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Critias

Validating Ancient Maps of Antarctica

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Validating Ancient Maps of Antarctica

Aided by

The Discoveries of Agrippa’s 2,000-year-old Orbis Terrarum and

Ancient Depictions of Antarctica's Siple and Carney Islands.

I have put together a website at atlantismaps.com which showcases chapters from a book I am currently writing. (My writing skills are a bit limited, but I hope the material remains clear and intelligible on some level.) I had been researching the subject of ancient maps of Antarctica and made what I believe to be very significant discoveries providing the most compelling evidence thus far that an ancient civilization charted the continent. Chapter 2 - The Antarctica Maps provides analysis on one of these chartings found on Oronce Finé's 1531 World Map, a map many here are probably already quite familiar with.

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Finé's 1531 World Map which includes an oversized depiction of the Antarctic

continent.

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Modern map of Antarctica with the Palmer Peninsula faded out (top-left) alongside

Oronce Finé’s map of the continent (top-right) displayed as they appear on a standard

polar projection. A schematic template based on the shape of Antarctica (bottom-left)

overlaid onto Finé’s Antarctica (bottom-right) demonstrating the uncanny accuracy of

Finé’s design.

The actual discoveries came as I attempted to address two key claims issued by critics regarding Oronce Finé's 1531 design:

  1. 16th century cartographers were generating their Antarctic designs from scratch and not referencing ancient source maps of the continent, and
  2. The designs lack credibility because they are scaled 2 to 3 times the continent's actual size.

One of my more significant discoveries verifies that the cartographer responsible for introducing the design, Johannes Schöner, was not relying on his imagination for inspiration, but was indeed referencing ancient maps for his designs. In his first attempt at depicting the southern continent, Schöner had unwittingly affixed a copy of Agrippa’s Orbis Terrarum, a 2,000-year-old world map, to the bottom of his 1515 world globe. This is the only existing copy of Agrippa’s famed world map, a map believed to have disappeared during the Middle Ages.

Chapter 3 - The Map at the Bottom of the World details this discovery.

linked-image

Schöner's 1515 globe gores of the southern hemisphere replete with mysterious

southern continent.

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Break down of the Greek Hecataeus' map from the 6th century B.C. (left) and

Schöner’s mysterious southern continent (right) into 3 basic components: Europe,

Africa and the dual peninsulas of 1) Italy and 2) Greece extending from Europe

into the Mediterranean Sea.

linked-image

Author's reconstruction of the 2,000-

year-old Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum based

on Schöner's Antarctic design and the

medieval Mappae Mundi which were

derived from the Orbis Terrarum.

Not only did this discovery prove that Schöner was relying on ancient source maps for his designs, it also shed light on his method for sizing and aligning these maps to his globes. Schöner had mistaken the British Channel on Agrippa’s map for a purported strait in South America. He then aligned and scaled the remaining portion of the map by centering the map’s circular rendering of the Mediterranean Sea over the South Pole.

Realizing this, I set about determining how Schöner applied this same method of scaling and alignment to his 1524 map of the continent, which is the first appearance of the same design later incorporated into Finé's Map. Where Schöner matched the British Channel to a purported strait on his 1515 globe, it was clear that on his 1524 globe he matched Atka Bay, Antarctica to a branching waterway reported to exist in the middle of Magellan’s recently discovered strait.

In looking for a second scaling point, I was surprised to discover that unlike Finé's depiction of the continent Schöner had reproduced and included the Antarctic islands of Siple and Carney, two islands currently buried under ice and snow and locked into the Getz Ice Shelf off Western Antarctica. Schöner’s depiction of the islands is remarkable. The islands are accurately aligned, positioned and proportioned in respect to each other and in respect to his rendering of the Antarctic continent. Given his established process for incorporating his 1515 map of the continent, it appears very likely that Schöner affixed an ancient map of Antarctica to his 1524 globe by similarly aligning two distinct features existing on his source map to two recent discoveries. Atka Bay has been placed at the Strait of Magellan and the remainder of the map has been enlarged and aligned so that the islands of Siple and Carney are placed in the vicinity of one of Magellan’s lesser-known discoveries, a pair of desolate islands in the Pacific known as the Unfortunate Islands.

