Talk:Terra incognita

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This page was voted on for deletion at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Terra Incognita. dbenbenn | talk 20:47, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I remember a map on the wall of the in a room of Palazzo Ducale in Venice with the indication "Terra incognita hic sunt dracones". I am not writing it in the article because it is some years now. Someone please confirm. --FocalPoint 22:11, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Rationalising Terra, Australis, Ignota, and Incognita[edit]

Thanks to Vsmith and Dougweller for fixing a mess I found here, which I unfortunately made worse by in trying to fix it. The articles involved are these:

I have replaced the lead of Terra Australis with the following summation, including a link to comprehensive history of terms at Australia:

Terra Australis (or Terra Australis Ignota and Terra Australis Incognita; Latin: "the unknown land of the South") was a hypothetical continent appearing on European maps from the 15th to the 18th century. Other names for the continent include Magallanica or Magellanica ("the land of Magellan"), La Australia del Espíritu Santo (Spanish: "the southern land of the Holy Spirit"), and La grande isle de Java (French: "the great island of Java"). Terra Australis was one of several names applied to the actual continent of Australia, after its European discovery; and it is the inspiration for the continent's modern name (see also Etymology, at Australia).

As things stand, there are links and redirects among those pages. These may need discussion and rectifying, along with suitable changes to the pages themselves. In particular the talkpages are problematic: if a talkpage is moved (and then possibly re-moved), redirected, etc., it can become unclear precisely which page is under discussion, or which is referred to in templated page-headers.

Ignota and incognita mean roughly the same in Latin, but are perhaps distinguishable: ignota "unknown"; incognita "unrecognised, undiscovered, un-learned-about". Non-English-speaking speakers, especially Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, appear to favour ignota over incognita. I suspect there are two reasons for this:

  1. The phrase terra ignota famously occurs in Vergil (less known in the English-speaking world), in a context having nothing to do with any southern continent (Heu, terra ignota canibus date praeda Latinis alitibusque iaces! "You lie in a strange land, given as prey to the dogs and fowls of Latium!" parsed here, but with uninformative gloss for ignota).
  2. The word ignota is closer to forms in those modern European languages than it is to forms in English.

But in the literature (surveyed through properly conducted searches in Googlebooks and other sources), Terra [Australis] Incognita is overwhelming more common: even in old sources, and especially in English-language sources.

I strongly advise that centralised discussion be conducted at Talk:Australia, and briefly noted at affected pages, to keep all of this in good order. I have placed this discussion there as well.

¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 23:14, 11 January 2010 (UTC)