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Did Generations of People Believe The Earth Was Flat?

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posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 11:53 AM
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Having read several threads on many topics here at ATS. One statement that seems to pop up on occasion, and used in a derogatory way, is in reference to our ancestors believing the earth was flat during the middle ages. Yet, 5 or 10 minutes of research seems to show an agreement among many sources that the flat earth belief was held by an exceptional few throughout the ages. Today at least, the public and corporate scientific community as a whole, neither buy into this, nor do they propagate it. Yet the fallacy of the flat earth belief of middle agers seems to hang on with the general population despite many attempts by science, religion, and laymen to dispel it. It has been said that because the belief found it's way into school textbooks, this has gone a long way toward perpetuating the myth that generations of people believed the earth was flat. Although I personally remember one of my teachers in grade school teaching this as fact, I cannot tell you if she was referencing a textbook, or if she pulled it from her own belief system. Even Aristotle has been blamed as progenitor and perpetuator of this belief. Yet a quick search points to a general concensus that he and other greeks of his time taught the earth was round, and measured it. As to the middle ages, I can only find two main proponents of this teaching, and a handful of lesser known ones. Namely Lactantius and Cosmas. Copernicus mentions the former in his 1543 book as an example of the ignorance of round earth opponents. Stating that it was akin to those who believed in geocentricity in his own time. As a final reference point. I would like to mention Jeffrey Burton Russell's book "Inventing The Flat Earth". Not because I think it is the definitive work on the subject, but rather because it seems to be a thorough investigation into the history of the topic, and one I myself plan to read more of. I could have listed numerous sources here, but information on this is so abundant from google and others, I felt it redundant when anyone can find it for themselves in minutes. Besides, I would rather see what fellow ATS'ers come up with.
My main questions, and points of interest would be:

Do you now, or have you ever believed, that those in the middle ages thought the earth was flat? Yes? No? Why?

Were you taught in school that this was a common held belief in the middle ages? If so, please share details.

Can anyone quote a school textbook, or instructor, that has propagated this belief?

Can anyone show any text from any book that gives a reason for believing this was a common belief held by our ancestors?

If this is a myth, that has been perpetuated for hundreds of years, what else has been perpetuated about what our ancestors believed, that may be just as laden with error as this one?

Any links, quotes, comments, and personal thoughts would also be welcomed.




posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:01 PM
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I for one know the earth is round.. I travel alot in planes, around the earth.. and I never seen "the edge"

90% of all muslims does infact still belive the earth is flat.. lol

Funny clip about a scientist trying to convince the muslim people





posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:06 PM
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I was taught in school that everyone during the time of colombus believed that the earth was flat, and they said, "don't go across the sea, you'll fall off, the earth is flat columbus!!!" I was told that people laughed and ridiculed Christopher Columbus, and that he was the only brave soul to "sail the ocean blue, in 1492".

I've been lied to, and it is strategic.
It wasn't until I studied Geography in College that the question started rising. The Piri Reis Map, is just one of the questions that came to mind. Eratosthenes is another, a famous greek mathematician, best known for measuring the curvature of the earth.

I think the conditioning is deliberate. They are educating us wrong, so that we have cultural amnesia, and cannot recognize our ancestors for who they truly were. They are making caricatures of us.
edit on 27-11-2010 by leira7 because:




posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:06 PM
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I remember being taught this when I was young. I remember my teacher saying how Columbus believed the Earth was round when everyone else was afraid of falling off an "endless waterfall" or something to that extent.

Haha what a joke! I honestly don't believe that's how it happened AT ALL. I mean, one can observe that the moon itself is round because of its cycles between full and new, and that it obviously revolves around the Earth. When I was younger I bough this story but not now, I would hope that they had more common sense than that back in the day!



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:12 PM
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There is a WIKI article which is a useful introduction to the theory.

Also i found the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY homepage which give their reasons for believing.

Hope these links help



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:15 PM
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From a 2 dimensional point of view the earth is flat.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:25 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 

Out of curiosity, I've just looked up one of my childhood books, a children's encyclopedia called "The Modern Children's Library of Knowledge".
It describes Columbus' thinking "If the world was round, and some learned men thought it was...", and later talks of the panic of his sailors as they reached the Sargasso Sea. "the men thought it was the weed that collected at the edge of the world, and Columbus had to stop a mutiny".
If there is any kind of truth in that last story, it may be the case that less educated people had not taken on board the roundness of the world.
Anyway, I doubt if anyone deliberately started the myth that "everybody thought the world was flat". I think it's just an example of the attractiveness of over-simplification.
There is.of course, a classic example of round-earth teaching in Dante's Inferno, when Dante goes down to the centre of the earth, continues onwards, and thus finds himself climbing up again.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:29 PM
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reply to post by Vandalour
 

Interesting video! According to some muslim doctors, the vast majority of especially younger muslims, do not believe the earth is flat. And they do not believe the quran says it is. It is only the older muslims who seem to want to perpetuate this. To what end I'm not sure.

Thanks for posting this.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:31 PM
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reply to post by leira7
 

I'm not sure of your age. Is this being perpetuated today as well in the classroom? How long ago were you taught this?



