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.
This furry looking fish is hanging on a map of western South America by Gerald Mercator.
This map monster fish almost looks like it has pony tails.
This melancholy fish is hanging out off the coast of South America on this map from 1570.
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.
Map Monsters: Turtles
This flying sea turtle possesses sharp claws and beak over the sea in this map of Northern Europe.