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Who first suspected the earth was a sphere?

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posted on May, 9 2005 @ 05:31 PM
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Which person or people first suspected the earth was a sphere?




posted on May, 9 2005 @ 05:36 PM
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It's pretty old knowlege. The Bible touches on the idea in Job, and the Ancient Greeks had the distance around the planet (equitorial) nailed pretty closely. It was during the dark ages that that knowlege, and a lot more, was lost and had to be rediscovered. Heck, we may have been driving cars and flying planes 400 years earlier had the dark ages not come along!



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 05:50 PM
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Hey,
Well, we know the greeks, Chinese, Indians(not native americans), and egyptians all believe/knew the earth was a sphere, as well as i think some middle eastern civilizations as well i think. As junglejake said, the bible touches on it as well.
I'm not sure who probably figured it out first, although my guess would be with the far eastern countries(china, India...).
-Dani



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 05:50 PM
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I personally think a LOT of the ancients figured it out.

Aristarchus of Samos (~250 BC) relative sizes and distance of the earth sun and moon based on the earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse

Eristosthenes (also ~250 BC) calculated the size of the earth based on the fact that the Sun is overhead on March 21 in Southern Egypt, and several degrees below the Zenith at Alexandria. He hired professional "pacers" to measure the distance, and solved a pythagorian triangle to arrive at the radius of the earth. He was accurate within about 3%, as I remembers. His experiment was world-famous, and still written of in the middle ages.

Seleucus of Babylon may have been another.

If I remember right, Heroditus (~500 BC) mentions the earth as a globe, as well.

Throughout the middle ages, many writers spoke of the earth as a globe. For instance, the Eddas mention that the earth is like an apple, hanging in front of a candle. The equator of the candle is slowly cooked, while to poles are still cold . . . One Edda mentions that the north star is 2/3 of the way to the zenith in Sweden, but only as high as one hand resting on the knee of a man lying on his back (30 degrees) in Jerusalem. From this, they conjectured that the earth was a ball. It shows Medieval logic ( and travel) in 1000 AD.

Aristotle was a great thinker but a poor scientist. And the church officially approved of his philosophy, so that his endorsement of the Ptolemaic model of the solar system became dogma. It was only questioned by Copernicus. He pointed out that Aristotle also said that horses have 48 teeth, and produced a horse's skull with 32.

That said, a lot of people didn't subscribe to Aristotle's science, or his philosophy. A lot of Neoplatonists knew he was full of horse-hockey, they just didn't want to fight Tomas Aquinas and the "Doctors" of the church.

Isn't google a wonderful thing?



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 06:18 PM
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First to discover the earth to be a globe was the guy who after a long walk wound up back at his house prior to falling off the edge.



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 07:23 PM
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Or at least the ancient Egyptians (long before the Greeks). The Earth's circumference is encoded in the stonework of the Great Pyramid.

On a more mundane note, the first log canoe to go over the horizon (about three miles out) would've provided enough data for a good guess.



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 07:26 PM
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Originally posted by periwinkle blue
First to discover the earth to be a globe was the guy who after a long walk wound up back at his house prior to falling off the edge.


While he was right, the irony was that he got really drunk, started to take a walk around the block, passed out, had a dream about walking to the edge of the world, and in his dream he was knocked unconscious by a falling rock. He woke up seemlessly from the dream and proceeded to walk home, now convinced the Earth was a sphere.



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 08:12 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
It's pretty old knowlege. The Bible touches on the idea in Job, and the Ancient Greeks had the distance around the planet (equitorial) nailed pretty closely...


Job predates all the other candidates given here. The Book of Job is so old scholars have yet not really dated the story, and similar accounts are found in many diverse cultures around the world -- a cultural universal.

A quick scan of Job did not turn up the chapter and verse. Do you have it handy? Something like "...and is not the earth an orb suspended from the hand of God?...". I remember the quote from the study of that Book but cannot recall it verbatim.



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 11:49 PM
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Originally posted by Chakotay
Or at least the ancient Egyptians (long before the Greeks). The Earth's circumference is encoded in the stonework of the Great Pyramid.

No, actually the earth's circumfrence isn't encoded there.

For one thing, it's an oblate spheroid and not a true sphere. And the land mass centers aren't where the map shows them (you have to fudge a lot of land shapes and ignore Antarctica.)



posted on May, 9 2005 @ 11:56 PM
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Originally posted by dave_54Job predates all the other candidates given here. The Book of Job is so old scholars have yet not really dated the story, and similar accounts are found in many diverse cultures around the world -- a cultural universal.

A quick scan of Job did not turn up the chapter and verse. Do you have it handy? Something like "...and is not the earth an orb suspended from the hand of God?...". I remember the quote from the study of that Book but cannot recall it verbatim.


Probably the reason you're having trouble is that Job clearly indicates the Earth is flat like a carpet:

"take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it" (Job 38:12-13)

"The earth takes shape like clay under a seal." (Job 38:14)
(clay under a seal is rolled flat.)

Job 37:3
"Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth."

Job 26:10
He has described a circle upon the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness
(not a sphere.)
...and a whole bunch of verses here that show the writers of the Bible believe the Earth to be flat:
hypertextbook.com...


(oddly enough, I might be persuaded that the Hindus also discovered it was a sphere about the same time as Eratosthenes, but I think I'd need some verses to check before I gave complete confidence in that.)



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 01:08 AM
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Thanks for these quotes byrd.

I have discovered there are some who think the ancient Sumerians may have known the earth was round, although not having read the book I don't know why.

