This article is about cosmologies pritchard ancient near eastern texts pdf which Earth was held to be flat. For the modern misconception about medieval European cosmology, see Myth of the flat Earth. Earth and sticks his head through the firmament.
The flat Earth model is an archaic conception of Earth’s shape as a plane or disk. In the modern era, pseudoscientific flat Earth theories have been espoused by modern flat Earth societies and, increasingly, by unaffiliated individuals using social media. In early Egyptian and Mesopotamian thought, the world was portrayed as a disk floating in the ocean. Both Homer and Hesiod described a disc cosmography on the Shield of Achilles. Thales thought the earth floated in water like a log. It has been argued, however, that Thales actually believed in a round Earth. Belief in a flat Earth continued into the 5th century BC.
Earth was flat, and his pupil Archelaus believed that the flat Earth was depressed in the middle like a saucer, to allow for the fact that the Sun does not rise and set at the same time for everyone. Hecataeus of Miletus believed the earth was flat and surrounded by water. And Jafnhárr said: “Of the blood, which ran and welled forth freely out of his wounds, they made the sea, when they had formed and made firm the earth together, and laid the sea in a ring round. If you take a lighted candle and set it in a room, you may expect it to light up the entire interior, unless something should hinder, though the room be quite large. But if you take an apple and hang it close to the flame, so near that it is heated, the apple will darken nearly half the room or even more. In ancient China, the prevailing belief was that the Earth was flat and square, while the heavens were round, an assumption virtually unquestioned until the introduction of European astronomy in the 17th century.
Chinese thought on the form of the earth remained almost unchanged from early times until the first contacts with modern science through the medium of Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth century. This analogy with a curved egg led some modern historians, notably Joseph Needham, to conjecture that Chinese astronomers were, after all, aware of the Earth’s sphericity. In a passage of Zhang Heng’s cosmogony not translated by Needham, Zhang himself says: “Heaven takes its body from the Yang, so it is round and in motion. Earth takes its body from the Yin, so it is flat and quiescent”. The point of the egg analogy is simply to stress that the earth is completely enclosed by heaven, rather than merely covered from above as the Kai Tian describes.
Further examples cited by Needham supposed to demonstrate dissenting voices from the ancient Chinese consensus actually refer without exception to the Earth being square, not to it being flat. As noted in the book Huainanzi, in the 2nd century BC Chinese astronomers effectively inverted Eratosthenes’ calculation of the curvature of the Earth to calculate the height of the sun above the earth. When a ship is at the horizon, its lower part is obscured due to the curvature of the Earth. Pythagoras in the 6th-century BC and Parmenides in the 5th-century stated that the Earth is spherical, the spherical view spread rapidly in the Greek world. In the 2nd century BC, Crates of Mallus devised a terrestrial sphere that divided the Earth into four continents, separated by great rivers or oceans, with people presumed living in each of the four regions. Earth, because he considered that an infinite universe had no center towards which heavy bodies would tend.
Thus, he thought the idea of animals walking around topsy-turvy under the Earth was absurd. The Vedic texts depict the cosmos in many ways. The earliest Indian cosmological texts picture the earth as one of a stack of flat disks. They are also described as bowls or leather bags, yielding a concave model. By about the 5th century CE, the siddhanta astronomy texts of South Asia, particularly of Aryabhata, assume a spherical earth as they develop mathematical methods for quantitative astronomy for calendar and time keeping. The medieval Indian texts called the Puranas describe the earth as a flat-bottomed, circular disk with concentric oceans and continents. It has long been debated how and when the spherical conception arose in Indian astronomical models.
Detailed records, particularly about the observational practices have not survived. During the early Church period, the spherical view continued to be widely held, with some notable exceptions. Early Christian beliefs mention a number of ideas about the shape of the earth. Athenagoras, an eastern Christian writing around the year 175 CE said, “The world, being made spherical, is confined within the circles of heaven. But as to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours that is on no ground credible. The view generally accepted by scholars of Augustine’s work is that he shared the common view of his contemporaries that the Earth is spherical, in line with his endorsement of science in De Genesi ad litteram. Apparently Augustine saw this picture as more useful for scriptural exegesis than the global earth at the centre of an immense universe.
Yet other historians, however, do not view Augustine’s scriptural commentaries as endorsing any particular cosmological model. Diodorus’ opinion on the matter is known only from a later criticism. Earth is flat and the sun does not pass under it in the night, but “travels through the northern parts as if hidden by a wall”. Early medieval Christian writers in the early Middle Ages felt little urge to assume flatness of the earth, though they had fuzzy impressions of the writings of Ptolemy, Aristotle, and relied more on Pliny. With the end of Roman civilization, Western Europe entered the Middle Ages with great difficulties that affected the continent’s intellectual production. On the Trinity, repeated the Macrobian model of the Earth in the center of a spherical cosmos in his influential, and widely translated, Consolation of Philosophy.
Etymologies, diverse views such as that the Earth “resembles a wheel” resembling Anaximander in language and the map that he provided. This was widely interpreted as referring to a disc-shaped Earth. 8th century, discussed or taught some geographical or cosmographical ideas that St Boniface found sufficiently objectionable that he complained about them to Pope Zachary. Some authorities have suggested that the sphericity of the Earth was among the aspects of Vergilius’s teachings that Boniface and Zachary considered objectionable. A recent study of medieval concepts of the sphericity of the Earth noted that “since the eighth century, no cosmographer worthy of note has called into question the sphericity of the Earth”. Christian scholars to estimate the circumference of Earth with Eratosthenes’ method.
However Tattersall shows that in many vernacular works in 12th- and 13th-century French texts the Earth was considered “round like a table” rather than “round like an apple”. Portuguese navigation down and around the coast of Africa in the latter half of the 1400s gave wide-scale observational evidence for Earth’s sphericity. In these explorations, the sun’s position moved more northward the further south the explorers travel. Its position directly overhead at noon gave evidence for crossing the equator. The 11th century Ibn Hazm stated, “Evidence shows that the Earth is a sphere but public people say the opposite. He added, “None of those who deserve being Imams for Muslims has denied that Earth is round.
And we have not received anything indicates a denial, not even a single word. The Ming-Chinese Shanhai Yudi Quantu map in the Sancai Tuhui encyclopedia, published in 1609, with translations in English from Roderich Ptak’s “The Sino-European Map”. 1267 by the Persian astronomer Jamal ad-Din, but it is not known to have made an impact on the traditional Chinese conception of the shape of the Earth. In the 17th century, the idea of a spherical Earth spread in China due to the influence of the Jesuits, who held high positions as astronomers at the imperial court. Beginning in the 19th century, a historical myth arose which held that the predominant cosmological doctrine during the Middle Ages was that the Earth was flat. An early proponent of this myth was the American writer Washington Irving, who maintained that Christopher Columbus had to overcome the opposition of churchmen to gain sponsorship for his voyage of exploration.