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Ancient History : The Evolution of the World


The Greek geographers of the later Roman period developed
systematic calculations for the mapping and shaping of the
earth. However, what would come to replace these systematic
calculations? Why were the ideologies of a flat earth
accepted and why were those of a spherical earth ridiculed?
The answer to this question is very simple and can be
answered by one clear and concise word: Religion.
"Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it
in the midst of the nations and countries
that are round about her." (Ezekiel 5:5)
This verse from the of book Ezekiel simply states that the
city of Jerusalem should be in the center of all maps
created. This eliminated the need for any latitude or
longitude. Before hand, there had been more than six
hundred maps created, not one having this holy city as the
center. There was nothing new about putting "the most
sacred place at the center" says Boorstin. The Hindus
placed Mount Meru, a mythological 70,000 foot high mountain
at the center of their map. In the Muslim faith, the Ka'bah
in Mecca was the highest point on earth and the polestar
showed the city of Mecca to be opposite the center of the
sky. As one can clearly see, many maps, had different
centers. Each map had a different center, each based on a
different religion.
Many years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Greeks
theorized that the earth was a globe. But after that, there
was a period in history called "The Great Interruption."
This period was categorized by a complete silence where
people in general, forgot about the issue of whether the
earth was flat or whether it was a globe. Another reason
that brought the theories of a globular world to rest was
because the priests told the general public that the earth
was flat. Priests such as St. Augustine and others invented
the Antipode theory, which stated that a world shaped like
a globe is impossible because objects would be hanging
downwards and growing backwards. Once again, religion
played a major part in this argument that would rage on for
many years to come.
To conclude, much like the theories of the priests in the
first 400 years after the birth of Jesus Christ, who said
that Jerusalem was the center of a flat earth, one might be
able to relate this period in time to a much more recent
and modern one. Prior to the French Revolution in 1789,
France was ruled by an absolute divine right monarchy. The
institution that had the most power at the time was the
Catholic church. No one in France would ever dare question
the word of the Church. Everything the Church said had to
be true and that was that. This is further reinforced by
the church's persecution of Copernicus who later again
theorized that the earth was not the center of the solar
system. This illustrates that 1000 years later, religion
remained the backbone of society, and to a lesser extent,
the same still holds true today in certain societies. 


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