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The Map At The Bottom Of The World (cont.)
By Doug Fisher

That the significance of these two peninsulas is initially overlooked is no doubt due in part to the unexpected and bizarre nature of Schöner’s feat, and to be fair to Schöner there is a substantial amount of distortion in the overall design which certainly contributed to Schöner’s failure to realize the grand error he was making. Yet as we shall see this will prove a most fortunate mistake in our favor as we now have solid undeniable proof that Schöner had indeed referenced and copied an ancient source map in designing his Antarctic continent. It turns out that the two peninsulas actually represent two extremely well known, highly recognizable geographical features existing in the Mediterranean Sea: the lone set of prominent Peninsulas, Italy and Greece. As we will shortly establish in full, Schöner had unwittingly affixed an entire ancient world map onto the bottom of his world globe.

Fig. 6
Figure 6 - Reconstructions of Homer's (left) and Hecataeus’ (right) world maps.

The overall design of this particular world map shares its pedigree with maps from Ancient Greece. Ancient Greek maps such as those of Hecataeus and Homer (Fig. 6) depicted the world as a circular disk portraying Europe, Asia and Africa united in a singular circular band of land wrapped around a large inner sea, the Mediterranean. In turn the whole of the world is surrounded all about by an outer ocean. The Strait of Gibraltar is located at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea forming the only passage between the inner sea and outer ocean. The combination of the Mediterranean Sea and Strait of Gibraltar effectively separate Europe from Africa to create a simple world map in the form of a reversed ‘C’.

To better visualize the similarities between the ancient Greek maps and Schöner's map, Figure 7 omits the extra detailing of inland bodies of water on the Hecataeus map and it along with Schöner’s map have been broken down into their three basic components: 1) The upper arm, Europe, 2) The lower arm, Africa, and 3) The peninsulas, Italy and Greece.

Fig. 7
Figure 7 - Break down of Hecataeus (left) and Schöner’s (right) world maps into 3 basic components: Europe, Africa and the dual peninsulas of 1) Italy and 2) Greece extending from Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. Other shared elements: 3) A small peninsula and gulf along the western coast of Turkey representing the site of the ancient port city of Smyrna, 4) The southern coast of Turkey cantilevered out over Africa, 5) The curved transition from Egypt to Syria, 6) the elevated coastline of Western Africa, and lastly the similar arrangement and proportions shared overall.

The point where the southern coast of Turkey veers perpendicularly into the Mediterranean effectively splits each map into two similarly sized halves: Europe composing the northern half and Africa the southern half. In evaluating Africa we notice that both maps round out the normally squared corner between Israel and Egypt creating a continuous sweeping coastline from Syria to Egypt. Following this coastline from Syria westward, the last third exhibits a significant rise providing a reasonable portrayal of the stepped nature of the North African coast. On a modern map, the northern coasts of Egypt and Libya remain on a level that never rises beyond the 33rd parallel, but toward the west the coastline rises up into the Mediterranean at Tunisia leveling off around the 36th parallel with the combined northern coasts of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Schöner's rendering may be lacking in some details, but allowing for the overall primitive nature of this world map the similarities shared with the North African coastline prove fairly accurate.

Turning our attention to the upper arm with the Italian and Greek peninsulas sheared away, the only discernable similarity in the rendering of the European continent is their arc. Schöner's map even deviates from that a bit by distorting the Iberian Peninsula, redirecting Spain and Portugal inward at a right angle into the Mediterranean Sea. This in no way disqualifies this as an ancient world map as there are major distortions and variances in all ancient maps. Schöner does appear to have had access to a far better variation which he passes on to us in his subsequent globe of 1520. The facsimile of that globe (Fig. 8) portrays the western hemisphere with a coastline protruding along the lower left which matches Schöner's 1515 depiction of the Western African coastline suggesting that Schöner was referencing a very closely related C-shaped world map. The portion of land protruding from the lower right side of the facsimile depicts a more accurate and improved version of the Iberian Peninsula.

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