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Terra Australis

Terra Australis Collection

History Archive - Terra Australis Collection

Terra Australis (Latin for South Land) was a hypothetical continent first posited in antiquity and which appeared on maps between the 15th and 18th centuries. Aristotle first speculated in Meteorologica Book II 5, "Now since there must be a region bearing the same relation to the southern pole as the place we live in bears to our pole...".

His ideas were later expanded by Ptolemy (2nd century AD), who believed that the Indian Ocean was enclosed on the south by land, and that the lands of the Northern Hemisphere should be balanced by land in the south. Marcus Tullius Cicero used the term cingulus australis ("southern zone") in referring to the Antipodes in Somnium Scipionis ("Dream of Scipio"). The land (terra in Latin) in this zone was the Terra Australis.

Legends of Terra Australis Incognita, an "unknown land of the South" date back to Roman times and before, and were commonplace in medieval geography, although not based on any documented knowledge of the continent. Ptolemy's maps, which became well known in Europe during the Renaissance, did not actually depict such a continent, but they did show an Africa which had no southern oceanic boundary (and which therefore might extend all the way to the South Pole), and also raised the possibility that the Indian Ocean was entirely enclosed by land. Christian thinkers did not discount the idea that there might be land beyond the southern seas, but the issue of whether it could be inhabited was controversial.

The first depiction of Terra Australis on a globe was probably on Johannes Schoner's lost 1523 globe on which Oronce Fine is thought to have based his 1531 double cordiform (heart-shaped) map of the world. On this landmass he wrote "recently discovered but not yet completely explored". The body of water beyond the tip of South America is called the "Mare Magellanicum," one of the first uses of navigator Ferdinand Magellan's name in such a context.

Schoner called the continent Brasiliae Australis in his 1533 tract, Opusculum geographicum. In it, he explained:

Brasilia Australis is an immense region toward Antarcticum, newly discovered but not yet fully surveyed, which extends as far as Melacha and somewhat beyond. The inhabitants of this region lead good, honest lives and are not Anthropophagi [cannibals] like other barbarian nations; they have no letters, nor do they have kings, but they venerate their elders and offer them obedience; they give the name Thomas to their children [after St Thomas the Apostle]; close to this region lies the great island of Zanzibar at 102.00 degrees and 27.30 degrees South.

References:

Franz von Wieser, Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent. Auf den Globen Johannes Schoner. Beitrage zur Geschichte der Erdkunde im xvi. Jahrhundert, Innsbruck, 1881 (reprinted Amsterdam, Meridian, 1967),

Pelletier, Monique (1995). "The cordiform World maps by Oronce Fine". Cartographica Helvetica. 12: 27-37. Retrieved 31 December 2011.

Johannes Schoener, Opusculum Geographicum, Norimberga, [1533], Pt.II, cap.xx. Ioannis Schoneri ... Opusculum geographicum

John Noble Wilford: The Mapmakers, the Story of the Great Pioneers in Cartography from Antiquity to Space Age, p. 139, Vintage Books, Random House 1982, ISBN 0-394-75303-8

Duo [cingulis] sunt habitabiles, quorum australis ille, in quo qui insistunt adversa vobis urgent vestigia, nihil ad vestrum genus ("Two of them [the five belts or zones that gird and surround the earth] are habitable, of which the southern, whose inhabitants are your antipodes, bears no relation to your people"). Alfred Hiatt, "Terra Australis and the Idea of the Antipodes", Anne M. Scott (ed), European Perceptions of Terra Australis, Ashgate Publishing, 2012, pp. 18-10.

William Eisler,The Furthest Shore: Images of Terra Australis from the Middle Ages to Captain Cook, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 10.

Available Books

Images

Image Name
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Carte des Terres Australes
Europe occidentale
Title Page
Coupe de la ville de Paris
Carte des Lieux
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie
Regni Neapolitani
Terre du Perou II
Pourtour de la mer noire
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Terre australe
Front Cover
Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci
Mer rouge et golfe persique
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Terre australe IV
Brabantiae
Afrique orientale I
Sixieme Projection
Atlantique sud
Mer de l'Inde orientale II
Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio
Typus Orbis Terrarum
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Europe centrale et meridionale
Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques
Thietmarsiae
Deuxieme Projection
Defaite de Databalipa
Terra Java
Afrique meridionale
Transilvania
Carte du globe Terrestre
Planisphere physique, où l'on voit du pole septentrional ce que l'on connoît de terres et de mers
Salisburgensis
Afrique occidentale I
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Premiere Projection
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Troisieme Projection
Carte physique de la Grande mer
Carte physique de l'ocean
Portugalliae
Ocean indien et mer rouge
Galliae Narbonensis et Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
Back Cover
Terre australe V
Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis
Galliae Regni Potentiss
Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris
Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio
Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio
Terre du Perou I
Carte de la partie de l'ocean
Neuve Espagne II
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio
Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Quatrieme Projection
Terre australe VIII
Spine
Grande et Petite Jave I
Terre australe IX
III.me Table de la geographie Physique
Hollandiae
Flandria
Silesiae Typus
Cyprus Insula
Regni Hispaniae
Europe septentrionale et Groenland II
Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Typus Vindelicae
Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio
Africae Tabula Nova
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520
Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct.
Terre australe VI
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Mer de l'Inde orientale I
Europae
Caletensium Verom.
Avertissement
Cinquieme Projection
Royaume de Ginganton
Graeciae Universae
Back Cover
Vtriusque
Title page with inscription,

Maps

Map Name
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Bohemiae Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique meridionale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique du Nord-ouest (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [V] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Vindelicae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Planisphere physique, ou l'on voit du pole septentrional ce que l'on connoit de terres et de mers (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Thusciae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533 (1881)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Coupe de la ville de Paris (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la mer des Indes (1757)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regionis Biturigum Limaniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Vallard Atlas - Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Portugalliae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte de la partie de l'ocean (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IV] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VII] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Royaume de Ginganton (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - North America, East Coast (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Canada et Labrador (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VI] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Atlantique sud (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hollandiae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe centrale et meridionale (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la Grande mer (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Silesiae Typus (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)

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