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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
Carte du globe Terrestre
Neuve Espagne III
Regni Hispaniae
Mer de l'Inde orientale I
Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio
Terre australe VII
Terre australe IX
America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio
Terre australe II
Mer rouge et golfe persique
Europe occidentale
Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne
Afrique du Nord-ouest
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Troisieme Projection
Europe centrale et meridionale
Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus
Pourtour de la mer noire
Rose des vents
III.me Table de la geographie Physique
Quatrieme Projection
Deuxieme Projection
La Java
Back Cover
Terre australe III
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan
Cinquieme Projection
Planisphere physique, où l'on voit du pole septentrional ce que l'on connoît de terres et de mers
Terre du Perou II
Terre australe V
Asiae Nova Descriptio
Carte physique de la Grande mer
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
I.ere Table de la geographie Physique
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Terra Java
Terre australe VIII
Partie des canibales
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest II
Northwest Africa
Sixieme Projection
Brabantiae
Back Cover
Ocean indien et mer rouge
Avertissement
II.me Table de la geographie Physique
Pourtour de la mer noire
Carte physique de l'ocean
Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus
Front Cover
Title Page
Atlantique sud
Southern Africa and southwest Indian Ocean
Royaume de Ginganton
Europe and Northern Africa
Premiere Projection
Grande et Petite Jave II
Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio
Graeciae Universae
North America, East Coast
Afrique occidentale I
Galliae Narbonensis et Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
Carte physique de la mer des Indes
Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci
Adriatic Sea
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Terra Java
Germania
Europe septentrionale et Groenland II
Terre australe VI
Carte de la partie de l'ocean
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Pedemontanae
Thusciae
Daniae Regni Typus
Spine
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Terre australe IV
Fly Leaf
Austriae
Thietmarsiae
Caletensium Verom.
Defaite de Databalipa
Regni Neapolitani
Afrique orientale I
Afrique occidentale II
Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil
Africae Tabula Nova
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Title Page
Carte des Lieux
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Front Cover

Maps

Map Name
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Saxoniae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Portugalliae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
The Voyages of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros Vol. 2 - Routes of Mendana 1595, Quiros 1606 and Torres 1606 (1904)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (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)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IV] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Poloniae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Canada et Labrador (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Bohemiae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regionis Biturigum Limaniae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VI] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - North America, East Coast (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [X] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Hispaniae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la mer des Indes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Troisieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique meridionale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique du Nord-ouest (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de l'ocean (1757)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la Grande mer (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Aegean Sea (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [V] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Vallard Atlas - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Atlantique sud (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Flandria (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Salisburgensis (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)

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