Word Origin & History
1580s, Titan, son of Iapetus and Clymene, supposed to uphold the pillars of heaven, which was his punishment for being the war leader of the Titans in the struggle with the Olympian gods. The name perhaps means lit. "The Bearer (of the Heavens)," from stem of tlenai "to bear." Mount Atlas, in Mauritania,
was important in Gk. cosmology as a support of the heavens.
"collection of maps in a volume," 1636, first in reference to the English translation of "Atlas, sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi" (1585) by Flemish geographer Gerhardus Mercator (1512-1594), who might have been the first to use this word in this way. A picture of the Titan
holding up the world appeared on the frontispiece of this and other early map collections.