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Farnese Atlas


Farnese Atlas, ca. 2nd century A.D.
Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, inv. 6374

The celestial sphere carried by Atlas on his back is the oldest depiction of the sky as the ancients saw it. The globe features the celestial equator, the ecliptic with the zodiac band, the Arctic and Antarctic circles, the colure and the constellations (19 northern, 14 southern) with the 12 signs of the zodiac.