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Medieval Geography Development

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    Posted: 18 Oct 2015 at 09:11

What if the earth is the sphere? Most of well-educated medieval Europeans adhered to the concept of the spherical earth and perceived it as an apple, a ball, or an egg. At the same time, the earth seemed immovable which was confirmed experimentally: an arrow pushed in the sky would return to more or less the same point from which it was projected. If the earth were rotating, it would open a gap.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2015 at 12:25
No, it wouldn't, because the arrow is moving through the medium of air which is also rotating more or less with the Earth, give or take a wind or two, and also the arrow was launched not from some absolute datum point, but an archer moving in alignment with the earth, thus the arrow's trajectory includes the Earths motion. Since gravity will return the arrow to the same point - only if launched vertically in still air - the acceleration downward is caused by the Earths mass and thus the archer, his perception of vertical, and the arrows path will all be relative to Earths centre of mass.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2015 at 05:08
There is two types of motion, rotation and orbit around the sun.  The ancients knew about the earth's sphericity from the curve of eclipses of the moon.  Galileo's favorite argument for the movement of the Earth, was the tides interpreted as water sloshing around from the earth's movement.  We tend to forget that argument due to our making Galileo a science hero.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2015 at 07:20
Think of it as a perspective problem.  We see projectiles as moving in a more or less straight line but a stationary observer sees a curved path. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2015 at 14:40
Thanks for your comment. However, I didn't discuss the modern physical theory but the views of western Europeans during the Late Middle Ages. My point is that they didn't take everything for granted, but sometimes relied on experiments. Needless to say, their scientific explanations were inferior to our current concepts.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2015 at 14:53
Not only that! The ancient argument about the spherical earth was based onthe following evidence:
the circle is the ideal geometrical shape; the earth is the heaviest element and should fall toward the center of the universe; heavenly events are different at various parts of the world; the earth casts a circular shadow on the moon; the sighting of land from the sea depends on the height of an onlooker's position; the earth bulge is responsible for disappearing of even high objects at a distance; and the horizon receding while we are advancing. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2015 at 08:55
What is the size of the inhabitable world? The ancient geographers offered the following solutions:
Eratosthenes measured the West-East extent of the earth between the Gibraltar and the delta of the Ganges along the Rhodes parallel as 7,000 km. Posidonius estimated the same distance as 13,000 km. Marius gauged 16,700 km between the Canaries and China. Posidonius assumed only 8,000 km. 

In the Late Middle Ages, Henricus Martellus assessed the width of the wold ocean as 8,000 km between the Canaries and China with only 5,600 km between the Canaries and Japan. Columbus "corrected" the figures to 6,600 km and 4,500 km respectively. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2015 at 09:07
How to measure the earth's circumference? First of all, we have to agree on the standard of measurent to be able to compare the scores. Both Eratosthenes and Posidonius used stades. The problem is that there were six different values in the stade and we're not sure whether they used the same values or not. I transferred the scores to a common value of 185 m for a stade (which corresponds to 1/8 of the Roman mile  of 1,480 m for a stade). The earliest evaluation of Posidonius displayed only a 11% discrepency from the modern standard. 

However, al-Farghani, a 9th century Muslim astronomer, achieved a very close match to the modern meaning (here I also used the average meaning of the Arab mile). Unfortunately, Pierre d'Ally copied his scores in Roman miles taking no account of discrepancy and received a much smaller earth. His mistake was further swollen by Columbus. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2015 at 11:43
It is a fascinating question not only when and where, but how people began to consider the possibillity of a spherical earth. That combined with realisation that the celestial objects are much further away and of bigger size than those we know from our daily "terrestrial" experience. i would think the idea of a "flat earth", and small celestial objects would not easily be questioned by people that lived more or less "stationary" lives, those who never went far away. For those who did it would be different and especially for people were a large proportion were seafarers and went to distant shores. A lot of such seafarers, combined with traditions of some intellectual freedom learning and curiosity would lead some to challenge the "obvious" view.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 11:41
The Earth isn't round either. it's an Oblate Spheroid, though you probably might not notice. 
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 13:29
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

The Earth isn't round either. it's an Oblate Spheroid, though you probably might not notice. 

