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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
Front Cover
Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris
Western Europe and Northwestern Africa
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Rose des vents
Cinquieme Projection
North America, East Coast
Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus
Afrique orientale II
Terre australe IV
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Italia Novissima Descriptio
Europe centrale et meridionale
Terra Java
Front Cover
Neuve Espagne II
Aegean Sea
Galliae Regni Potentiss
Royaume de Ginganton
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Europe occidentale
Title Page
Terre australe II
Ocean indien et mer rouge
Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip
Flandria
Terre australe I
Mer de l'Inde orientale II
Front Cover
Coupe de la ville de Paris
Carte du globe Terrestre
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Neuve Espagne I
Northwest Africa
Regionis Biturigum Limaniae
Carte physique de l'ocean
Deuxieme Projection
Daniae Regni Typus
Southern Africa and southwest Indian Ocean
Asiae Nova Descriptio
Carte des Terres Australes
Afrique occidentale II
Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio
Terre australe VII
Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii
Regni Bohemiae Descriptio
Quatrieme Projection
Back Cover
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Transilvania
Grande et Petite Jave II
Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil
Title page with inscription,
Gelriae, Cliviae Finitimorumque Locorumverissima Descriptio
Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie
Spine
Afrique du Nord-ouest
Mer de l'Inde orientale I
Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio
I.ere Table de la geographie Physique
Grande et Petite Jave I
Pourtour de la mer noire
Vtriusque
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
Hollandiae
Inde orientale
Troisieme Projection
Afrique occidentale I
II.me Table de la geographie Physique
America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio
Adriatic Sea
Back Cover
Terre australe III
Europe and Northern Africa
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Fly Leaf
Carte physique de la mer des Indes
Typus Orbis Terrarum
Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci
Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae
Amerique - Terre du Bresil
Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct.
Floride, Canada et Labrador
Mer des Antilles
Mer rouge et golfe persique
Pourtour de la mer noire
Terre du Perou I
Graeciae Universae
Terre australe VI
Back Cover
Thietmarsiae
Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis

Maps

Map Name
Cosmographie Universelle - Quatrieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Vindelicae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hungariae Descriptio Wolfgang Lazio Auct. (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique meridionale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Bohemiae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Vtriusque (1570)
Vallard Atlas - North America, East Coast (1547)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer rouge et golfe persique (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Cinquieme Projection (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [II] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Graeciae Universae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Hispaniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Atlantique sud (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Poloniae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Galliae Regni Potentiss (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IX] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique du Nord-ouest (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Orbis Terrarum (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Adriatic Sea (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Premiere Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VI] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [III] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Saxoniae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Defaite de Databalipa (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et orientale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Thusciae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Natoliae / Aegypti, Recentior Descriptio / Carthaginis Celeberrim Sinus Typis (1570)
The Voyages of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros Vol. 2 - Routes of Mendana 1595, Quiros 1606 and Torres 1606 (1904)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la mer des Indes (1757)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Vallard Atlas - Aegean Sea (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte de la partie de l'ocean (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Turcici Imperii Descriptio (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Coupe de la ville de Paris (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre de Floride - Partie de la mer oceanne (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Southern Africa and Southwest Indian Ocean (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe occidentale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Silesiae Typus (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Lieux (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Royaume de Ginganton (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regionis Biturigum Limaniae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [II] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Flandria (1570)

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