Monday, July 23, 2018

Mappae Mundi on Monday

This week's historical world map is Oronce Fine's 'Modern and Complete Map of the Entire World'. published in 1531. It is the earliest known map on which the name 'Terra australis' appears. You can view the map in detail on Mappae Mundi, my collection of vintage world maps (to view Fine's map just click on the 1531 button).

Terra Australis (Latin for South Land) was a hypothetical southern continent which had been believed to exist by some from at least the 5th century onward. The existence of Terra Australis was supposed on the idea that all the land in the Northern Hemisphere should be balanced by land in the south. It is believed that Oronce Fine based his map of Terra australis on a 1523 globe by Johannes Schöner (now lost). The shape and outline of Terra australis on Fine's map is presumably completely imaginary.

Under the map label 'Terra australis' are the Latin words 'center inventa sed nondum plene cognita' (recently discovered but not yet fully known). Antarctica is still labelled 'Terra Australis Incognita' (Southern Land Unknown) on the world maps of Gerardus Mercator (1606), Pierre Mariette (1642) and Joan Blaeu (1664) - all of which can also be viewed on Mappae Mundi.

The interactive version of Oronce Fine's 'Modern and Complete Map of the Entire World' used in Mappae Mundi has been retrieved from the Library of Congress.

No comments: