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Did Generations of People Believe The Earth Was Flat?

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posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 03:48 PM
I've always been under the assumption that the Catholic Church perpetuated such thinking. Much the same as Galileo had to hide his telescopes and observations or risk death. It seemed that the church wanted /needed to have the people thinking it were the center of all.

Obviously the likes of Galileo & Columbus thought differently. Many more probably did too but were afraid to say so. With the risk of death and all. In those times most people didn't travel at all, but anyone who has been at the beach or high on a mountain can see the curvature. Then by looking at the moon and sun, I'll bet most had put 2+2 together, but were afraid to speak out.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 04:15 PM
Yeah this has irked me for some time now, moreso when it is used as an attack against people with differing opinions and beliefs.

The Flat Earth Myth

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 04:20 PM
reply to post by nocents

Although you would be right about the fear of the Catholic church at the time. I'm unable to find any church doctrine that ever taught a flat earth. But I am able to find references to men who perpetuated the myth that the church taught this. You will find a few of their names on page one of this thread, posted by myself and davespanners.

You do address an issue that indirectly goes along with this though. The church having a need for man, or at least christians, to be the center of everything. Is this true of the church as a whole? This might be a thought for a different thread.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 04:23 PM
reply to post by Klassified

Perhaps it wasn’t understood as being flat in the “Horizontal Plane” in the past, but rather all was on a Wall in our vision (independently i.e. each having their own reality or world) as though in 2D, or presented on a "Disc" in the Vertical Plane. (Field of Vision) It is assumed today by many, there is only the one World or Universe.

It is your historians and others, who would have you believe the ancients believed the World was Flat in the "Horizontal Plane", which is untrue and unfounded.

Perhaps it is the Rules or Laws within a Program which produces the illusion of 3D remembering all is interpreted through the Brain.
What we experience may not be what is actually there, but rather a decoded version via the brain which produces our 3D interpretation?

There are two "Worlds" involved.

a. The world as you know it.
b. The Word which produces the world you see.
Perhaps "Quantum Mechanics" is finding this out even though slowly?

It is a Fact, something is producing this World and is Not yet understood.
After all we see the Result; As being the Universe.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 04:49 PM
reply to post by Chadwickus

Thanks for the link to your thread concerning this. Wish now I would have thought to do a search before I posted. I would like to have added it to the OP.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 05:26 PM

Originally posted by davidgrouchy

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

Originally posted by ArMaP

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

I conceed your point,
on the grounds that it is worded with greater precision than mine.

David Grouchy

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 05:46 PM
reply to post by Klassified
I remember reading that novelist Washington Irving wrote it a novel in the 1800's & then it was accepted into modern thinking of older times.

The notion that 15th-century Europeans believed Earth to be flat is derived from a story that was invented in the 1800s and was retold and embellished, with signal results, in a book of fictionalized "history" published by the American novelist Washington Irving. Irving fabricated a scene in which Columbus, suspecting that Earth was spherical, was assailed by ignorant priests who thought that Earth was flat -- and Irving's scene was so compelling that it was widely accepted as fact. The flat-Earth story quickly became a popular piece of pseudohistorical folklore, and it remains popular today among people who have had little education. These evidently include the people who produce "science" books for Prentice Hall.

This article was published in The Textbook Letter
for January-February 1992, accompanying reviews
of Prentice Hall Earth Science.

Fake "History" That Is Flatly Wrong
Lawrence S. Lerner
The writers of Prentice Hall Earth Science say, on page 213:

For thousands of years, most people thought that the earth was flat. But as early as 300 B.C., the ancient Greeks theorized that the earth was round. Yet they still drew maps of a flat earth.
As people explored more of the world, they were able to map large areas of it. In 150 A.D., the famous Greek astronomer Ptolemy made maps that included Europe, Africa, and most of Asia. Even more important, these maps showed the earth as round!

For hundreds of years after Ptolemy's work, mapping was neglected. Much knowledge of the world, as well as the idea of a round earth, was forgotten. In the fourteenth century, interest in Ptolemy's work was renewed. Once again, people believed that the earth might be round. Columbus's voyage to the New World was final proof that it was indeed round.

That multi-layered congeries of nonsense does as much harm by omitting truth as by teaching falsity. Why has Prentice Hall put that fake "history" into a schoolbook?

The sphericity of Earth was known to the Greeks long before 300 B.C., and it appeared in the writings of Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), who was summarizing old knowledge. Indeed, Eratosthenes's excellent and famous measurement of Earth's circumference dates from 250 B.C. or so, long before Ptolemy's time.

