Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/197

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As we shall now have to call these Martian things by their names,—our names, that is,—it may be well to consider cursorily the nomenclature which has been evolved on the subject. Unfortunately, the planet has been quite too much benamed,—benamed, indeed, out of all recognition. There are no less than five or six systems current for its general topographical features. The result is that it has become something of a specialty just to know the names. The Syrtis Major, for example, appears under the following aliases: the Syrtis Major, the Mer du Sablier, the Kaiser Sea, the Northern Sea, to say nothing of translations of these, such as the Hourglass Sea; after which ample baptism it is a trifle disconcerting to have the sea turn out, apparently, not to be a sea at all. Everybody has tried his hand at naming the planet, first and last; naming a thing being man's nearest approach to creating it. Proctor made a chart of the planet, and named it thoroughly; Flammarion made another chart, and also named it thoroughly, but differently; Green drew a third map, and gave it a third set of names; Schiaparelli followed with a fourth, and furnished it with a brand-new set of his own; and finally W. H. Pickering found it necessary to give a few new names, just for