Ancient HistoryThe Greek geographers of the later Roman period developed systematiccalculations for the mapping and shaping of the earth. However, whatwould come to replace these systematic calculations? Why were theideologies of a flat earth accepted and why were those of a sphericalearth ridiculed? The answer to this question is very simple and can beanswered by one clear and concise word: Religion.”Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midstof the nations and countries that are round about her.” (Ezekiel 5:5)This verse from the of book Ezekiel simply states that the city ofJerusalem should be in the center of all maps created. This eliminatedthe need for any latitude or longitude.
Before hand, there had been morethan six hundred maps created, not one having this holy city as thecenter. There was nothing new about putting “the most sacred place atthe center” says Boorstin. The Hindus placed Mount Meru, a mythological70,000 foot high mountain at the center of their map. In the Muslimfaith, the Kabah in Mecca was the highest point on earth and thepolestar showed the city of Mecca to be opposite the center of the sky.As one can clearly see, many maps, had different centers.
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Each map had adifferent center, each based on a different religion.Many years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Greeks theorized thatthe earth was a globe. But after that, there was a period in historycalled “The Great Interruption.
” This period was categorized by acomplete silence where people in general, forgot about the issue ofwhether the earth was flat or whether it was a globe. Another reasonthat brought the theories of a globular world to rest was because thepriests told the general public that the earth was flat. Priests such asSt.
Augustine and others invented the Antipode theory, which stated thata world shaped like a globe is impossible because objects would behanging downwards and growing backwards. Once again, religion played amajor 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 400years after the birth of Jesus Christ, who said that Jerusalem was thecenter of a flat earth, one might be able to relate this period in timeto a much more recent and modern one. Prior to the French Revolution in1789, France was ruled by an absolute divine right monarchy. Theinstitution 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 isfurther reinforced by the churchs persecution of Copernicus who lateragain theorized that the earth was not the center of the solar system.This illustrates that 1000 years later, religion remained the backboneof society, and to a lesser extent, the same still holds true today incertain societies.