Prentice Hall's "history" is not only imaginary but silly. Just why would the ancient Greeks, if they "theorized" that Earth was spherical, persist in drawing maps of an Earth that was flat? For that matter, just how does one tell that a map is showing a flat Earth, not a spherical one? And on what was the Greeks' theorizing based? Why have Prentice Hall's writers failed to cite any of the observations from which the Greeks were able (just as we are) to infer Earth's shape? For example:

One can see farther from a masthead or a tower than from ground-level.

During a lunar eclipse, the shadow that Earth casts on the Moon always has the shape of the shadow that one sphere casts on another.

The length of the shadow cast by a vertical post, at noon, depends on latitude. (This was the basis for Eratosthenes's work.)
Prentice Hall's notions about Columbus are pure fantasy. How did Columbus's trip show that Earth "was indeed round"? One might say that Magellan's expedition (1519-1522) showed something like that, because the expedition eventually regained its home port by sailing ever westward. Columbus, however, did no such thing. Moreover, Prentice Hall's writers are unaware of the historic and scientific setting in which Columbus worked. Knowledge of Earth's shape had not been "forgotten," and it is wrong to say that Columbus and his contemporaries merely "believed" that Earth "might be" spherical. They knew Earth to be spherical, and Columbus himself carried out (and fudged) calculations that reflected this fact. Consider:

Columbus's plan for reaching Asia involved sailing westward at a latitude approximating the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees North), to exploit the northeast trade winds. According to information that had been gained over many centuries, the eastward distance to the Asian coast, at that latitude, was about 8,000 miles; and according to Eratosthenes's findings, the total distance around the world at that latitude was about 23,000 miles. So Columbus's westward voyage would have to cover 15,000 miles (i.e., 23,000 minus 8,000), which was far beyond the range of the ships of the time. This could hardly inspire confidence in the people from whom Columbus would seek political and financial support.

Fortunately for him, however, Eratosthenes's measurement had been repeated by others. Most of the results were close to the one that Eratosthenes had obtained, but a few were substantially larger or smaller. Columbus seized upon the smallest plausible figure, some 17,000 miles; he also assumed that he would find outlying islands long before he got to the Asian coast itself. Now he reasonably could tell prospective supporters that he would have to travel only 5,000 miles (a distance that conceivably could be covered by existing ships) before reaching some kind of land.

In fact, of course, Columbus found land -- not in Asia but in the New World -- after sailing only 3,000 miles. Along the way, he kept a bogus log in which he deliberately understated each day's progress, so that his fearful crew would not know how far they were from home. Even so, the crew came close to mutiny.

Instead of telling this rich history, with all the scientific insights it affords, Prentice Hall's writers provide ignorant fakery. Why?

edit on 27-11-2010 by acrux because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 06:16 PM
reply to post by acrux

Not much I can add to that. It speaks for itself. I do find it interesting that any textbook publisher would release before they research. What does that say about those who use those same textbooks to teach from?

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 06:54 PM
sailors must have known the earth is round, after all, when sailing towards land,they always saw the highest part first, same as when another ship came into view, they saw the top mast first!

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 07:29 PM

Originally posted by leira7
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:

what college did you go to where they taught about bunk/forgeries like the Piri Reis map? That's just bad and speculative academics

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 09:15 PM
In answer, no, I never did believe that people in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat, and no, I was never taught that at school.
If I had believed that, my father would have taught me different... in his family were sailors, and he knew that they knew and always had, even centuries ago, known differently.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 09:26 PM
Yes they did think it was flat and some still do to this day. Now just look at the dumb and crazy stuff some people today believe to be true. A person can be smart in fact very very smart but the human race as a whole are kind of on the dumb side. Just look at the way that just a few smarts ones have the rest so in control and under foot. Stupidty is going to be the down fall of the human race. We are not going to need some outside force to end us we are so dumb we are going to do it to ourselves.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 09:32 PM
i really do believe it was very possible for the majority to believe the earth was flat, even though more educated people did not believe so.

i think some are picturing a world in the 14th century where information was just as easy to get as it is today.
education was different and less common, not for everybody. the standard of education was less, because we knew less about things back then.

sharing information was harder, printing presses were slower, and less common. and if the worthy were anything like today, keeping the general population in ignorance would have its benefits, you know keeping them in fear of just sailing off and populating lands the english empire had yet to discover and conquer as its own.

i think it is very possible people really believed the earth was flat, whilst a few knew the truth and were educated enough to work it out.


edit on 27-11-2010 by lifeform11 because: spelling

edit on 27-11-2010 by lifeform11 because: (no reason given)

edit on 27-11-2010 by lifeform11 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 10:40 PM

Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
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?

