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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
Terre australe VII
Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533
Planisphere physique, où l'on voit du pole septentrional ce que l'on connoît de terres et de mers
Terre du Perou I
Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Carte des Lieux
Regni Hispaniae
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Europe septentrionale et Groenland I
La Java
North America, East Coast
Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie
Adriatic Sea
Terre australe VIII
Afrique orientale I
Terre australe II
Terre australe I
Regni Neapolitani
Terre australe III
Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil
Premiere Projection
Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis
Pourtour de la mer noire
Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio
Caletensium Verom.
Afrique meridionale
Terre australe IV
Daniae Regni Typus
Europe meridionale et orientale
Neuve Espagne I
Neuve Espagne III
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Rose des vents
Title Page
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci
Grande et Petite Jave II
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Typus Vindelicae
Europae
Title Page
Vtriusque
Terre australe
Europe occidentale
Mer de l'Inde orientale I
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Europe and Northern Africa
Atlantique sud
Troisieme Projection
Flandria
Terra Java
Afrique occidentale I
Northwest Africa
Pedemontanae
Back Cover
III.me Table de la geographie Physique
Saxoniae
Royaume de Ginganton
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Afrique orientale II
Title page with inscription,
Galliae Narbonensis et Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Europe centrale et meridionale
Salisburgensis
Carte physique de la mer des Indes
I.ere Table de la geographie Physique
Thusciae
Regionis Biturigum Limaniae
Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Terre australe IX
Cyprus Insula
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Front Cover
Typus Orbis Terrarum
Avertissement
Europe and Northern Africa
Aegean Sea
Carte de la partie de l'ocean
Coupe de la ville de Paris
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Brabantiae
Front Cover
Pourtour de la mer noire
Silesiae Typus
Front Cover
Graeciae Universae
Afrique occidentale II
Fly Leaf
Carte des Terres Australes
Austriae
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest II
Sixieme Projection
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil

Maps

Map Name
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Coupe de la ville de Paris (1757)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte de la partie de l'ocean (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Flandria (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [X] (1555)
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 - Typus Vindelicae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Saxoniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IV] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Poloniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Salisburgensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de l'ocean (1757)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe occidentale (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Royaume de Ginganton (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hollandiae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Premiere Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique du Nord-ouest (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Portugalliae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [II] (1555)
The Voyages of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros Vol. 2 - Routes of Mendana 1595, Quiros 1606 and Torres 1606 (1904)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Adriatic Sea (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regionis Biturigum Limaniae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la mer des Indes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer rouge et golfe persique (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Orbis Terrarum (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Ocean indien et mer rouge (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Vtriusque (1570)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)

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