Atlas was a titan who opposed Zeus in the battle between the Olympians and the earlier generation of Titans. The defeated Titans were condemned to Tartarus but Atlas was punished with the task of supporting upon his shoulders the vault of the heavens, thereby keeping the earth and sky separate. Through a mistaken notion that this vault, sometimes depicted as a sphere, was actually the earth, Atlas has given his name to that particular kind of book which contains a collection of geographical maps. It was not until the Flemish cartographer Gerhardus Mercator (1512-1594) depicted on the frontispiece of his atlas the titan carrying the earth that the association became fixed. The plural of atlas has given us the architectural term atlantes, which refer to support columns formed in the shape of men, corresponding to the maiden columns known as caryatids. Atlas endured his torment at the western edge of the world and so has given his name to the ocean beyond the straits of Gibralter, the Atlantic, as well as to the Atlas mountains in northwest Africa. The mythical island of Atlantis was located, according to Plato, in the western ocean.