His name was Cristoforo Colombo, he was Italian.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 11:13 PM
I think only a small group of people believed the Earth was flat.

I know a large group of people knew the Earth was round because they studied the heavens, and the rotation of the stars and the Moon.

Anyone who witnessed a Lunar Eclipse knew the Earth was round because the curved shadow of the Earth appeared on the Moon. They studied the heavens so they should have known the Earth was between the Sun and the Moon and it casted a shadow on the Moon.

I don't see why anyone would ever think the Earth was flat. I would believe it was just a myth many ignorantly believed.
edit on 27-11-2010 by 22Eleven because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 11:34 PM
reply to post by 22Eleven

who studied the heavens? and which time period are you talking about?

from my understanding education was not very good in the 14th century in terms of it being given to the majority and the ways of sharing information was more limited in terms of speed in printing items and delivering them.

its easy for you to think people would think the curve on the moon would give it away, but your coming to that logical outcome due to your education and what we now know and have seen of the universe etc.

i believe the opposite, that it was the few who were educated in that time period, not the many.
people may of wrote about the earth being round, but they were obviously the educated ones who could read and write. the uneducated would not of been able to read it or write what they thought.

there is no way to know what the uneducated at the time thought, but this is like the alien thing, we judge them based on what we know and how we act, and make assumptions from there.
edit on 27-11-2010 by lifeform11 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:32 AM

Originally posted by lifeform11
who studied the heavens? and which time period are you talking about?

The Mayan civilization, in the 10th century. They had detailed maps of the heavens.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 02:54 AM
until people learn the truth.
you believe them, scientists!

? in 1950 the pop finales said,
OK the earth is flat.
sorry I dont have a link.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 03:57 AM

Actually the ancient Greeks even manage to prove it.
It is said that the first person was Pythagoras mainly because in his theories he held that all celestial bodies are spherical.
But the firtst who provided observational evidence for the spherical Earth was Aristotle. He wrote that travelers going south see southern constellations rise higher above the horizon. This is only possible if their horizon is at an angle to northerners' horizon. Thus Earth's surface cannot be flat. Also, the border of the shadow of Earth on the Moon during the partial phase of a lunar eclipse is always circular, no matter how high the Moon is over the horizon. Only a sphere casts a circular shadow in every direction, whereas a circular disk casts an elliptical shadow in most directions.
(Aristotle, De caelo, 297b24-31
Aristotle, De caelo, 297b31-298a10 )
The Earth's circumference was measured around 240 BC by Eratosthenes the most important Greek astronomer.
Eratosthenes knew that in Syene (now Aswan), in Egypt, the Sun was directly overhead at the summer solstice, while he estimated that a shadow cast by the Sun at Alexandria was 1/50th of a circle. He estimated the distance from Syene to Alexandria as 5,000 stades, and estimated the Earth's circumference was 250,000 stades and a degree was 700 stades (implying a circumference of 252,000 stades). Eratosthenes used rough estimates and round numbers, but depending on the length of the stadion, his result is within a margin of between 2% and 20% of the actual circumference, 40,008 kilometres. Note that Eratosthenes could only measure the circumference of the Earth by assuming that the distance to the Sun is so great that the rays of sunlight are essentially parallel.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 07:49 AM

Originally posted by lifeform11
i really do believe it was very possible for the majority to believe the earth was flat, even though more educated people did not believe so.
I think the biggest difference is that people do not even thought about it.

i think some are picturing a world in the 14th century where information was just as easy to get as it is today.
education was different and less common, not for everybody. the standard of education was less, because we knew less about things back then.
Education was mostly connected with religion, education is a good thing but it implies a big investment in time, and when people need to work to live, time is very important. It was more important for most people to have their children helping them in their work or having them being an apprentice in some job than investing in education.

sharing information was harder, printing presses were slower, and less common.
The press was almost non-existent before the moving-type method was in use, and that only happened during the 15th century, if I'm not mistaken.

and if the worthy were anything like today, keeping the general population in ignorance would have its benefits, you know keeping them in fear of just sailing off and populating lands the english empire had yet to discover and conquer as its own.
No need for that, people had more things to worry about.
Also, at the time, England was too worried with their own problems and wars, that was one of the reasons the Portuguese and the Spanish were the only countries discovering new lands for more than 100 years.

(I don't remember the British having discovered any "new" lands, they mostly took what others had discovered)

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