But it is not that far from being a sphere. It is a bit flat at the poles, and of course since there is hills and mountain everybody can see for themselves it is not. And "perfect" forms I guess, is hardly found outside pure geometry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 20:18
Correct! Greeks and Romans were exactly such people. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 20:22
I like your remarks. Again, you're right because you're standing on the position of modern science. My research focuses on medieval conceptions, though at least one of their concepts of the earth, an apple, reminds the modern view. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2015 at 06:19
Greeks yes. Then I asm curious about others. Phoenicians in particular, since they sailed over the entire Meditteranean Sea, that mean over some distances.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2015 at 06:26
When reading about this topic I have seen ancient philosophers and learned mens opinions stated. But I speculate that those Who initially began to Wonder may have been other peoples, namely ancient seafarers actually making observations, that made them realise that the beliefs of their upbringing had to be revised. Or it could have been people that were both learned and Who travelled widely.

Edited by fantasus - 26 Oct 2015 at 06:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2015 at 08:36
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Greeks yes. Then I asm curious about others. Phoenicians in particular, since they sailed over the entire Meditteranean Sea, that mean over some distances.

And the west coast of Africa
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2015 at 09:02
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:


Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Greeks yes. Then I asm curious about others. Phoenicians in particular, since they sailed over the entire Meditteranean Sea, that mean over some distances.


And the west coast of Africa
Very likely. But do we have any good evidence they did and to what extent? Some historians even speculated there may have been a cirkumnavigation of the entire African Continent by phoenician seafarers in the service of an egyptian Pharao but I doubt there is any strong evidence for that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2015 at 12:44
Quote But it is not that far from being a sphere. It is a bit flat at the poles, and of course since there is hills and mountain everybody can see for themselves it is not. And "perfect" forms I guess, is hardly found outside pure geometry.


Interesting that you insist on the spherical image, being a purist poiint of view and relatively uncomplicated. Nonetheless the Earth is 43 kilometres wider at the equator than the poles. Not entirely insignificant.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2015 at 14:16
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote But it is not that far from being a sphere. It is a bit flat at the
poles, and of course since there is hills and mountain everybody can see
for themselves it is not. And "perfect" forms I guess, is hardly found
outside pure geometry.


Interesting that you insist on the spherical image, being a purist poiint of view and relatively uncomplicated. Nonetheless the Earth is 43 kilometres wider at the equator than the poles. Not entirely insignificant.


Since we are discussing medieval and ancient views of the form of the earth I think we can say those WHO at that time were basically right, and "flat eartherners" basically wrong. Seen from a recent perspective I admit You have a point, since we expect a high degree of accuracy in the age of satellites and extremely sophisticated instruments. Today we should even measure the tidal effects of the moon and sun and planets, and how it affects the precise diameter of this planet from moment to moment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2015 at 09:16
Herodotus talks about the circumnavigation of Africa.  A murderer was given a choice, death or go on an expedition, the pharaoh was ?Nebo?  He choose the expedition and made it most of the way around, and came back.  After telling his tale, the pharaoh had him executed for lying to the pharaoh.  He told the perpostorous tale that the sun rose and travelled in the North instead of the South.

Pytheas of Massalia traveled to the far north, (3rd c. BC) measured how low the sun was on the horizon during the day, how long the nights were.  He probably ran into pack ice.  Strabo thought he was a liar.  For these explorers it is the claims that their contemporaries thought were proposterous that help us confirm their adventures.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2015 at 15:40
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

When reading about this topic I have seen ancient philosophers and learned mens opinions stated. But I speculate that those Who initially began to Wonder may have been other peoples, namely ancient seafarers actually making observations, that made them realise that the beliefs of their upbringing had to be revised. Or it could have been people that were both learned and Who travelled widely.
I am sure that speculations don't lead us far away. I try to stick to facts and then offer my explanation in case I have enough evidence. Otherwise, we step into the deep blue and find it difficult to go out. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2015 at 15:47
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Herodotus talks about the circumnavigation of Africa.  A murderer was given a choice, death or go on an expedition, the pharaoh was ?Nebo?  He choose the expedition and made it most of the way around, and came back.  After telling his tale, the pharaoh had him executed for lying to the pharaoh.  He told the perpostorous tale that the sun rose and travelled in the North instead of the South.

