, Atlas or a Geographic Description of the World. On the frontispiece, there was an illustration of Atlas holding the globe on his shoulders. Ever since then, a collection of world maps has been called an atlas. Atlas is also the source of figurative expressions like carrying the world or weight of the world on one’s shoulders which date from the 1500s.