Chapter 4 - The Magellan Effect details this discovery.

linked-image

The Unfortunate Islands as depicted on Schöner's 1524 globe (left) and the

islands of Siple and Carney on a modern map of Antarctica (right). The pair are

aligned parallel and toward the right end of Western Antarctica's westernmost

straight coastline.

linked-image

Modern map of the continent with Palmer Peninsula faded (left) alongside Finé's

1531 map of the continent with the addition of Schöner's Unfortunate Islands (right).

The points used by Schöner for scaling his ancient map of the continent are pointed

out as Atka Bay in the north and the islands of Siple and Carney in the west. Also

pointed out are Finé's accurate portrayals of Sulzberger Bay and Ross Island.

linked-image

Schöner's Methodology For Cartographic Incorporation Of New Discoveries

Referencing ancient maps for his template:

  • Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum (left) and

An ancient map of Antarctica (right)
Reconciling the ancient maps to new discoveries:

  • A. Matching the British Channel to a purported strait and

B. Atka Bay to a branching waterway in the Strait of Magellan
Scaling the maps to new globes via a secondary point:

  • C. Aligning the center of a concentric Mediterranean to the South Pole and

D. The islands of Carney and Siple to the Unfortunate Islands high in the Pacific.

More detailed information can be found on my website. I am currently looking for a publisher and hoping that this material might spark some interest. In the meantime, I will be working on the next posting, a chapter which details a new site for Atlantis that I should have up fairly soon. If you found any pleasant surprises here, I can pretty much guarantee the same and more with this next submission.

Best regards,

Doug Fisher

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Interesting.Thx for posting.

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Interesting.Thx for posting.

Thanks dreamland. Very much appreciated.

-Doug

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Posted (edited)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't your theory entail the idea that the Ancient Greeks (and people for several subsequent thousands of years) were so stupid that they didn't know the maps they drew of the world around weren't of the world around them?

I mean, you have to argue against the historical record (and indeed common sense) that the maps are they way the are because they knew more about their immediate vicinity than they did the areas of their world most distant from them.

--Jaylemurph

Edited by jaylemurph

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Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't your theory entail the idea that the Ancient Greeks (and people for several subsequent thousands of years) were so stupid that they didn't know the maps they drew of the world around weren't of the world around them?

I mean, you have to argue against the historical record (and indeed common sense) that the maps are they way the are because they knew more about their immediate vicinity than they did the areas of their world most distant from them.

--Jaylemurph

I'm with you on that one. It seems too many people seem to put current thinking on par with ancient thinking. It just isn't the same. But what can you do? They won't listen. :hmm:

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The first map in the OP shows Australia, not Antarctica.

Check out this map of Oz and compare.

Harte

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The first map in the OP shows Australia, not Antarctica.

Check out this map of Oz and compare.

Harte

add to that the fact that it say Terra Australus on it

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The first map in the OP shows Australia, not Antarctica.

Check out this map of Oz and compare.

Harte

Agree 100%. Notwithstanding the map of 'Antarctica' would have it without ice, unless Mr Critias would like to argue this map therefore stems from a time that Antarctica was ice-free (or that the early-Middle Age cartographers had ground-penetrating radar or access to satellite imagery?)

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Posted (edited)

The first map in the OP shows Australia, not Antarctica.

Check out this map of Oz and compare.

Harte

No, it is not Australia, despite the fact that it resembles Terra Australis in the first post.

"Terra Australis" means nothing more than "Land of the South", after which later Australia got its name.

It was based on a theory by Aristotle (?) that there should be some continent in the far south to balance the earth or something.

"The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland was made by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in 1606. During the 17th century, the Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of what they called New Holland, but they made no attempt at settlement. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia#History

Now read the date on the map (scroll down): Anno 1531.

Edited by Abramelin

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I'm with you on that one. It seems too many people seem to put current thinking on par with ancient thinking. It just isn't the same. But what can you do? They won't listen. :hmm:

Not that I'm (necessarily) levelling this charge at the OP, but a lynchpin of all pseudo-historians is that until 1900 or so (and to this day, if you're not white) everyone was so stupid they didn't know what they were doing, even when they said they did. And were able to prove so to most everybody else.