Pytheas of Massalia traveled to the far north, (3rd c. BC) measured how low the sun was on the horizon during the day, how long the nights were.  He probably ran into pack ice.  Strabo thought he was a liar.  For these explorers it is the claims that their contemporaries thought were proposterous that help us confirm their adventures.
I am sure Herodotus knew nothing concrete about the circumnavigation of Africa. It was his "gut" feeling. He tells this tale not sharing the view that below the equator the sun appears in the north-the only true observation in the whole story! Look at the reconstruction of the map according to Herodotus at the Cartographic Images. Sorry, I am not sure that I can send links here.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Oct 2015 at 16:10
The breadth of the ocean and the prospects of navigation
The intellectuals of the ancient world recorded the attempts to cross the enormous Ocean Sea. We can read the tales of Herodotus about attempts to circumnavigate Africa by the Phoenician sailors and Sataspes; and about the maritime trip of Scylax from India to Egypt. Hanno the Navigator describes his trip from Carthagen to an unknown location on the Atlantic seaboard of Africa. 
There were different theories about the existence of the land bridge between India and East Africa. Several scholars attempted to compute the width of the world ocean separating the coast of West Africa from that of eastern India: Eratosthenes, Posidonius, Marinus. In the 15th century CE that issue caught the attention of Martin Behaim, the creator of the earliest known terrestrial globe. His map proves that Columbus was not an impostor; he supported a certain theory hoping that his corrections were correct. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2015 at 08:05
Originally posted by mikebis mikebis wrote:


Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

When reading about this topic I have seen ancient philosophers and learned mens opinions stated. But I speculate that those Who initially began to Wonder may have been other peoples, namely ancient seafarers actually making observations, that made them realise that the beliefs of their upbringing had to be revised. Or it could have been people that were both learned and Who travelled widely.

I am sure that speculations don't lead us far away. I try to stick to facts and then offer my explanation in case I have enough evidence. Otherwise, we step into the deep blue and find it difficult to go out. 
Well. We should at least not take for granted that because our primary sources are ancient "intellectuals", then ideas were necessarily theirs from the beginning. Alot of sources from those ages has dissappeared. "Non-intellectuals" may not have written anything but their ides could very well have spread widely anyway (like for Socrates, though he was an "intellectual" that did not write). Thenm also we may ask if the Greeks had much idea of "intellectual property".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 2015 at 17:00
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by mikebis mikebis wrote:


Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

When reading about this topic I have seen ancient philosophers and learned mens opinions stated. But I speculate that those Who initially began to Wonder may have been other peoples, namely ancient seafarers actually making observations, that made them realise that the beliefs of their upbringing had to be revised. Or it could have been people that were both learned and Who travelled widely.

I am sure that speculations don't lead us far away. I try to stick to facts and then offer my explanation in case I have enough evidence. Otherwise, we step into the deep blue and find it difficult to go out. 
Well. We should at least not take for granted that because our primary sources are ancient "intellectuals", then ideas were necessarily theirs from the beginning. Alot of sources from those ages has dissappeared. "Non-intellectuals" may not have written anything but their ides could very well have spread widely anyway (like for Socrates, though he was an "intellectual" that did not write). Thenm also we may ask if the Greeks had much idea of "intellectual property".
Maybe I misunderstood you. What you suggest is generally correct. You read a line in a book. Can you be sure that this idea belongs to the author? Absolutely not! He or she may have overheard it in a conversation or picked it up in some source and paraphrazed. What I wrote was not said in praise of intellectuals. European intellectuals that I wrote about were responsible for huge blunders as well. However, while conducting research, I have to be accurate with citations. Each of them should be attributed to a particular source to avoid plagiarism. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 2015 at 17:08
The trefoil of the world is the title of the next chapter in my research. Medieval Europeans believed that the world includes three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. Each of these continents was attributed to one of the sons of Noah. Their images decorate book illustrations like Jean Mansel's "La fleur des histoires" and maps, such as Hartman Schedel's "Nuremberg Chronicle" and Heinrich Buntig's Clover Leaf Map. The idea that Jesus was crucified for the sake of the humankind was embodied in the Erbstorf Mappa Mundi. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 2015 at 18:57
Originally posted by mikebis mikebis wrote:

