[[quoteright:336:[[Art/CartaMarina http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/old_map_1872.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:336:[[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carta_Marina.jpeg This is actually the good neighborhood.]]]]

->'''Scully:''' On the old mariner maps, the cartographers would designate unexplored territories by simply writing "Here Be Monsters".\\
'''Mulder:''' I've seen the same thing on maps of New York City.
-->-- ''Series/TheXFiles'', "Quagmire"

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

In old times, mapmaking was a fairly imprecise task, due to the lack of advanced technology for exploration purposes. So, to fill great blank areas on the maps, mapmakers used to include textual and/or graphic warnings of the dangers of going into uncharted territory. Such warnings took the form of sea serpents, dragons, cannibals and many other mythical and, sometimes, even real creatures. The actual line "Here There Be Dragons" has been found only once, on the 16th-century [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunt-Lenox_Globe Lenox Globe]], but is too cool to give up.

This tendency is explored in fiction with two usual objectives. The first and more obvious is to show that the map is very ancient or simply medieval. Depending on the setting, the map may be contemporary, but displayed in an outdated manner because that's how things still are made.

The other use of this trope is to avoid showing the viewer a dull and realistic map. This is mostly used in video games, to give the world map a more enjoyable presentation.

In fiction, many maps don't just warn its readers of the great perils on their way, but sometimes also contain other pieces of information, such as the location of cities and landmarks, pointed by [[StylisticSuck stylistically out-of-scale]] drawings.

Because [[AltumVidetur Everything's Better In Latin]], also sometimes seen as its original spelling, ''Hic sunt dracones''.

Do not mistake this with HereThereWereDragons, which is about the existence of magic (and even dragons) sometime in the past of the setting of a fictional work. Also not to be confused with [[WebVideo/WhatTheFuckIsWrongWithYou the fantasy movie review show by Nash of TGWTG]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Skypiea's map in ''Manga/OnePiece'' had several symbols, including a ziggurat (marking the position of [[spoiler:Eldorado]]) and some devilish creature roaming through the land.
* The Magic World's map in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has 'here be magical creatures' in chapter 190.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' has a map with, wouldn't you know it, dragons. This is meant literally, as it signals the dragon's nest.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesInAnAdventureWithScientists'' had the Pirate Captain lamenting that they'll never make it where they're headed in time because -- as he points out on the map -- there's a big sea monster in the way. Charles Darwin (who is traveling with them, [[ItMakesSenseInContext because of reasons]]) asserts that they just put those there for decoration. Sure enough, they make it there without a hitch. [[spoiler:Only to have the ship chomped and spat back out by a ''real'' sea monster just before the end credits.]]
* The credits of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}'' did this with submarines, which appear to serve as stand-ins for whales.
* One Disney-themed map of the world did this with characters from ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl'', during Barbossa and Jack's swordfight, Barbossa gloats over Jack having gotten in way over his head (by, y'know, engaging in single combat with an immortal), taunting him by saying "You're off the edge of the map, matey. Here there be monsters!"
* ''Film/JackbootsOnWhitehall''. The excessive detail of the map of Britain stops abruptly at the Scottish border, which shows [[GrimUpNorth no towns or roads at all]].