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by Klassified
 

Out of curiosity, I've just looked up one of my childhood books, a children's encyclopedia called "The Modern Children's Library of Knowledge".
It describes Columbus' thinking "If the world was round, and some learned men thought it was...", and later talks of the panic of his sailors as they reached the Sargasso Sea. "the men thought it was the weed that collected at the edge of the world, and Columbus had to stop a mutiny".
If there is any kind of truth in that last story, it may be the case that less educated people had not taken on board the roundness of the world.
Anyway, I doubt if anyone deliberately started the myth that "everybody thought the world was flat". I think it's just an example of the attractiveness of over-simplification.
There is.of course, a classic example of round-earth teaching in Dante's Inferno, when Dante goes down to the centre of the earth, continues onwards, and thus finds himself climbing up again.



I guess one of my questions would be whether the intent was to allow the lower classes to continue believing the earth was flat.

I did find this quote. It may be this is some slight evidence that it really was started intentionally.

"... No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat. The idea was established, almost contemporaneously, by a Frenchman and an American, between whom I have not been able to establish a connection, though they were both in Paris at the same time. One was Antoine-Jean Letronne (1787-1848), an academic of strong antireligious prejudices who had studied both geography and patristics and who cleverly drew upon both to misrepresent the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth, in his On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers (1834)." Got that from this link.

www.asa3.org...



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:45 PM
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reply to post by HEREFORD 1969
 

Thanks for the links. I did not know there was a Flat Earth Society". I'll have to do some reading there.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 12:50 PM
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Any fan of QI should know that it actually wasn't a widely held belief.

It seems to be a myth, possibly more intended to glorify Columbus. It's kind of viewed as "Look at the idiots I had to deal with!"

As I recall Stephen Fry saying (and I trust his opinion on almost everything implicitly :lol
most scholars of the time already knew that the Earth was not flat. I think he suggested the evidence shows they thought it to be either perfectly spheroid or a more extreme oblate-spheroid than it is.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 01:27 PM
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At least since the Moon capture the disk shape had to be a solid giveaway that
all things in the cosmos was round.
With or with out the knowledge people sailed around the world in the BC and
especially before 400 AD and the fall of Rome as a commerce center to east.
The America's had shipped gold to Egypt long before Columbus set foot.
Were the Spanish surprised to see native Americans with hoards of gold.
Not to the elite who sent out the sailors.
Oh by the way, Shakespeare was a sailor, the real one Marlowe who sailed
to Bermuda an English colony with the voyage used by his friend Cervantes.
That two sailing stories instead of the flat one the elite tell us.
Ready for the History Book of Lies because its taking shape.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by detachedindividual

It seems to be a myth, possibly more intended to glorify Columbus. It's kind of viewed as "Look at the idiots I had to deal with!"



I agree,
and it's even more revealing in the larger context.

While Columbus' crew was Christian, they had just been
freed from Islamic rule, almost, the day before by Queen Isabella.

Columbus, on the other hand, was self educated throughout Europe.


David Grouchy



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 02:07 PM
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reply to post by davidgrouchy
 


My understanding is that Columbus was actually a Scot, not a Spaniard. I believe I read it from Manly Hall?



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 02:12 PM
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No they didn't!




posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 02:24 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 

Here is one of those threads I love, out the box thinking.


First off about the Earth being a sphere and not flat, 100% proof? Yep we certainly have that....supplied by who? Everything we know is basically what we've been told.
I myself haven't had the privalege to just pop up therre and have a look with my own eyes. I like the rest of you were told or shown. Books and media and education.
What if the world was flat? Who knows.
BUT
If what you have learnt you believe then the 2arth is indeed a sphere.
This next part is off topic but something I've tried to have answered but what if we are in fact inside our planet and not on. Also I'm right in believing that our brains actually flip our vision because if it didn't everything was upside down? If that's fact then would it seem we were inside?
When you look at the horizon? You will be "IN" the earth?



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 02:32 PM
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Sorry I got a little confused with the OP..

I don't remember anyone ever teaching me that people believed it was flat at school or anywhere else, it's always been a puzzle to me why people think that people thought it was flat.
It would seem counter intuitive to people being able to navigate ships for one thing
edit on 27-11-2010 by davespanners because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 02:51 PM
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The idea that people in the Middle Ages were a bunch of ignorant people came mostly from the people that came after them and they started treating the Middle Ages as a kind of ignorant era between the Classic (Greek and Roman) Ages and their own Renaissance ideas, that were mostly a rebirth of the classical ideas.

It was really an era in which there was a big evolution in almost all the fields, from agriculture to science.

As for Columbus (who was Italian, or, more correctly, from Genoa), he was trying to prove that the Earth was smaller than other people said it was, his idea being that he could navigate to the west to reach Asia and get access to the important (even then) Asian market, mostly of spices.

The Portuguese had already found that they could circumnavigate Africa, so they were not interested in that journey, besides thinking that the Earth was too big for that voyage to be succesful (if it wasn't for the American continent Columbus voyage would have ended with all the men dying of thirst before reaching Asia), and, according to some people, Portugal already knew that there was a continent there that was not Asia, and the discovery of Brazil was not an accident, two eight years after Columbus' voyage.
edit on 27/11/2010 by ArMaP because: it was eight years later.




posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 03:13 PM
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Originally posted by davidgrouchy
While Columbus' crew was Christian, they had just been
freed from Islamic rule, almost, the day before by Queen Isabella.

No, Columbus' crew had men from all over Europe, and only the southern part of Spain had been just freed from Islamic rule.



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