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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
Carte physique de la Grande mer
Afrique orientale I
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Brabantiae
Quatrieme Projection
Terre australe
Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis
Aegean Sea
Carte physique de l'ocean
Terre du Perou I
Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio
Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio
Regni Hispaniae
Terre australe VII
Mer de l'Inde orientale II
Thietmarsiae
Transilvania
Back Cover
Salisburgensis
Back Cover
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Pedemontanae
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520
Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae
Austriae
Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533
Galliae Narbonensis et Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
Deuxieme Projection
Saxoniae
Afrique occidentale I
Carte des Terres Australes
Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil
Afrique occidentale II
Thusciae
Grande et Petite Jave II
Carte physique de la mer des Indes
Terre australe VI
Europae
Atlantique sud
Cinquieme Projection
Terra Java
Rose des vents
Afrique meridionale
Afrique du Nord-ouest
Germania
Pourtour de la mer noire
Back Cover
Terra Java
Afrique orientale II
America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio
Poloniae
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Graeciae Universae
Northeastern South America
Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii
Mer des Antilles
Front Cover
Title Page
Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio
Carte de la partie de l'ocean
Silesiae Typus
Europe and Northern Africa
Terre australe VIII
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Premiere Projection
Europe septentrionale et Groenland II
Adriatic Sea
Neuve Espagne II
Africae Tabula Nova
Flandria
Southern Africa and southwest Indian Ocean
Ocean indien et mer rouge
Troisieme Projection
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Neuve Espagne III
Front Cover
Typus Vindelicae
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Terre australe IV
Northwest Africa
Partie des canibales
Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus
North America, East Coast
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Asiae Nova Descriptio
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Regionis Biturigum Limaniae
Regni Bohemiae Descriptio
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Defaite de Databalipa
Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis
Vtriusque
Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct.
Avertissement

Maps

Map Name
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Silesiae Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [I] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [I] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [III] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Coupe de la ville de Paris (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Troisieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe centrale et meridionale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Hispaniae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Poloniae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hollandiae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique meridionale (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la Grande mer (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (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 - Flandria (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Ocean indien et mer rouge (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Adriatic Sea (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Graeciae Universae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Saxoniae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [X] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Thusciae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VII] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Vallard Atlas - North America, East Coast (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer rouge et golfe persique (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Quatrieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Canada et Labrador (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Salisburgensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [V] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Vtriusque (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique du Nord-ouest (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Aegean Sea (1547)

Regions

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