* The map in ''Literature/TheHobbit'' depicts the location of Smaug's Lair with the drawing of a dragon, and spiders on the Dark Forest. It also has an arrow pointing off the edge of the plotted area, noting that to the north lies a terrible wasteland "whence came the Great Wyrms".
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Parodied with how tourists' maps of Anhk-Morpork are labelled "Here Be Dragons" to mark the location of the Sunshine Sanctuary For Sick Dragons, a veterinary hospital. The same phrase appears over the actual Sanctuary's entrance as grafitti.
** Elsewhere, we're told that cartographers sometimes got so carried away with drawing sea monsters that they forgot to put the boring countries and so on in at all.
** In a meta example, we have this quote from Terry Pratchett explaining why he didn't provide a map of Discworld the way Tolkien did with Middle Earth (before he changed his mind and released one anyway):
-->''You can't map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs.''
* In a rather wonderful moment in ''Literature/TheHighCrusade'', the narrator (a Medieval monk) criticizes a technologically advanced alien map. Sure, it might be ''accurate'', but its lack of dragons, mermaids, sea serpents and such ornamentation shows a poverty of cultural imagination and depth.
%% ''Literature/GatheringBlue'' had this.
* Discussed in the Literature/LordPeterWimsey story "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head". One of the things that arouses Lord Peter's suspicion of the villain is that he claims to have seen "hic dracones" on the maps in a mediaeval book. Lord Peter, being an actual book collector, knows how unlikely this is.
* Throughout the ''Franchise/StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] novel ''Crosscurrent'' TheHero Jaden Korr uses "There be Dragons...", when thinking about his doubts about himself, the force, and everything.
* There is a fairly obscure book series by James A. Owen that is all about this trope, and cartography in general. The title of the first book is the name of this trope. The series name is ''The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica'', and it's about TheMultiverse of written fiction in one alternate dimension.
* ''Literature/HereBeDragons'' is a science fiction novel whose main character keeps a print of a centuries old map which seems to be a cross between the Lenox globe and the Carta Marina.
* The maps seen at the beginning of T.A. Barron's ''Literature/TheLostYearsOfMerlin'' series feature this, with various creatures depicted in the series, such as kreelixes.
* ''Literature/HitherbyDragons'' takes this trope as its main theme (and indeed, its very title): in the same way as map-makers didn't know what the world was like physically, and thus drew dragons to represent the unknown, Hitherby's characters don't know the answers to big philosophical questions, but still try to find them, in their own ways.
* The non-fiction French book ''Tour du monde des terres françaises oubliées'' ("Circumnavigation of Forgotten French Lands", which is about the obscure tiny isolated islands owned by France: Clipperton, Chesterfield, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, etc) comes with a map indicating the location of the various lands mentioned in the book. [[http://www.liberation.fr/voyages/2014/05/28/une-pluie-de-confettis-tricolores_1027878 The map is decorated with various fantastic creatures]].
* In ''Literature/TheOthers'' book ''Marked In Flesh'' features the embodiment of their analogue of the Atlantic Ocean basically tells humans that she remembers when map-makers would mark the maps of her expanses with "Here there be monsters" and then adds that they should resume labeling the maps as such before laying down the rules by which humanity must abide by if they expect to have any ocean-going vessels survive passage through her domain.
* The novelization for 'Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' has two scientists on the Genesis team, with rather warped senses of humor, create hypothetical maps of the proposed Genesis Planet with one region marked "Here There Be Dragons". By way of explanation, they ask what's the point in giving humanity a strange, new world to explore if there isn't some element of danger? No one's ever quite sure if they're joking or not (Genesis could be programed to create life forms, like plant life, but the main team hadn't coded in animals). While staying the Genesis cave later in the book, [[BrickJoke Saavik's internal monologue mentions her being fairly sure she saw some kind of large, flying reptile in the distance]].
* From ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'''s ''[[Literature/NightLords Throne of Lies]]'' audiodrama, the Navigator Octavia is guiding the ship through an uncharted region of warpspace with the shields easily deflecting the ample lightweight creatures there. Then they get the attention of a huge predator capable of swallowing the ship whole, the sort of thing that maps would mark with this trope. When Octavia realizes they can't outrun it, she tells the captain to make an emergency translation back into realspace.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': [[https://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/harrypotter/images/f/f9/Wizarding_Schools_Map_LR.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20161210200610 The map showing the location of the world's wizarding schools]], styled after early world maps from the age of exploration, embraces this trope as part of the wizarding world's general old-time esthetic: besides the somewhat tentative geography (Antartica is barely outlined and North America's north-western corner is conspicuously missing), it features various creatures such as what appears to be an asian buffalo (somehow in North America), a rhino and long-legged pig-like creatures on the landmasses; a hippocampus, a mermaid and ships and sea serpents in the ocean; and ornate drawings of the actual schools marking their locations. In addition, there are elaborate illustrations of scenes from around the world filling in the empty corners of the paper around the map, similar to how many maps were rendered historically.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* On ''Series/HeadOfTheClass'' Billy Connolly referenced this in the context of showing off the new world maps the school bought - he said the other ones were so old they had "Here dragons be" indicators.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the opening of "The Last of the Time Lords" reveals that the planet Earth and our entire solar system was declared strictly off-limits by the rest of the universe, after Master seized control of the planet during "[[AlternateTimeline The Year]] [[ResetButton That Never Was]]".
* Discussed by [[BigBad Lorne Malvo]] in the pilot of ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' while attempting to warn off an inquisitive traffic cop, suggesting that poking into his affairs will not end any better than attempting to chart such seas.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode, "Where Silence Has Lease", while the Enterprise explores an unexplained spatial anomaly, Picard and Riker commented on the superstitions of ancient sailors on Earth during or before the Dark Ages. Picard mentions "Beyond this place, there be dragons."