Lost discoveries: the ancient roots of modern science from the babalonians to the maya


Science journalist Teresi (coauthor of The God Particle) has combed the literature to catalogue the scientific advances made by early non-Western societies and to determine their impact on Western science. His work spans millennia and encompasses the full extent of the globe. He points out, for example, that five millennia ago the Sumerians concluded that the earth was round.


[edit on 10-5-2005 by judge]

[edit on 10-5-2005 by judge]



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 07:07 AM
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I would expect any culture capable of maritime travel would quickly discover the Earth was round. The real question should be: were there any civilisations that didn't think the Earth was round!

And whilst the French peasant farmers may not have know the shape of the Earth in the Dark Ages, I'm pretty sure the Vikings did



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 11:49 AM
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Byrd is obvioiusly correct with the references to Job; however there are Bible verses that can be twisted into such a thing as an orb-earth. But then, the Hebrews were using cosmology to describe spiritual truth, and not the other way around.

I'm sure you can find manuscripts from every culture that speak of the earth as "the world around" and that sort of thing.

How seriously does the English Speaking world really "believe" in a round earth?

Sunrise, sunset

"Up" used for North, when discussing geography

The four corners of the globe (!)

The "seven seas" (which are all connected)

"across the pond" when referring to travel between Europe and Americas.

Middle East

Far East ( but yet there is not "far west")

latitudes and longitudes are not give unique numbers (1 in 360), but are given + or - signs to show which direction is meant.

So, you can argue that the ancient Hebrews didn't know squat, but that the Inuuit did; but the whole question becomes a study in other people's semantics




posted on May, 10 2005 @ 12:19 PM
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The descent of man-PartII
Pythagoras (6th Century BCE) taught in his school in Crotona that the Earth was a sphere. Aristarchus of Samos (3rd Century BCE) realised that the Earth span round the sun and he even added that all the planets did likewise.

Eratosthenes (3rd Century BCE - left), the custodian of the Alexandria Library, worked out the circumference of the planet. He noted that due south at Syene the sun was directly overhead on midsummer’s day and seven degrees from vertical at Alexandria on the same day. From this and knowledge of geography he was able to work out the figures he required. There was a discrepancy of only 80km between his figure for the polar diameter and the modern figure.

"The Earth spins on its axis once in 24 hours." Heraclides of Pontus noted in the 4th Century BC. Seleucus of Erythrea (2nd Century BCE) also recognised the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the sun.

Up until Victorian times, scholars and clerics in the west believed that the Earth was only a few thousand years old, yet ancient Brahmin texts estimated that the universe was 4,320 million years old; today we believe it to be around 4,600 million years.

The ancient Indian astronomical text Surya Siddhanta recorded that the Earth ‘is a globe in space’. In the book Huang Ti-Ping King Su Wen, Chi-Po advised the Yellow Emperor (2697-2597 BCE) that ‘the Earth floats in space’. Over four thousand years later, Galileo was condemned for proposing such heresy. Plutarch (left) cites Aristarchus (3rd Century BCE) "The earth revolves in an oblique circle while it rotates at the same time about its own axis." (Plutarch also made a suggestion about our Moon: "If you regard her as a star or a certain divine and heavenly body, I am afraid she will prove deformed and foul.")

The ancient book of India, Rig-Veda makes reference to the ‘three earths’ one within the other. Indeed there are three sections to the Earth; the core, mantle and crust. Diogenes of Apollonia (5th Century BCEt) stated that meteors "move in space and frequently fall to the earth".

www.violations.org.uk...

Baloria



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 04:13 PM
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Dave_54,

You may be thinking of Job 26:7.... "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing."

I also have a different 'read' on the idea of the clay and seal....the verse (Job 38: 14 "It is turned as clay to the seal;....") seems, to me, to hint that the clay turns ( as on a potters wheel....as the earth rotates in space)

While seals are usually thought of as being applied to flat surfaces, as this link mentions, they were also applied to vessels. The cylinder shaped seals would be applied to a wet clay pot as it turned on the wheel, creating a continous design. -more



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 05:12 PM
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My guess is the Summerians.........they seem to have known a great deal about the planets.



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 05:45 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

Byrd is obvioiusly correct with the references to Job; however there are Bible verses that can be twisted into such a thing as an orb-earth. But then, the Hebrews were using cosmology to describe spiritual truth, and not the other way around.


Yes and don't forget that for most purposes we can say that the earth is flat. Even scientifically we can assume a flat earth to do may calculations.
It actually works thinking the earth is flat, if we are using small areas.



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 06:02 PM
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I have spoken very much on this board about the false notion that ancients believed the world was flat. The Job reference surprises me - I never ran across that before.

Any civilization that has ever taken to the waters has known the sail of a ship to appear before the hull and the peak of a mountain to appear before the body, and thus had deduced that the earth was round. It really wasn't such an intellectual stretch because man had the spherical sun, moon, and stars to gaze at.

Zip



posted on May, 10 2005 @ 07:42 PM
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NO! You guys are all wrong! My old text books from grade school to high school clearly state that everyone thought the world was flat and that Colombus was crazy for thinking it was round and that he could sail around the earth. Therefore, Colombus was clearly the culprit of this radical and rather knew idea.



posted on May, 11 2005 @ 08:45 AM
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I seem to remember one of the ancient greeks describing how the earth would look as one was rising, as a patchwork ball of green and blue....

I think it was Plato, but would have to search for the exact passage..........




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