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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
Regni Hispaniae
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques
Saxoniae
Terre australe III
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Neuve Espagne III
Pourtour de la mer noire
Europe and Northern Africa
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest II
Afrique orientale I
Neuve Espagne II
Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan
Silesiae Typus
Avertissement
Spine
Transilvania
Front Cover
Pedemontanae
Afrique occidentale II
Austriae
Title Page
Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis
Atlantique sud
Terre australe IX
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Northwest Africa
Mer des Antilles
Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne
Sixieme Projection
Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio
Rose des vents
Front Cover
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Portugalliae
Terra Java
Neuve Espagne I
Back Cover
Title page with inscription,
Premiere Projection
La Java
III.me Table de la geographie Physique
Grande et Petite Jave II
Thietmarsiae
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio
Terre du Perou III
Europe centrale et meridionale
Brabantiae
Terre australe VII
Back Cover
Carte physique de la Grande mer
Floride, Canada et Labrador
Terre australe V
Royaume de Ginganton
Defaite de Databalipa
Northeastern South America
Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio
Terre australe IV
Asiae Nova Descriptio
Terra Java
Cinquieme Projection
Regni Neapolitani
Mer de l'Inde orientale II
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Afrique du Nord-ouest
Germania
Inde orientale
Terre australe VI
Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae
Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus
Front Cover
Coupe de la ville de Paris
Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
Daniae Regni Typus
Regionis Biturigum Limaniae
Salisburgensis
Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis
Europe septentrionale et Groenland I
Carte physique de l'ocean
Amerique - Terre du Bresil
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Terre du Perou II
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct.
Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Quatrieme Projection
Back Cover
Galliae Narbonensis et Sabaundiae et Burgundiae
Mer rouge et golfe persique

Maps

Map Name
Vallard Atlas - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Poloniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer rouge et golfe persique (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Atlantique sud (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Narbonensis / Sabaundiae et Burgundiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Portugalliae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Troisieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Ocean indien et mer rouge (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte de la partie de l'ocean (1757)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Turcici Imperii Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Premiere Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe centrale et meridionale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Canada et Labrador (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IV] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [I] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [V] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [I] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de l'ocean (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la Grande mer (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Salisburgensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la mer des Indes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Thusciae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis (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 - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [X] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Orbis Terrarum (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique meridionale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Vtriusque (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Coupe de la ville de Paris (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Aegean Sea (1547)

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