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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
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
I.ere Table de la geographie Physique
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Regionis Biturigum Limaniae
Brabantiae
Salisburgensis
Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Terra Java
Premiere Projection
Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus
Europe and Northern Africa
Carte de la partie de l'ocean
Aegean Sea
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
Poloniae
Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio
II.me Table de la geographie Physique
Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus
Germania
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest II
Terre australe VII
Terre australe VIII
Saxoniae
Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci
Partie des canibales
Silesiae Typus
Title Page
America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio
Grande et Petite Jave I
Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis
Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques
Northeastern South America
Regni Bohemiae Descriptio
Thietmarsiae
Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie
Front Cover
Front Cover
Austriae
Terre australe VI
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Graeciae Universae
Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Quatrieme Projection
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris
Title Page
Amerique - Terre du Bresil
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Thusciae
Coupe de la ville de Paris
Planisphere physique, où l'on voit du pole septentrional ce que l'on connoît de terres et de mers
Mer des Antilles
Carte physique de l'ocean
Terre du Perou II
Neuve Espagne II
Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct.
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Back Cover
Europe meridionale et orientale
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Terra Java
Inde orientale
Caletensium Verom.
Terre du Perou I
Pourtour de la mer noire
Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio
Terre australe II
Terre du Perou III
Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio
Europe and Northern Africa
Troisieme Projection
III.me Table de la geographie Physique
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Carte des Terres Australes
Floride, Canada et Labrador
Europe occidentale
Europae
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Transilvania
Title Page
Terre australe
Terre australe IX
Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis
Atlantique sud
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Regni Neapolitani
Afrique du Nord-ouest
Title page with inscription,
Adriatic Sea
Mer de l'Inde orientale II

Maps

Map Name
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Premiere Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Troisieme Projection (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe centrale et meridionale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae (1570)
The Voyages of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros Vol. 2 - Routes of Mendana 1595, Quiros 1606 and Torres 1606 (1904)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Ocean indien et mer rouge (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Saxoniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Bohemiae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Vtriusque (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe occidentale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique du Nord-ouest (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Graeciae Universae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [V] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Vindelicae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Hispaniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer rouge et golfe persique (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Orbis Terrarum (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Turcici Imperii Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [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 - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Vallard Atlas - North America, East Coast (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (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)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
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 - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Royaume de Ginganton (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte de la partie de l'ocean (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Quatrieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VI] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Atlantique sud (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hollandiae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)

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