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<   No. 3448   2015-12-17   >

Comic #3448

1 Adam: Plato's account locates Atlantis beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which are usually taken to refer to the Strait of Gibraltar.
2 Jamie: So from a Mediterranean point of view, that would put Atlantis in the Atlantic?
3 Adam: Correct! And… whoa… Atlantis, Atlantic… that's too close to be a coincidence. Myth confirmed!
4 Jamie: "Atlantic" just means "sea of Atlas", and "Atlantis" means "island of Atlas".
4 Adam: And they're both found in an atlas! Whoa nelly!

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According to Ancient Greek mythology, Atlas was one of the Titans descended from the primordial deities. Atlas was a personification of strength, and had the job of holding up the sky, which one might presume requires a great deal of strength.

Many sculptural and illustrative depictions show Atlas holding a large sphere on his shoulders, which is sometimes taken to be the Earth. But it is in fact traditionally meant to be the celestial spheres, which contain the Earth, sun, and other planets within the sphere of the sky. So this is in fact much bigger (and presumably heavier) than just the mere Earth!

Atlases, the books of maps, take their name from Atlas the Titan. This is because the European mapmakers of the 16th century chose to illustrate the frontispiece of their map collections with a picture of Atlas, and the name of the Titan leaked into the hugely verbose titles of the books which were typical of that era. In particular, the 1585 map collection of Gerardus Mercator was titled Atlas, sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi ("Atlas, or Cosmographic Meditations on the Fabric of the World and the Figure of the Fabrick'd").

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