--Jaylemurph

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The mystery to me is how a map maker in 1531 could depict a continent supposedly not discovered until 1606.

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Interestingly enough according to the 1531 map, Zanzibar is portrayed right off the coast of “Antarctica” whereas in reality it is right off the coast of Tanzania, Africa (completely on the other side of Madagascar).

“Antarctica” is also shown a good deal larger than Africa. Whereas Africa is actually more than twice the size of Antarctica.

It also shows nothing useful of North or Central America, parts of which should have appeared on such a map at that time.

All in all, not the most accurate of maps, IMO.

cormac

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Interesting.Thx for posting.

I suspect the reason why people believe a highly advanced civilization mapped the world is because the Romans destroyed the cultures of conquered Europeans creatign a dark age.

Some texts still remain from the Vikings and the Irish which show the Americas were discovered long before Columbus got there. I wouldn't be surprised if the ancient British achieved a lot more than people realised.

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I suspect the reason why people believe a highly advanced civilization mapped the world is because the Romans destroyed the cultures of conquered Europeans creatign a dark age.

That's just a complete misunderstanding of the workings of the Roman Empire. Generally speaking, they didn't destroy /any/ cultures.

And most historians since the fall of Rome have generally thought the lack of the Roman Empire brought on the Dark Ages, rather than actively causing it.

Some texts still remain from the Vikings and the Irish which show the Americas were discovered long before Columbus got there. I wouldn't be surprised if the ancient British achieved a lot more than people realised.

The Viking period was well after the Fall of Rome, as well as the rise of Irish civilisation. In fact, one might just predicate both of their rises on the disappearance of centralised Roman power.

You need to stop basing your ideas of science and history on repeats of Star Trek.

--Jaylemurph

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Some texts still remain from the Vikings and the Irish which show the Americas were discovered long before Columbus got there. I wouldn't be surprised if the ancient British achieved a lot more than people realised.

The Viking period was well after the Fall of Rome, as well as the rise of Irish civilisation. In fact, one might just predicate both of their rises on the disappearance of centralised Roman power.

Okay JM, the Viking's are a given. But at what point, chronologically speaking, are you using for the rise of Irish Civilization. It could be argued that the "rise of Irish Civilization" (i.e. earliest Saints, Ard-Ri (HighKings), etc.) started towards the end of the Roman Empire and not "well after" the fall as you put it. The section you quoted of the previous post (above) had more to do with Pre-Columbian than Post Roman events, from what I could tell.

cormac

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The mystery to me is how a map maker in 1531 could depict a continent supposedly not discovered until 1606.

But depicting one that wasn't discovered until 1820 is perfectly alright...

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But depicting one that wasn't discovered until 1820 is perfectly alright...

I dont know who the history books claim discovered Antartica but no doubt it is a European.

May I point out that we have examples where ancient European texts like the Viking Sagas point towards lands being discovered way before mainstream history says they were.

May I also point out Ancient civilizations in South America and South Africa arent that far away from Antartica so it is not unreasonable to say if they could sail there was a good chance they would have known about tne conitnent too.

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I dont know who the history books claim discovered Antartica but no doubt it is a European.

May I point out that we have examples where ancient European texts like the Viking Sagas point towards lands being discovered way before mainstream history says they were.

May I also point out Ancient civilizations in South America and South Africa arent that far away from Antartica so it is not unreasonable to say if they could sail there was a good chance they would have known about tne conitnent too.

I would point out that works both ways. There are claims regarding Australia for example suggesting possible outside contact much earlier then thought and from different quarters.

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Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't your theory entail the idea that the Ancient Greeks (and people for several subsequent thousands of years) were so stupid that they didn't know the maps they drew of the world around weren't of the world around them?

I mean, you have to argue against the historical record (and indeed common sense) that the maps are they way the are because they knew more about their immediate vicinity than they did the areas of their world most distant from them.

--Jaylemurph

Hi Jaylemurph,

I apologize for being a bit confused by your reply, I am assuming that you are referring to Schöner not recognizing that he was placing a map of the world onto the bottom of his 1515 globe. Some of this is explained on my website, but I will address it best I can here.

