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Hello everyone,

I believe that I have discovered a copy of Agrippa’s 2,000-year-old Orbis Terrarum affixed to the bottom of Johannes Schöner’s 1515 globe gores and I am hoping to get your opinions on this discovery, as well as your thoughts on how to go about getting it validated.

Here are Schöner’s 1515 globe gores which bear what I believe to be a copy of Agrippa’s Orbis Terrarum mistakenly chosen to represent an Antarctic continent.

Here is a comparison of the Greek Hecataeus World Map (left) alongside Schöner’s 1515 depiction (right). Both C-shaped designs are oriented with the opening, or Strait of Gibraltar, positioned in the west and bear two lone prominent peninsulas extending into the inner Mediterranean Sea from the upper arm, which conform to (1) the Italian and (2) Grecian Peninsulas. There is also a very accurate depiction of the (3) Gulf of Izmir wherein the ancient city port of Smyrna was located.

These features alone do not necessitate this being a world map, but I am convinced that the addition of the landlocked waterway spanning the width of the African continent along with a span of mountains just above it verifies it not only as a world map, but most likely a copy of Agrippa’s long lost Orbis Terrarum.

Notice how this modern reconstruction of Agrippa's Orbis Terrarum bears a similarly landlocked waterway arranged laterally across the African continent, which like Schöner’s is also terminated at each end by lakes.

As no copies of the original Orbis Terrarum exist, the reconstruction relies on texts such as Pliny’s Natural History for Roman geographical knowledge and the medieval mappae mundi, which are derived from Agrippa’s map and replicate or include modified renderings of some geographical features. One of the most prominent features carried on these maps is the lateral landlocked waterway spanning the African continent much like Schöner’s 1515 depiction. The Hereford Mappa Mundi not only depicts this waterway terminated similarly at both ends by lakes, it also includes a vast mountain range which parallels it to the north, again similar to Schöner’s depiction.

The arcing waterway is actually the Roman concept of the Nile River, believed to originate in the mountains of Mauritania (note the mountains enclosing the western lake on Schöner’s depiction) and flow eastward dividing the continent in half with Africa to the north and Ethiopia to the south. As for the mountains, I am unable to discern the concept of a continuous length spanning the continent from Pliny’s work, but two ancient Roman maps confirm the concept. The Tabula Peutingeriana, a Roman road map dated to the same century as Agrippa’s map, excludes southern Africa and lines the bottom of North Africa with an uninterrupted chain of mountains.

Ptolemy’s map from the second century A.D. also includes a span of mountains extending the full width of Africa and like Schöner’s design sets them just inside the North African coast and above a lateral, albeit more complex, waterway.

Here is my reconstruction of Agrippa’s Orbis Terrarum based on Schöner’s template and the components found on the mappae mundi. (1) Jesus Christ, who is placed at the top of the mappae mundi, is replaced by Caesar Augustus inside the Roman arch formed at the top of the map above Rome. (2) Geographical commentary that is dispersed about the mappae mundi is consolidated back to a central circular portion of the Mediterranean Sea, and lastly (3) Images and text describing flora and fauna that are also strewn about the mappae mundi have been consolidated between the central commentary and North African coast in an arced matrix. A portion of this arced matrix still remains intact on most mappae mundi. It appears that the portion pertaining to Ethiopian creatures was kept intact and moved directly south into Ethiopia, beneath the lateral rendering of the Upper Nile.

More details on this find can be found on my website here.

Does anyone here have any idea on how to go about getting this discovery validated? If so, I would be extremely grateful.

Questions and comments are welcome here as well of course.

-Doug Fisher

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Discovery of Agrippa's World Map 843 Doug Fisher 08-Apr-09 03:36
Re: Discovery of Agrippa's World Map 102 legionromanes 08-Apr-09 05:47
Re: Discovery of Agrippa's World Map 793 Doug Fisher 09-Apr-09 02:01

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