The Pale Blue Dot? A Chronological Outline

Originally Written By Thomas Perez. August 5, 2018 at 4:53AM. Copyright 2018. Updated 2020. 

Chronological Outline

This chronology is broken down into four simple sections marked A, B, C and D. They are as follows; A. The History of the Flat Earth, B. The History of the Spherical Earth, C. Who Lived Along Side Each Other and D. The Re-emergence of the Flat Earth Model.

Section A: History of the Flat Earth Model:

1. West Asia: Various Cultures Believed in a Flat But Circular Earth. They Include:

A. Early Egypt: Early Egyptian’s believed the Earth to be flat, but circular. The Pyramid Text and Coffin Text reveal this.

B. The Ancient Sumerians, Hebrews, Israelites and Jews believed the Earth was flat but circular. Various texts written by the aforementioned ethnic groups reveal this. Texts like the Old Testament and the many Babylonian accounts of creation reveal this.

C. The Homeric Model –  8th Cent – Circa (c.) 800-701BC, depicts the Earth as being flat. It is cited that “Okeanos, the personified body of water surrounding the circular surface of the Earth, is the begetter of all life and possibly of all gods.”

D. The Babylonian Imago Mundi – 6th Cent – c.600-501BC, also reveals this.

2. Greece: The Poets Believed the Earth to Be Flat But Circular. They Include:

A. Homer – c.8th-7th Cent – 800-701BC – 700-601BC believed Earth to be flat, but circular.

B. Hesiod – 750-650BC

C. Mimnermus – 630-600BC.

D. Aeschylus – 525-24 or 456-55BC.

E. Apollonius of Rhodes – 3rd Cent BC.

F. Titus Lucretius Carus – 99-55BC.

G. Seen in Quintus Smyrnarus Posthomerica 4th Cent AD are flat, but circular Earth quotations.

3. Pre-Socratic Philosophers Believed the Earth to be Flat But Circular. They Include: 

A. Thales 550 BC.

B. Leucippus 370BC.

C. Democritus 460-370BC.

D. Anaximander – 550BC.

E. Anaximenes of Miletus 585-528BC.

F. Xenophanes of Colophon – 500BC.

G. Anaxagoras – 450BC.

H. Archelaus – 5th Cent – c.500-401BC.

4. Historians: 

A. Herodotus – 484-425BC.

5. Europe: The Following Cultures Believed Earth to Be Flat But Circular:

A. Ancient Norse and Germanic peoples describe the Earth as flat and circular.

B. Germanic? A Norse Cosmology in the ‘Yggdrasil’ cites the Earth as being flat and circular.

6. East Asia: Various Asian Astronomers and Philosophers Viewed the Earth to Be Flat But Circular. They Include:

A. Ancient China: China believed the Earth was flat and square while the heavens was round.

B. Zhang Heng: A Polymath 78-139AD.

C.  Yu Xi: Scholar and Astronomer 307-345AD.

D. Li Ye: Scholar and Mathematician 1192-1279AD.

E. The Chinese astronomers book; Huainanzi in the 2nd cent BC inverted Eratosthenes’ calculation of the curvature of the Earth to calculate the height of the Sun above the Earth instead, by asserting that the Earth was flat and the Sun was 100,000 miles away (200,000 Km).

F. Zhoubi SuanJing: SuanJing’s text on Astronomy and Mathematics discusses how to determine the distance of the Sun by measuring the length of noon-time shadows at different latitudes; a method similar to Eratosthenes.

G. The spherical Earth model was often challenged, one way or another. In the 17th cent by Guo Shoujing. Johann Adam Schall von Bel (1591–1666) was so impressed with the preserved astronomical instruments of Guo that he called him “the Tycho Brahe of China.” However, that challenge has become more of a debate today between globe heliocentric and flat geocentric circular Earthers of today.

7. South Asia: 

A. Vedic texts describe a flat Earth

B. The medieval Indian texts, called the Puranas, describe the same thing; a flat Earth.

C. Buddhist and Jain cosmologies of South Asia describe the Earth as flat but circular.

D. However, the Bhagavta Purana cites the Earth to be both; flat and spherical.

8. The Early Christian Church: Early Christian Church Fathers Believed the Earth to Be Flat But Circular. They Include:

A. Lactantius 250-325AD

B. Methodius – 292AD

C. Athanasius the Great 296-373AD

D. Basil of Caesarea 329-379AD

E. Antivirus 330AD

F. John Chrysostom 349-407AD

G. St Augustine 354-430

H. Diodorus of Tarsus 390AD

I. Severian 408AD

J. Christian Topography 547AD

K. Ambrose – said the matter was theologically irrelevant.

9. Europe: Late Antiquity to Europe’s Middle Ages Also Held to the Theory of a Flat Earth. They Include:

A. Macrobius – The Macedonian Cosmic Diagram (Earth is at the c­enter).

B. Dream of Scipio: Written By Cicero 106BC-43BC.

C. Boethius 480-524AD

D. Bishop Isidore of Seville 560-636AD

E. St. Vergilius of Salzburg 700-784AD

F. The Carolingian Era: 700’s (8th Cent) to 800’s (9th Cent)

G. Dungal of Bobbio: Monk, Teacher Astronomer, and Poet: 811-828AD.

And Most Importantly Claudius Ptolemy: Of which I purposely left for the last. He can be found in both groups (A and B). Why you may ask? Answer: He was a spherical Earth believer; but also a geocentric believer as well.

