Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 1 month ago

Why were the ancient cultures of back “then” really Ignorant enough to believe the earth was flat?

Was it an over obsession with religion? Perhaps a lack of scientific tools that we now take for granted? Or perhaps a halt to scientific progress because “heretics” were suppressed and burned at the stake? 

8 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    The weren't. It had been speculated for a few thousand years and was proven around 240 BC by  Eratosthenes. He then calculated the circumference to with around 98% accuracy.

  • 1 month ago

    Ancient cultures knew earth is round and they even had a good estimate of its circumference. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Interesting that your first instinct is to blame "religion." Who exactly is "over obsessed" here? Maybe it's you?

    Anyway, if you're talking about the burning of "heretics" at the stake by religious authorities, you're talking about early modern Europe, which was NOT "ancient" at all. 

    No educated person in early modern Europe thought the earth was flat. Many of them thought the earth was the center of the solar system or of the universe, and people did get persecuted and killed for denying that, but everybody involved agreed it was ROUND.

    So get lost. Go in your bathroom and masturbate over your nude photos of Dawkins or something.

  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    How far back do you want to go??   Eratosthenes,  in ancient Greece, over 2000 years ago set out to find the circumference of the Earth by using shadows cast by the noon day sun.

    So Science knew the Earth was round then, but Religious Nut Cases still think the world is flat, even today.

    It has actually been known that the Earth was round since the time of the ancient Greeks. I believe that it was Pythagoras who first proposed that the Earth was round sometime around 500 B.C. As I recall, he based his idea on the fact that he showed the Moon must be round by observing the shape of the terminator (the line between the part of the Moon in light and the part of the Moon in the dark) as it moved through its orbital cycle. Pythagoras reasoned that if the Moon was round, then the Earth must be round as well. After that, sometime between 500 B.C. and 430 B.C., a fellow called Anaxagoras determined the true cause of solar and lunar eclipses - and then the shape of the Earth's shadow on the Moon during a lunar eclipse was also used as evidence that the Earth was round.Around 350 BC, the great Aristotle declared that the Earth was a sphere (based on observations he made about which constellations you could see in the sky as you travelled further and further away from the equator) and during the next hundred years or so, Aristarchus and Eratosthenes actually measured the size of the Earth!

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  • 1 month ago

    They weren't.  There are a damn sight MORE ignorant people about nowadays than in the distant past, when they had to struggle just to survive.  They didn't have time to consider the shape of the earth, and it made not a scrap of difference to them what shape it was.

  • Tom
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Even many American Indians at least suspected it.---as they could see the tops of mountains and tall formations before the bottoms as they traveled in flat deserts.----But had no writing  to compare ideas. EVERYONE had to learn and figure by themselves----even a small group of SOME Sioux Indians proved it .for them selves, by joining a wild west show that went to the UK, Europe and Japan and ending in California.----They told friends, that "INDEED the World WAS round---and full of White Men"

  • 1 month ago

    How far "back then" do you mean?

    The ancient Greeks knew the earth was round, so did the Egyptians.

    Any group who set sail even on large lakes could see that the bottom of a ship disappeared from sight before the masts and sails did.


  • 1 month ago

    Nobody had circumnavigated the earth, and it was impossible to see the curvature of the earth, except on very high mountains.

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