Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent is a new history of an ancient geography. It reassesses the evidence for why Europeans believed a massive southern continent existed, and why they advocated for its discovery. When ships were equal to ambitions, explorers set out to find and claim Terra Australis – said to be as large, rich and varied as all the northern lands combined. Antipodes charts these voyages – voyages both through the imagination and across the High Seas – in pursuit of the mythical Terra Australis. In doing so, the question is asked: how could so many fail to see the realities they encountered? And how is it a mythical land held the gaze of an era famed for breaking free the shackles of superstition? That Terra Australis did not exist didn’t stop explorers pursuing the continent to its Antarctic obsolescence, unwilling to abandon the promise of such a rich and magnificent land till it was stripped of every ounce of value it had ever promised. In the process, the southern continent – an imaginary land – became one of the shaping forces of early modern history.
“This is an informative and entertaining mixture of geography, history and epistemology, at once academically rigorous and approachable. It is also about the history of ideas and how ideas interact with reality. It is lavishly illustrated with numerous wonderful and obscure maps, and will appeal to readers with an interest in geography and old maps, as much as those fascinated by the history of exploration and the great journeys of discovery. This book is a visual and intellectual feast.”
— Dave Martus