I have discovered what is likely the sole remaining copy of Agrippa's long lost 2,000-year-old Orbis Terrarum. In bizarre fashion, it has been preserved for five centuries on the bottom of Schöner's 1515 World Globe as a depiction of an hypothesized southern continent. As you will find in my arguments here and in the following set of posts, it is virtually a mathematical impossibility that Schöner derived the design for his southern continent from thin air and included the specific elements of an ancient world map in their precise arrangement and scale by mere chance.
After my original posting of the discovery in the old Maphist forum back in '09, I received a very interesting email from Chet Van Duzer, author of the scholarly work "Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515 Transcription and Study". He had reached a similar conclusion regarding a unique element of the southern landform which I will address later in this submission, but he began his message by offering his singular argument against my find:
"To me the idea that Schöner has a Roman world map at the bottom of his globe seems far-fetched." - Chet Van Duzer
And I agree, on its face, the idea of a skilled 16th century cartographer plastering a Roman world map onto the bottom of a globe to depict a southern continent does appear suspect, so I will also be addressing this concern and demonstrating within the context of the period how the documented and observable 16th century cartographic method, a contemporary report implying the existence of a vast southern land, and the chance discovery of an incomplete copy of Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum set the stage for Schöner to logically misidentify a world map as a large polar landform. I believe it will also prove Schöner had performed a more astute and responsible cartographic action than the alternative of inventing the entire design from thin air.
Let’s begin by considering what we know of the shape of Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum. It was a large map located on the wall of Porticus Vipsania, a portico named after Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The specific overall shape is unknown, but has been argued by some scholars to be rectangular while others prefer round. The only thing that we can state with great certainty is that the map maintained an overall 'C' form with Europe, Asia and Africa wrapping around the Mediterranean Sea with the singular opening in the 'C' positioned between Western Europe and Northwest Africa representing the Strait of Gibraltar. Even the orientation of the 'C' is an uncertainty, but many believe north would be oriented toward the top of the map forming a reverse 'C' with Europe toward the top, Africa toward the bottom.
A more distinguishing characteristic of the map would be the incorporation of two lone prominent peninsulas, which on a north oriented map would extend from the upper portion of the reverse 'C' as representations of Italy and Greece.
So now let us review the southern landform in question. Below you can see the imposing landform highlighted on the globe gores which form the southern hemisphere of Schöner's 1515 World Globe:
Click on images to enlarge.
Schöner’s southern landform highlighted on gores from his 1515 world globe
In the image below you can see how well Schöner's southern landform conforms with other ancient C-shaped maps. Here the Greek Hecataeus map (left) is set alongside Schöner’s southern landform (right). Note that aside from the Iberian peninsula, both feature ONLY TWO prominent peninsulas (1 and 2) inside the 'C' and they similarly extend off the upper portion of their C-shaped forms. Both maps include a depiction of the Gulf of Izmir (3) just above a cantilevered southern coast of Turkey (4). Significantly, the perpendicular coastline sets the midpoint on each 'C' with the upper portion protruding over the lower in both instances. And finally both round the coast between Israel and Egypt (5) and raise up the western end of North Africa comprising Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco (6).
Hecataeus' world map (left) shares all the basic elements of Schöner’s
Continued . . .