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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 and Northern Africa
Terre australe VI
Terre australe III
Salisburgensis
Spine
Title page with inscription,
Pourtour de la mer noire
II.me Table de la geographie Physique
Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1515
Caletensium Verom.
Carte physique de la Grande mer
Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil
Front Cover
Mer de l'Inde orientale I
Title Page
Descriptio Germaniae Inferioris
Aegean Sea
Terre du Perou III
Back Cover
Austriae
Terre australe V
III.me Table de la geographie Physique
Afrique occidentale II
Mer rouge et golfe persique
Flandria
Terre australe VIII
Title Page
Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531
Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest I
Cinquieme Projection
Northeastern South America
Adriatic Sea
Regionis Biturigum Limaniae
Poloniae
Germania
Thusciae
Daniae Regni Typus
Terre australe
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Brabantiae
Carte de la partie de l'ocean
Europe centrale et meridionale
Afrique orientale II
Thietmarsiae
Lakii Lacus Vulgo Terretorii Romani Descrip Fori Iulii
Royaume de Ginganton
Portugalliae
Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus
Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533
Terra Java
Partie des canibales
Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient
Turcici Imperii Descriptio
Terre du Perou I
Northwest Africa
Ducatus Mediolanensis
Vtriusque
Pourtour de la mer noire
Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio
Typus Vindelicae
Franciae Orientalis Monasteriensis
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Carte des Lieux
Inde orientale
Avertissement
Back Cover
Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio
Enssuyt le Regime et Gouvernement du Solleil
Silesiae Typus
Grande et Petite Jave I
Ocean indien et mer rouge
Tartariae Sive Magni Chami Regni
Deuxieme Projection
Mer de l'Inde orientale II
Title Page
Western Europe and Northwestern Africa
Terre-Neuve, Europe et Barbarie
Terre australe IV
Front Cover
Troisieme Projection
Graeciae Universae
Carte des Terres Australes
Neuve Espagne III
Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche
Europe septentrionale et Groenland II
Atlantique sud
Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador
Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae sive Britannicar Insularum Descriptio
Southern Africa and southwest Indian Ocean
Neuve Espagne I
Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio
Galliae Regni Potentiss
North America, East Coast
Africae Tabula Nova
Terre australe I

Maps

Map Name
Cosmographie Universelle - Quatrieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palestinae Sive Totius Terrae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Brabantiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Daniae Regni Typus (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Europe and Northern Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Flandria (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Germania (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Troisieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Zelandicarum et Prussiae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe meridionale et Afrique du nord-ouest [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique occidentale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [III] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Sixieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Pedemontanae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Asiae Nova Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [I] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Aegean Sea (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Turcici Imperii Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Terre-Neuve et Labrador (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale et des Moluques (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regionis Biturigum Limaniae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Atlantic Ocean with coast of Africa and Brazil (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Graeciae Universae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Partie des canibales (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Bohemiae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Deuxieme Projection (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Schlavoniae, Croatiae, Carniae, Istriae, Bosniae, Finitimarumque Regionum Nova Descriptio (1570)
Vallard Atlas - La Java (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Thusciae (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northwest Africa (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Austriae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Neuve Espagne [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe centrale et meridionale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Poloniae (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la Grande mer (1757)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de l'ocean (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Barbariae et Biledvlgerid Nova Descriptio (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere der Weltkarte des Orontius Finaeus A.D Jahare 1531 (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [V] (1555)
Vallard Atlas - Southeastern South America, Straits of Magellan (1547)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Insularum Aliquot Maris Mediterranei Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [II] (1555)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Westliche Hemisphaere nach der Weltkarte des Lionardo da Vinci (1881)
Cosmographie Universelle - Grande et Petite Jave [I] (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte du globe Terrestre (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VII] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VIII] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Inde orientale (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique meridionale (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Caletensium / Verom. (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 - Pourtour de la mer noire [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Cyprus Insula (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Profil ou coupe des differens fonds du Canal de la Manche (1757)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Europae (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Ocean indien et mer rouge (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Pourtour de la mer noire [I] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Palatinatus Bavariae Descriptio et Wirtenbergensis Duvatus Vera Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Hollandiae (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Regni Neapolitani (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [I] (1555)
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)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Helvetiae Descriptio Aegidio (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre du Perou [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Portugalliae (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Südliche Hemisphaere des Globus von Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1533 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Salisburgensis (1570)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mediterranee orientale et Moyen-Orient (1555)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte des Terres Australes (1757)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Vallard Atlas - Western Europe and northwestern Africa (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Afrique orientale [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Mer de l'Inde orientale [I] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [IV] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Transilvania (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Terra Java (1547)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [X] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Floride, Canada et Labrador (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Ducatus Mediolanensis (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - America Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio (1570)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Typus Orbis Terrarum (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte physique de la mer des Indes (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Europe septentrionale et Groenland [II] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Italia Novissima Descriptio (1570)
Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique ou Naturelle - Carte de la partie de l'ocean (1757)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [II] (1555)
Cosmographie Universelle - Terre australe [VI] (1555)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Africae Tabula Nova (1570)
Magalhaes-Strasse und Austral-Continent - Globus des Johannes Schöner A.D Jahare 1520 (1881)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Persicic Sive Sophorum Regni Typus (1570)
Vallard Atlas - Northeastern South America (1547)

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