Gallery of Map Monsters

| |

For cartographers, terra incognita (unknown lands in Latin) was often imagined as a place filled with mystical creatures and terrifying monsters. The open seas, in particular, seemed to be a favored place to depict these beings on maps. Here’s a growing gallery of map monsters. New map monsters will be periodically added to this collection.

Map Monsters: Fish

Sailors happening upon this mythical fish with sharp spines and teeth would be rightfully scared.


Ad:


From Africæ vera forma, et situs by Gerard de Jode, 1583.

This furry looking fish is hanging on a map of western South America by Gerald Mercator.

[Map of western South America], Gerhard Mercator and André Thevet, 1569? Source: Library of Congress.

This map monster fish almost looks like it has pony tails.

Americæ pars, nunc Virginia dicta : primum ab Anglis inuenta, sumtibus Dn. Walteri Raleigh, Equestris ordinis Viri, Anno Dn̄i. MDLXXXV regni Vero Sereniss. nostræ Reginæ Elisabethæ XXVII, hujus vero Historia peculiari Libro descripta est, additis etiam Indigenarum Iconibus, 1590. Source: Library of Congress.

This melancholy fish is hanging out off the coast of South America on this map from 1570.

Theatrum orbis terrarum, 1570, Source: Library of Congress.

Map Monsters: Sea Beasts

Maybe it’s the weight of its enormous tusks, but this map monster looks downright weary on this map of Northern Europe.

Geografia tavole moderne di geografia, Antoine Lafréry, 1575? Source: Library of Congress.

Map Monsters: Turtles

This flying sea turtle possesses sharp claws and beak over the sea in this map of Northern Europe.

Geografia tavole moderne di geografia, Antoine Lafréry, 1575? Source: Library of Congress.

Ad:

Previous

Novel Coronavirus Infection Map

This Detailed Map Shows 119 Years of Earthquakes

Next