Another map of Antarctica, this time from 1531
Charles Hapgood (and those derivative of him) used other maps allegedly showing Antarctica that are, at first sight, even more convincing than the Piri Re‘is map. The first of these is a product of Orontius Finaeus Delphinus (1494-1555), whom most Bad Archaeologists consistently and incorrectly refer to as Oronteus (more properly, his name was Oronce Fine or Finé, although the Latinised version seems to be in more common use, at least among the Bad Archaeologists). The map in question was published in 1531 and its supporters claim that it shows the continent at the correct scale, placing the Weddell and Ross Seas as well as Queen Maud Land, Wilkes Land and Marie Byrd Land in their correct longitudes. Again, if these claims are correct, they would display an even more remarkable knowledge of the continent than that supposedly (but demonstrably not) shown by Piri Re’is.
Although there are fairly obvious similarities between the general depiction of the southern continent by Orontius Finaeus and modern maps of Antarctica, they do not stand up to close scrutiny; indeed, there are more differences than similarities, much as one would expect from a map drawn without genuine knowledge of the southern continent! To show that Orontius’s Terra Australis corresponds to the outline of Antarctica, it was necessary for Hapgood to rotate the depiction by about twenty degrees, move the South Pole by 7½° (1,600 km) and alter the scale, as Terra Australis is 230% the size of Antarctica. Hapgood used this change in scale to explain the absence of the Antarctic Peninsula (Palmer Land), which he believed Orontius Finaeus had to omit from his map as it would have overlapped with South America at that scale; he explained that Finaeus confused latitude 80° south with the Antarctic Circle. Just as with his treatment of Piri’s map, Hapgood also had to shuffle whole sections of coastline to make them fit. It is unclear how the hypothesised original map had become fragmented and wrongly recombined; it is even more unclear how the fringe writers can go on to claim that various geographical features are shown in their correct places and at the correct scale. Again, these writers ignore what we know about the life of Oronce Fine.
The life of Oronce Fine (Oronce Finé, Orontius Finaeus, Oronteus Finaeus) (1494-1555)
Not unexpectedly, given the way fringe writers tend to ignore inconvenient facts, a great deal is known about the biography of Oronce Fine. He was born in Briançon (France) in 1494 and educated in Paris. After a brief spell in prison in 1518, he earned a medical degree from the Collège de Navarre in Paris in 1522, although he was to follow a career as a mathematician. In 1524, he was once again in prison and in the same year built an ivory sundial that still exists. Like many mathematicians of the sixteenth century, Fine was considered an expert on fortifications and worked on the defences of Milan. In 1531, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Collège Royal in Paris. He wrote voluminously on scientific subjects, his publications including treatises on astronomical instruments and astronomy (he suggested in 1520 that eclipses of the moon could be used to determine the longitude of places); he also invented a map projection, producing a map of the world in 1519 that emphasised it. He also drew the first domestically published map of France in 1525 and on his world map of 1531, the name Terra Australis appeared for the first time. It is this latter map that is popular with Bad Archaeologists. Other productions include works on arithmetic and geometry. In 1544, he calculated the value of π to be (22 2/9)/7, which he later refined to 47/15 and, in De rebus mathematicis of 1556, 3 11/78. In astronomy, he believed that the earth was at the centre of the universe (in common with most of his European contemporaries) and he built an astronomical clock based on this belief in 1553.