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' marks its map of the [[GrimUpNorth northlands]] and [[MysteriousAntarctica southern wastes]] '[[TheLegionsOfHell Here There Be Daemons]]'. ''They're right.''
** One sourcebook has a Skaven map which uses the Skaven vernacular, in which the Chaos Wastes, populated, if at all, by mutant monstrosities, is labeled [[BuffySpeak "Thing-Things"]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has [[SpaceWhale space monsters]] on its star charts. Again, they're ''right''.
** In the verse of [=40K=], there are plenty of anomalies and navigational hazards popping up across the galaxy. [[GhostShip Ghost ships, Space Hulks]], [[NegativeSpaceWedgie Warp Storms and Rifts]], [[LostAtSea areas beyond the Astronomicon]], nomadic black holes...
** An Ork map describing the known space around a particular area included the [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace Eye of Terror]], which was unexplored, and was simply called "Da Big Swirly Fing".
* ''TabletopGame/HcSvntDracones'' has it in the title. It largely refers to the horrors of post-nuclear armageddon Earth, which the Corporations of Mars, Venus, and Jupiter largely aren't even going to touch.

[[folder:The Other Wiki]]
* An [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_be_dragons article on the subject]] with plenty of both RealLife and fictional examples.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/WarioLand: The Shake Dimension'' had [[http://www.mariowiki.com/images/0/02/Wlsi_shake_dimension_map.jpg one of these maps.]] Note the mermaid, sea serpent and octopus-like creature in various points on the map and the old-fashioned compass (itself something many of these maps also contain).
* [[http://static.tibia.com/images/library/map_big.jpg The Map of]] ''VideoGame/{{Tibia}}'' has several monsters and creatures filling in the sea areas, including a {{Cthulhumanoid}}, a whale, a sea turtle, a {{kraken|and leviathan}}, a SharkMan, and two sea serpents, sharing space with a ship and a large cloud bank.
* Fanciful illustrations can be found on the in-game ''VideoGame/{{Arcanum}}'' world map, in keeping with the setting. Most of these pictures are of animals not found in that locale, or at all, but at least one provides a little hint of what you'll find there.
* ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' had the actual line ''"Here Be Dragons"'' on a globe in the observatory.
* An EasterEgg in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoChinatownWars'' references the trope: swim out to any of the four corner of the game map, and you'll find a sign with old-script telling you that "Here Be Dragons", which is as good a HandWave as any for why you can't get away from Liberty City.
* In ''Return to Ravenhearst'', the schoolroom where Rose's daughters were indoctrinated by Charles Dalimar has a crude outline of England and Wales on its wall map, in which everything else is blank and marked "unknown". No actual monsters are depicted, but the creepiness of the script implies that horrible things lurk beyond the borders.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Risen}}'' while there's no mention on the map, if you go out too far into the sea, a giant sea monster bursts out of the water and eats you. Humorously, you'll wake up on the beach a bit later without any harm. Observe [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUfkXsG5tc8 here]].
* In the intro to the original ''VideoGame/{{Colonization}}'' your colony ship sails across one of these, encountering various sea serpents and anthropomorphic storm clouds as it goes.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge'' where the map shows the three main islands as well as a bunch of superfluous symbols in the blank areas. Clicking anywhere near them makes Captain Dread exclaim "We can't go there, mon. That's the forbidden triangle", or any other shape, including elliptic hyperboloid.
* ''MinerVGA'' will display "Here Be Dragons" if you try to go off the left or right edges of the playable area. Yes, even if you do it underground. But then again, [[FridgeBrilliance don't dragons live in]] ''[[FridgeBrilliance caves]]''?
* The ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresII'' expansion includes a Viking mission where you have to get to the New World. To avoid the simple idea of sailing around Greenland, there's some odd water to the South that destroyes your ships. After conquering some of Greenland, the area's revealed by the computer, showing the shape of a dragon on the minimap.
