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Mapping the Globe October 16, 2014

Posted by cantueso in Bible, drawing, history.
3 comments

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Look what they saw

from Apollo:

http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/luceneweb/caption_direct.jsp?photoId=AS11-44-6549

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In the past they had to  make the best of little bits and pieces of information obtained from people who had traveled or had read old manuscripts:

Here is a map made by Hecataeus in the fifth century bC, that is 2500 years ago:

hecataeus_map.gif

This map is in public domain at http://www.livius.org/a/1/maps/hecataeus_map.gif

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And this is how Herodotus imagined his Earth, also in the fifth century bC :

herodotusworldmap.jpg

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The map of Herodotus reconstructed and released to public domain by bibi saint pol at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Herodotus_world_map-en.svg

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Isaac Azimov wrote and illustrated a story on the shape of the Earth, in public domain at http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/earthpix.pdf

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The Greeks

saw that ships on the sea appear as if they came up from somewhere behind and below the horizon. They deduced that the Earth had to be round, but they had a hard time trying to explain why things don’t fall off.

( By the way: why don’t things fall off? : )

Elsewhere some thought that the Earth rested on pillars, and a much older passage in the Bible says that God suspended the Earth from nothing.

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Socrates too

had a theory and before he died he explained why he believed that the Earth probably looked like a sphere of luminous colour patches. He reasoned that those colours had to be brighter and purer than any you can see on Earth. That was about 2400 years ago :

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And Aristotle

said that from Egypt you could see stars that were not visible from Greece. He concluded that the Earth had to be round and not very large.

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Saint Isidore

drew the next map in Seville, Spain:

It is in public domain at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Karte_Isidor.jpg

Saint Isidore lived in Seville some 1500 years ago. He was a bishop and a scholar who was influential and world famous for several hundred years.

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And this map is from the 15th century, in theory 2000 years closer to us than Hecataeus, but progress was not continuous. Recent changes have been  immense.

500 years ago the Earth was (again!) known to be spherical, but you could not get to the other side because you would risk falling off the Equator.

In the upper part of this map there seems to be a ship on a mountain. It must be Noah’s ship, for the map was still largely a story-telling device.

The map is in public domain at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/T-O_Mappa_mundi.jpg

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Some of the maps tried to show all of the available knowledge:

It is called the Ebstorfer World Map and was destroyed in WW2, but put back together from fragments. There is a 5 mega version at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ebstorfer-stich2.jpg.

It is similar to a modern film director’s storyboard showing what and where and when everything took place.

In the center of the map, if you look up the larger version,  you will find Jerusalem, because at the time most of the information still came from the Bible, and Jerusalem was the center of the world and also of the universe.

There are also animals on this map:

Published by Kolossos under a GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2  at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ebstorfer-stich2.jpg.

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carta-marina

Some maps included information about the monsters that the sailors had met at sea, and the information is in Latin to give it the desired scientific look.

On the original map at Wikipedia you can see the monsters one by one, but it is a very large file : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carta_Marina

sea-monster-2

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Below is the map with

the most illustrous copyright owner :) 


According to Wikipedia, it may have been drawn by Christopher Columbus and his brother Bartolomé.

Now it is in public domain with a larger version published at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ColombusMap.jpg.

They drew it to figure out how to navigate around the globe.

They had studied the Bible and other books expensive to obtain and often prohibited  at the time and they wrote their observations in the margins:

Notes by Columbus on a text by Marco Polo in public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ColombusNotesToMarcoPolo.jpg

The ships that were built for Columbus to cross the Ocean are lost, but exact replicas have been made, and the photo shows them sailing past Cape Canaveral spaceflight center.

School kids now learn their names: Pinta, Niña, Santa María.
and Wikipedia knows all about them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinta_%28ship%29  –
most typically even that those were not their real names :-(

The photo is freely available for non-commercial use from NASA at http://mix.msfc.nasa.gov/IMAGES/HIGH/9265044.jpg

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ancientmap2000clem

World maps were based on imagination, tradition, and hearsay, and there was room to include castles and people, animals, and ships.

This map was a puzzle sold online, but the page is no longer available.

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.ortelius_-_maris_pacifici_1589

This map  shows the Pacific Ocean. They still did not mind proportions. You can see individual people, the sailors on that ship and also a winged creature with a red skirt:  maybe it is an angel.

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tn_ship-ortelius-map

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what-is-the-real-time-by-madden

The point

is that in the past there were many divergent ideas on what the Earth was like. Even Socrates’ famous view was just one of many. They  had to make the best of little bits and pieces of information obtained from people who had been abroad and from the poets.

Everybody could have a try, and they did. –

view-from-my-window-ref

Now there is only one theory, and everybody knows about it, but very few can understand it really.

The upper drawing is one of Chris Madden’s science cartoons but the other one I don’t know. It’s a man looking at the Earth from his office on Mars.

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And they sent up a laser beam to create  a referent for photography in the Milky Way.

Photo by  ESO/Yuri Beletsky  under CC Attribution 3.0 Unported license at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Laser_Towards_Milky_Ways_Centre.jpg

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