Terra incognita


Terra incognita

Terra incognita is the Latin term for "unknown land", used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented. The equivalent on French maps would be "terres inconnues" (plural form), and some English maps may show "Parts Unknown".

Similarly, uncharted or unknown seas would be labeled "Mare incognitum", Latin for "unknown sea".

An urban legend claims that cartographers labelled such regions with "Here be dragons". Although cartographers did claim that fantastic beasts (including large serpents) existed in remote corners of the world and depicted such as decoration on their maps, only one known surviving map, the "Lenox Globe", in the collection of the New York Public Library [cite web
url=http://digilib.nypl.org/dynaweb/williams/williams/@Generic__BookTextView/24166;td=2;nn=1;pt=24166
title=Guide to the Research Collections, Resources Elsewhere in the Collections
pages=207-208
publisher=New York Public Library
accessdate=2006-08-22
] , actually says "Here be dragons" (using the Latin form "HC SVNT DRACONES"). [cite web
url=http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html
title=Here Be Dragons on Old Maps
publisher=MapHist
accessdate=2006-08-22
] Terra incognita may also refer to the imaginary continent Terra Australis.

During the 19th century "terra incognita" disappeared from maps, since both the coastlines and the inner parts of the continents had been fully explored.

The phrase is now also used metaphorically by various researchers to describe any unexplored subject or field of research.

Etymology

*Terra: Latin name for the planet Earth.
*Incognita: From the Latin "Cognoscere" "to know" and the Greek "Gnosis" (γνώσις) "knowledge". Related English words:
**Agnostic
**Cognition
**Gnosticism
**Knowledge

Uses of the phrase

Given its meaning the phrase "terra incognita" is extensively used as a name or title, for instance:
* in the 2008 TV miniseries form of The Andromeda Strain, the scientists discover an alien life form they refer to as terra incognita
* as the title of a 2007 documentary on stem cell research and spinal cord injury directed by Maria Finitzo for Kartemquin Films,
* as the name of an adventure race organized in Croatia,
* as the title of the first album of the French progressive group Gojira released in 2000,
* as the name of the third part of the Consortium Project by Ian Parry released in 2003,
* in the name of an interpretive design studio, [http://www.terraincognita.com Terra Incognita Productions] ,
* as the name of a roleplaying game,
* as the title of several blogs.
* In the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film trilogy, the phrase (rendered in the masculine form as "Terra Incognito") is used as the name of a fictional "mappa mundi" on the office wall of international British merchant Lord Cutler Beckett. The map is being painted on continuously as the series progresses, and its constant addition symbolizes the imperialism of the East India Trading Co., the trilogy's fictionalized version of the Honourable East India Company. (See East India Trading Co.#Terra Incognito.)
* as the name of the reality tv game show Terra incognita produced by Ludo Poppe
* as the name of the third album by the music group Phasmid Hunting Guide ["Terra Incognita", released in 2008] .
* as the name of one of the lands in the Vertigo Series The Dreaming.
* as the name of a song by Happy Rhodes.
* Captain Kirk refers to San Francisco in 1986 as Terra Incognita in the movie Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home.
* as the name of Sarah Wheeler's book on her travels through the barren and beautiful Antarctic continent
* in reference to the financial state of affairs resulting from the economic crisis of 2008, [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/business/01muni.html "Under Strain, Cities Are Cutting Back Projects," (NY Times, 9/30/2008)]

ee also

* Ancient world maps
* Terra Australis
* Terra pericolosa
* History of cartography
* Lost continent
* Here be dragons
* List of cartographers
* Mappa mundi
* terra incognita arts organisation + publishers

Notes

References

* [http://digilib.nypl.org:80/dynaweb/williams/williams/ Guide to the Research Collections] . pp. 207-208. [http://www.nypl.org/ New York Public Library] .


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Terra Incognita —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Terra Incognita (album).  Une carte représentant la terra australis incognita. Une …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Terra Incógnita — Álbum de Congreso Publicación 1975 Grabación Grabado en los estudios de la EMI ODEÓN en Santiago. Género(s) Folklore Rock Discográf …   Wikipedia Español

  • Terra Incognita — (Ушуайя,Аргентина) Категория отеля: Адрес: De los ñires 3260, 9410 Ушуайя, Аргентин …   Каталог отелей

  • terra incognita — ● terra incognita nom féminin (mots latins signifiant terre inconnue) Littéraire. Domaine d activité jusqu alors inexploré. terra incognita [tɛʀaɛ̃kɔgnita] n. f. ÉTYM. XXe; mots lat. « terre inconnue ». ❖ ♦ Littér. Domaine inconnu. Plur. || « Il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • terra incognita — unknown or unexplored region, 1610s, Latin, lit. unknown land, from terra (see TERRAIN (Cf. terrain)) + fem. of INCOGNITO (Cf. incognito) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Terra incognita — Ter ra in*cog ni*ta [L.] An unknown land; unexplored country. The enormous tracts lying outside China proper, still almost terr[ae] incognit[ae]. A. R. Colquhoun. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • terra incognita — лат. (тэрра инкогнита) букв. «неизвестная земля»; незнакомая область; что либо непонятное, непостижимое. Толковый словарь иностранных слов Л. П. Крысина. М: Русский язык, 1998 …   Словарь иностранных слов русского языка

  • Terra incognĭta — (lat.), unbekanntes Land …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • terra incognita — ► NOUN ▪ unknown territory. ORIGIN Latin, unknown land …   English terms dictionary

  • terra incognita — [ter΄ə in käg′ni tə] n. pl. terrae incognitae [ter΄ē in käg′ni tē΄] [L] 1. an unknown land; unexplored territory 2. an unknown or unexplored field of knowledge …   English World dictionary


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