* In ''VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople: Strong Badia the Free'', the map has a drawing of Strong Bad's dragon Trogdor on it, labeled "Here Be Trogdors".
* ''VideoGame/BattlefleetGothicArmada'': The opening cinematic starts with a shot of a star map featuring illustrations of numerous space monsters between the various star systems and sectors, including a serpent, a kraken-like beast, and a monstrous leviathan. Considering what kind of universe ''40k'' is, these are likely realistic depictions of very real dangers in those areas of space.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} VI'' dragons, sea serpents and compass roses will appear on unexplored areas of the map. And explored areas under the fog of war is rendered as monochrome line drawings of cities and terrain as found in old-fashioned maps.
* ''VideoGame/WolfensteinIITheNewColossus''. A conspiracy nutter has a map of Area51 on his RoomFullOfCrazy, with the lower vault marked only as "Weird Shit".
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series backstory, Topal the Pilot was an [[OurElvesAreBetter Aldmeri]] BoldExplorer and [[WarriorPoet poet]] who was the first to discover and explore Tamriel during the Merethic Era. A skilled cartographer, Topal was on an in-universe CartographySidequest from the Aldmer to explore and document Tamriel's inland regions, which were very mysterious to them at the time. While he didn't encounter actual [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]] (that we know of), he did encounter "cat demons", "human lizards", (believed to be primitive ancestors of the [[CatFolk Khajiit]] and [[LizardFolk Argonians]] respectively) "bat lizards" (believed to be related to Morrowind's Cliff Racers), and a race of now-extinct "BirdPeople".
* The world map of ''VideoGame/NiNoKuniIIRevenantKingdom'' is illustrated in this style, with a picture of a sea-monster and a mermaid.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Political sketches: [[http://www.welfarestate.com/map/ This]] map of how [[EagleLand Americans]] see the world. Africa and South America are shown as misshapen purple blobs, labeled "Here Be Dragons" and "no civilization, people eat each other here". Australia is in a similar state, but is just marked "Here Be... Something Else." To the north, there's a white hemisphere stating that "Santa Claus lives here".
* Another [[http://jaysimons.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-the-World-Stereotypes-456055567 Map of the World Stereotypes]] is absolutely full of this, with highlights including the Land of Snow Giants in northern Greenland, Jormungandr off the coast, "Here be Two-Headed Dogs" in northern Siberia, "Here be Ghost Ships" north of Antartica, and a label of "{{Sea Monster}}s" over the Sea of Japan, [[{{Kaiju}} of course]].
** By the same artist, the [[http://jaysimons.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-Prehistoric-Stereotypes-492775139 Map of Prehistoric Stereotypes]] has helpful warnings throughout of things like Water Monsters, a Carnivorous Lake, Charcharodon {{Megalodon}}, [[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire White Walkers]], and, of course, "Here be Saber-Toothed Dragons" and "Hic Sunt Leones".
* ''Machinima/FreemansMind'': In one episode Gordon Freeman encounters an utterly useless map and mocks it by using this trope:
--->'''[=Freeman=]:''' Oh sweet a map! Ok so where am I ... which way's North? Maintenance shaft ... that .. could be anything; half this building is a maintenance shaft. What's that big room, is that where the monster is? What about this radiation pit? High voltage ... that has to be where I came from. But what the hell is with these distances then? Why are parts of this map grayed out? Is it haunted? WHY IS THERE NO EXIT ON THIS MAP? Is there a landmark ...? This map is bullshit; I'm gonna find my own way out of here. That map has to be bogus; it only lists one area as being dangerous. It needs to have, like, 30. You could even write "Here be dragons" on it, and it would almost be more accurate than nothing at all.
* LetsPlay/RoahmMythril's [[http://www.dragonsoftstudio.com/ website]] uses this. (Though there's just [[UsefulNotes/FurryFandom one dragon]] in this case.)
* ''Website/TheOnion'' article "[[http://www.theonion.com/article/midwest-discovered-between-east-west-coasts-1686 "Midwest" Discovered Between East, West Coasts]]" has a map of FlyoverCountry styled this way, complete with "Here there be tractor pulls".