First of all, Schöner was not Greek. He was a German mathematician and cartographer in the early 1500s. Secondly, if you check my analysis of the map here, you will see that this is most definitely a world map which he has placed on the bottom or his globe. While the two peninsulas extending into the center of the map are a fairly good giveaway, the lone body of water stretching laterally across Africa verifies 100 percent that the design is a world map.

Aside from my presentation, here is the most current reconstruction of Agrippa’s map:

linked-image

Previous reconstruction of Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum. Note the lateral landlocked

waterway located in Africa.

And here is an enlarged image of my reconstruction based off of Schöner’s 1515 design. Note a similar waterway similarly landlocked:

linked-image

Author's reconstruction of Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum which includes the lateral

waterway.

The reconstructionist had reason to believe that the Roman original incorporated a similar waterway because:

  1. Ancient Romans believed that the Nile originated in Mauritania and stretched across the continent dividing Africa north and south, and
  2. Medieval maps were based on Agrippa’s Orbis Terrarum and most included this waterway.

In fact the mappae mundi portrayed the waterway more closely resembling Schöner’s design than the one in the earlier reconstruction:

linked-image

The Hereford Mappa Mundi which is based on Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum includes

a lengthy waterway spanning the African continent.

And there is much more evidence on my website that verifies this as Agippa’s Orbis Terrarum.

Does this mean that Schöner lacked intelligence for not recognizing the world map for what it was? Absolutely not. Yet there the map lies on the bottom of his globe. So how do we explain the error? It was a Roman world map, so if there had been Latin inscriptions Schöner would have likely recognized place names and understood he was looking at a map of well known regions, inscriptions on his own 1515 map indicate he was well versed in Latin. This means that the map was most likely devoid of text.

Libraries are known to keep collections of manuscripts in various stages of their existence. There are incomplete works at the front end and worn, faded and tattered toward the back end of their existence. Schöner’s source map, likely laid out on an animal skin as was common practice, may have been in the early stages of creation as text was typically the last detail added to most maps. The Hereford Mappa Mundi demonstrates this to some extent as we find text for ‘Affrica’ and ‘Europa’ fit around the topography and structures and not the other way around. The other possibility is that the map was old, faded and worn with only the underlying framework or outline remaining.

So what does a library do with an unrecognizable map featuring only an outline of a landmass, mountains and a landlocked waterway. Certainly they could toss such an item, but even today if a library was presented a dated map in similar condition or worse they would not toss it. They would tag a name on it that perhaps identifies where it was discovered and file it away. Could they file it with world maps? Most copies of Agrippa’s map disappeared in the Middle Ages and it is apparent that Schöner did not recognize it to be a world map so there had to be a separate category for such a map. The obvious category would be maps of unknown lands.

As it happens the report of a strait having an unknown land to the south arrives in Germany. Schöner has a few options. He can draw a short line to represent the coast of a southern land, he can draw a fanciful landmass from scratch, or perhaps he feels that this may be a land previously mapped, but no longer known. Where would he go to find such a map?

I do not believe that Schöner’s approach was necessarily dumb. Finding Agrippa's map in a collection of unidentifiable maps and seeing that it had a strait apparently seemed a clever match for the one reported.

-Doug

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The Viking period was well after the Fall of Rome, as well as the rise of Irish civilisation. In fact, one might just predicate both of their rises on the disappearance of centralised Roman power.

Okay JM, the Viking's are a given. But at what point, chronologically speaking, are you using for the rise of Irish Civilization. It could be argued that the "rise of Irish Civilization" (i.e. earliest Saints, Ard-Ri (HighKings), etc.) started towards the end of the Roman Empire and not "well after" the fall as you put it. The section you quoted of the previous post (above) had more to do with Pre-Columbian than Post Roman events, from what I could tell.

cormac

Well, there's all the early myth of what the Irish were doing and how great it was, but I'd argue the high pint of their civilisation was during the Early Middle Ages, after the advent of Christianity there. You know, the period the lesser-cheat of pseudo-historian goes around claiming was the time "the Irish saved civilisation" and that sort of rot. Not, perhaps, the very beginning of their semi-mythical history, granted.

