(Greek > Latin: one of the Titans, son of Iapetus and Clymene, supporting the heavens on his shoulders; later, a king of Mauretania, changed by Perseus into Mt. Atlas [Greek mythology])
Literally, "the Bearer [of Heaven] ".
"Atlases are usually big, oversized books which have maps, diagrams, and other information; such as, population figures, distances, pictures, and charts."
"The atlas has been used in the wider sense of a collection of maps with illustrations of topographical features, portraits, and pictures of plants and animals, mythological scenes, historical events, etc."2. An architecture figure of a man which is used as a support: "An atlas is a figure of a man, either standing or kneeling, that is used to hold the upper part of a classical building.
3. A ringlike bone in tetrapods (four-footed creatures) that forms the first neck (cervical) vertebra of the vertebral column, on which the skull rests: "In reptiles, birds, and mammals, the atlas moves with the skull to allow nodding of the head and articulates with the axis to allow rotatory movements."
4. In general anatomy, referring to the top bone in neck: the vertebra that is at the top of the spinal column and which supports the skull: "The atlas locks with the skull on rotation and turns with the head."
"The anatomical name, atlas, refers to the first vertebra; so called, because it holds up the skull (globe). It was named by the Belgian anatomist Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)."
"A historical atlas may also have a chronology, or timeline, and biographical notes about the people whose names appear in the text."
"Pocket atlases of the human anatomy are published for medical practitioners in order to provide quick information when they are in the field with their patients and away from their medical centers."