The trefoil of the world is the title of the next chapter in my research. Medieval Europeans believed that the world includes three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. Each of these continents was attributed to one of the sons of Noah. Their images decorate book illustrations like Jean Mansel's "La fleur des histoires" and maps, such as Hartman Schedel's "Nuremberg Chronicle" and Heinrich Buntig's Clover Leaf Map. The idea that Jesus was crucified for the sake of the humankind was embodied in the Erbstorf Mappa Mundi. 
One question could be if they after all, or more correctly the "learned" or well travelled parts of Europeans knew a relatively large part of this planet for the age, though admittedly the "medieval" period lasted long and so their knowledge may have changed somewhat over time. From even before the "Middle ages" there must have been substantal familiarity with all parts of the Roman Empire, and some knowledge even of the lands to the East to India and Central Asia, that for some centuries were under partial Greek/macedonian influence and even some "colonisation", city Building etcetera. Meditteranean North Africa must have been well known from prehistoric times, though probably the lands further South may have been not so. Then we may ask how much the Russians knew lands to the East before their expansion into Siberia. Some undoubtly knew about the lands in the Northern Atlantic, Iceland, Greenland, since both were for centuries inhabited by people of European(mostly norwegian/Scandinavian/"Celtic") descent, and very likely at least a few must have had some knowledge of what later became known as a part of North America. It is even very possible single individuals from time to time travelled over large parts of the lands mentioned. Plus of course from the later Middle Ages there were those travelling across the European and Asian Continents (or the Eurasian, some would say), the most famous being Marco Polo. At least some believed in the "spherical" Earth. Pilgrims as well as tradesmen and warriors often travelled some distances and Rome was a centre for all of western
/latin christians even from the most remote parts. Royal marriages could be between relatively distant Princes and princesses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 2015 at 19:30
We should not forget that though we would find Medieval Europe difficult to travel with the Means available, we should probably see this as an "easy" part of the planet compared with many other regions.
Its Mountains and highlands covers a relatively modest area and are not that high, and there is no large desserts. Plenty of waterways, both rivers crisscrossing the continents and most of it is not that far from the inserted coastline. Another Continent "Next door", at very short distance to all the Southern European shore. Where Europe stops and Asia starts to the East a rather "academic" question. The continents different parts interwoven in Networks of Commerce from the Medditteranean to Ireland to Scandinavia and to Russia.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2015 at 19:27
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

When reading about this topic I have seen ancient philosophers and learned mens opinions stated. But I speculate that those Who initially began to Wonder may have been other peoples, namely ancient seafarers actually making observations, that made them realise that the beliefs of their upbringing had to be revised. Or it could have been people that were both learned and Who travelled widely.
That's the point. Confronting with the dearth of evidence, the only thing that is left is to speculate. But in this case it is the battle of opinions, not a serious attempt to ponder on facts. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikebis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2015 at 19:30
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by mikebis mikebis wrote:


Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

When reading about this topic I have seen ancient philosophers and learned mens opinions stated. But I speculate that those Who initially began to Wonder may have been other peoples, namely ancient seafarers actually making observations, that made them realise that the beliefs of their upbringing had to be revised. Or it could have been people that were both learned and Who travelled widely.

I am sure that speculations don't lead us far away. I try to stick to facts and then offer my explanation in case I have enough evidence. Otherwise, we step into the deep blue and find it difficult to go out. 
Well. We should at least not take for granted that because our primary sources are ancient "intellectuals", then ideas were necessarily theirs from the beginning. Alot of sources from those ages has dissappeared. "Non-intellectuals" may not have written anything but their ides could very well have spread widely anyway (like for Socrates, though he was an "intellectual" that did not write). Thenm also we may ask if the Greeks had much idea of "intellectual property".
This is a lame argument. You know about Socrates from the written source. 
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