Although a globalist, the Greek astronomer Ptolemy (c.90-168AD) used measurements of the sky to create his geocentric model. This had the Earth at the center with all the planets and the Sun orbiting around it. The geocentric model lasted a long time. The resulting Polemic system persisted, with minor adjustments, until the Earth was displaced from the center of the universe in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Copernican system and Kepler’s law of planetary motion. More on Ptolemy, Copernicus and Kepler in chapter one.

Section B: History of the Spherical Earth Model

1. Antiquity

A. Pythagoras – 6th cent 500BC. Pythagoras’ mathematics to be discussed in another article.

B. Parmenides 6th Cent (515BC) to 5th Cent.

C. Empedocles 5th cent 400BC

D. Plato 427-347BC

E. Aristotle – 384-322BC

2. Hellenistic Astronomy:

A. Archimedes – 287-212BC

B. Eratosthenes – 276-194BC

C. Seleucus of Seleucia 190BC. Voted that the Earth is spherical. He was influenced by the heliocentric theory of Aristarchus of Samos.

D. Posidonius – 135-51BC

3. Roman Empire:

A. Strabo – 64-24BC

B. Claudius Ptolemy – 90-168AD

4. Late Antiquity:

A. Calcidius – Philosopher – 4th cent 300BC

B. Hipparchus of Nicaea – 190-120BC. Considered the founder of trigonometry. Incidentally discovered precession of the equinoxes. Spherical trigonometry.

5. India:

A. India astronomer and mathematician Aryabhtta 476-550AD

6. Islamic scholars:

A. Armenian Scholar Amanda – 7th cent, circa 600’s.

B. Al-Mamun 830AD

C. Ibn Hazm

D. Al-Farghani – 9th cent, c.800’s.

E. Abu Rayhan Biruni – 973-1048AD

7. Others Include:

A. Bede the Monk – 672-735AD

B. Old Icelandic translation of Elucidarius – a mythical book –  11th-12th cent 10-1100’s.

C. Honorius Augustodunensis – 1120AD

D. Thomas Aquinas – 1225-1274AD

E. Marco Polo – 1254-1324AD

F. Dante Alighieri – 1265-1321

G. Christopher Columbus – 1451-1506AD

H. Ferdinand Magellan – 1480-1521AD

8. Ming China:

A. At this point China still believed in the Flat Earth model.

B. The idea of a spherical Earth spread into China through the influence of Jesuit missionaries who held high positions of astronomy at the Imperial Courts.

Section C: Contemporaries: Who Lived Along Side Each Other?

Globe Earther: Pythagoras 570-490BC. Flat Circular Earthers: Aeschylus 525-24 or 456-55BC, Thales 550BC, Anaximander 550BC, Anaximenes of Miletus 585-528BC, Xenophanes of Colophon 500BC.

Globe Earther: Parmenides 6th cent 515BC to 5th Cent. Flat Circular Earther: Herodotus 484-425BC.

Globe Earthers: Empedocles 5th cent 400BC, Plato 427-347BC, Aristotle 384-322BC. Calcidius 4th cent 300BC. Flat Circular Earther: None – Left unchallenged, until the 3rd cent.

Globe Earthers: Eratosthenes 276-194BC, Archimedes 287-212BC. Hipparchus of Nicaea – 190-120BC. Flat Circular Earthers: Apollonius of Rhodes – 3rd cent. Also, Chinese astronomers book; Huainanzi in the 2nd cent BC inverted Eratosthenes’s calculation.

Globe Earthers: Seleucus of Seleucia 190BC – influenced by the heliocentric theory of Aristarchus of Samos, Posidonius 135-51BC, Strabo 64-24BC. Flat Circular Earthers: Macrobius – The Macedonian Cosmic Diagram (Earth is at the c­enter). Dream of Scipio: Written By Cicero 106BC-43BC.

Globe Earther: Claudius Ptolemy 90-168AD. Flat Circular Earthers: Ptolemy 90-168AD, Zhang Heng: A Polymath 78-139AD.

Globe Earther: Aryabhtta 476-550AD. Flat Circular Earthers: Christian Topography 547AD, Boethius 480-524AD.

Globe Earther: Armenian Scholar Amanda – 7th cent, c.600’s. Flat Circular Earther: Bishop Isidore of Seville 560-636AD.

Globe Earther: Bede the Monk – 672-735AD. Flat Circular Earther: St. Vergilius of Salzburg 700-784AD.

Globe Earthers: Al-Mamun 830AD, Al-Farghani – 9th cent, circa 800’s. Flat Circular Earthers: The Carolingian Era: 700’s (8th cent) to 800’s (9th cent), Dungal of Bobbio: Monk, Teacher Astronomer, and Poet: 811-828AD.

Globe Earthers: Honorius Augustodunensis – 1120AD, Thomas Aquinas – 1225-1274AD, Marco Polo – 1254-1324AD. Flat Circular Earther: Li Ye: Scholar and Mathematician 1192-1279AD.

Globe Earthers: Dante Alighieri – 1265-1321AD, Christopher Columbus – 1451-1506AD, Ferdinand Magellan – 1480-1521AD. Flat Circular Earthers: None. Left unchallenged until the 1600’s by BGe Zhi Cao 17th cent, circa 1600’s. However, Ming China still upheld the flat circular Earth model.

Section D: The Re-Emergence of the Flat Circular Earth and its Geocentric Position.

A. Various independent researchers, questioning scientists, physicists, mathematicians and chemists.