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/256/ Map of Online Communities]] "Here be [[UsefulNotes/FurryFandom anthromorphic dragons]]"
%%Broken link * [[http://www.wapsisquare.com/d/20090227.html This]] ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'' strip.
* ''Webcomic/YetAnotherFantasyGamerComic'' has, according to an old tome, "[[http://yafgc.net/comic/0471-the-tomb-of-temshutep/ a deadly labyrinth filled with creatures most foul]]". Given that the members of this specific party are [[MonsterAdventurers drow, half-orc, hobgoblin, minotaur and illithid]], their reaction is... rather predictable.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Endtown}}'' maps of the post-apocalyptic surface world are a bit... [[http://www.gocomics.com/endtown/2009/04/23 inadequate]]. As in, they're literally nothing but a north arrow and "here be dragons".
--> '''Al''': Well, at least they know about the ''dragons''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': In an episode where Homer went on a sea voyage, it was [[TravelMontage montaged by a dotted line]] traveling across such a map. [[LampshadeHanging He crashed into the compass rose, and avoided the sea serpent outright]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': [[http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/c/cb/Map_of_Equestria_April_2013.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130403195243 Hasbro released an official map of Equestria in early August 2012.]] A remark in the lower right corner tells the reader of the dragons' whereabouts, to the southeast, with the words, "Dragons be here." The same map also points out that Griffins live to the east in the same manner. [[DontExplainTheJoke The subversion, of course]], comes from the fact that both are well-known and contacted sapient species in-universe, and so the labels make perfect sense, but are used for entirely different reasons than usual.
** [[http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/a/a4/Map_of_Equestria_2015.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20151205072352 An updated version]] includes an actual dragon coiling in a corner with a warning that "dragons be here", areas marked "Forbidden Jungle", "Undiscovered West", "Mysterious South", "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E8TheLostTreasureOfGriffonstone Arimaspi Territory]]", and "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E9SliceOfLife Bug Bear Territory]]", and a note at the northernmost part of the map saying "Into the Unknown". [[https://derpicdn.net/img/view/2017/10/6/1553160.png A further update]] for [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTheMovie2017 the movie]] includes a sign reading "here be hippogriffs" next to Mount Aris, alongside a picture of a flying hippogriff, and a narwhal swimming in the ocean next to the Great Iceberg Barrier.
** Played straight with the [[ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW IDW comic]]'s [[http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/0/05/Map-south_of_Equestria-scan-IDW_main_series_MLPFiM_comic_2.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131201232927 South of Equestria]] map, which warns "Here there be monkeys, guard your valuables", "Beware the dangers of the Forest, they be too many a number to document", and "Elephant sightings reported".
* WesternAnimation/WanderingWenda: the episode "The Disco Dragon of Detroit" has a "HERE BE DRAGONS" sign which Wenda opens (thinking it a decoy) to find an actual dragon behind it. The Duchess of Disco emerges from the "HERE BE DRESSING ROOMS" door beside it after asking if they opened the dragon door.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* While maps like these ''did'' exist, they were more for the entertainment value for any who would buy them. Maps used in actual navigation were largely devoid of artistic license. In other cases, the phrase "Here be dragons" was used a a general placeholder for "unknown territory", and is thought to originate with komodo dragons, stories of which were known in East Asia, and the same stories likely migrated West over time. In ancient history, Roman and Medieval cartographers instead used the phrase [[DarkestAfrica "Here be Lions"]].
* In "The Map" brand map of the [[BigApplesauce New York City]] Subway system, the island of Manhattan is bordered to the west by an [[ArtisticLicenseGeography abnormally wide Hudson River]] with the various rail lines that cross the river to New Jersey simply vanishing off the edge. While "Here Be Dragons" is not actually written on The Map that or [[{{Joisey}} a similar statement seems to be implied. ]]