Mapping the Antipodes before 1600
In Terra Incognita, Alfred Hiatt draws on sources both literary and visual to understand the appeal of the antipodes. Examining maps and diagrams, as well as evidence contained in geographical and historical works, poetry, travel narratives, and legal documents, he challenges long-standing characterizations of medieval spatiality as exclusively symbolic and religious. Instead, Hiatt finds, the idea of people on the other side of the Earth provided a potent and malleable symbol for political theorists, satirists, scholars, and poets—as well as for map makers. Terra Incognita is, in the end, the history of a non-place, of lands conjured by the scientific imagination, which nevertheless drove exploration, and which continued to shape the world map, even as they slowly vanished from it.