--Jaylemurph

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You're quite right, Critias, I read incorrectly.

Your theory apparently rests on a) a perceived similarity of Schoner's southern continent to ancient Greek maps of the known world (only after you or somebody adapt them to enhance similarity) and B) (despite your suggestion of the opposite) the assumption that, despite being a trained and studied cartographer, Schoner was so uninformed as to mistake a map of the entire known (ancient) world for a mysterious, southern continent.

Like a lot of pet theories around here, yours is bolstered by far too much hypothesis that runs counter to common sense and pieces of evidence that are not only not extant, but never known to be extant.

--Jaylemurph

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I suspect the reason why people believe a highly advanced civilization mapped the world is because the Romans destroyed the cultures of conquered Europeans creatign a dark age.

Some texts still remain from the Vikings and the Irish which show the Americas were discovered long before Columbus got there. I wouldn't be surprised if the ancient British achieved a lot more than people realised.

Ill second what Jaylemurph said.

Im not aware of any culture who has been destroyed by the romans, beside karthago and isreal (but only partially). Despite what hollywood say's the Romans were quite tollerant on their subject, much more tollerant than other future rulers (saxons, goth, vandals, Lombards ect ect) in Europe. And the Vikings came long after Rome joined the immortals.

Anyway the problem with Columbus was offcourse not the first dude to approach the 'new world' but he was the one who (good or bad) open the new continent to the old world. Before him, it was possible that some occasinal travel may have done a pic nic in America (as the viking) but that was it. Beside a small attempt by the Vikings nobody tryed either to colonice nor to keep trading rutes open with the local native tribes. At least as we know.

Beside, the ancient British couldn have done so much since they were tecnologically speaking a bit demodé confronted to Gaul or their other continental neighbours (not bashing anyone here).

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Posted (edited)

No, it is not Australia, despite the fact that it resembles Terra Australis in the first post.

"Terra Australis" means nothing more than "Land of the South", after which later Australia got its name.

It was based on a theory by Aristotle (?) that there should be some continent in the far south to balance the earth or something.

"The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland was made by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in 1606. During the 17th century, the Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of what they called New Holland, but they made no attempt at settlement. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia#History

Now read the date on the map (scroll down): Anno 1531.

Abramelin,

You mention the first European sighting.

Also, Cook had maps with him (likely from Janszoon) depicting part of the coast of Australia.

The Japanestraded and fished in the area, and landed there, before Cook was ever born.

They were well acquainted with the Islanders in the area, as were the Chinese, IIRC.

The northern part of Australia had been observed by other cultures. Nobody at that time knew whether it was some largish island or if it was a huge continent or what, because they never sailed very far down the coast.

The northern part has the notable gulf (Gulf of Carpentaria) as is shown in the OP.

I maintain that his gulf was already known to several cultures well before Cook's arrival.

This knowledge could well have been obtained by the mapmaker.

I am aware, of course, of the origin of Australia's name. I'm also aware that I could be wrong, but I don't think so. (I so very rarely think so, as you no doubt are awre! :D)

Harte

Edited by Harte

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Well, I would love to see a map of Australia drawn by either the Chinese or the Japanese, a map drawn before any Dutch or other European explorer searched the area.

And, btw, did you notice that the Antarctica on the map in the first post actually almost touches the southern tip of South America?

As far as I know Australia is not known to be that close to South America.

Antarctica is.

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Posted (edited)

The first map in the OP shows Australia, not Antarctica.

That is the first thing I thought too.

"The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland was made by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in 1606. During the 17th century, the Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of what they called New Holland, but they made no attempt at settlement. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain."

The mystery to me is how a map maker in 1531 could depict a continent supposedly not discovered until 1606.

So, supposedly someone sailed or flew around Antarctica and mapped the coastline, but when they made a map, did not include Australia, which surely they would have encountered in their travels. If they knew where Africa and South America were, then why not Australia? There is a giant chain of islands leading right to it.

I'm just glad the Piri Reis map is not mentioned here yet. It is my opinion that does not show Antarctica either.

Edited by DieChecker

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