Terra Australis Incognita

Nice Geography check. You gain 100 x.p.


Australia is easy enough to look up on your own. Check it out. See what you can learn about drop bears. They are terrifying. I ain’t going to talk about Australia. But there’s an interesting thing about Discworld and how Australia got its name.

See, the wacky ancient Romans were pretty clever people. They figured out the world was a sphere and even estimated how big it was. Actually, to be totally fair, they ripped off a lot of this stuff from the Greeks. But this isn’t about geography. And when they realized how big it was, they had a problem. The world they knew about was pretty small. And the world they measured was pretty big. And they were heavy into balance. They couldn’t understand how, if the entire known world was so much smaller than the entire world, why didn’t the world tip over. There had to be a big, heavy landmass on the other side of the world from the known world to keep it in balance. And they named that place “Terra Incognita Australis” “the unknown land to the south.” Actually, to be really fair, the first maps to feature the counterbalancing contininent appeared in Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius’ book Commentary on the Dream of Scipio which expanded on the idea from Cicero’s Dream of Scipio that the world was a tiny sphere in a vast cosmos. Macrobius posited crazy ideas including something called an equator and climatic zones running around the Earth. Dude was crazy.

Did you ever read the entertaining Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. Me, I was a fan of the earlier ones before Discworld went sort of steampunk. Especially the Rincewind and Night Watch stories. But remember how there was this place called the Counterweight Continent? It sat on the opposite edge of the Disc from the main continent and was smaller, but it was mostly made of gold, octiron, and other precious metals that made it really heavy. Heavy enough to counterbalance the other, larger continent (yes yes, two other continents, there’s also XXXX and Klatch is sort of a subcontinent too) and keep the Disc from… I don’t know, slipping off the elephants’ backs or whatever? Sound familiar? Yep. Same idea.

Also, if you look close at the map, you’ll notice XXXX is labeled Terror Incognita. Another reference to Australia, because Australia is terrifying.