Myths And Misconceptions About Flat Earth Theory

By | September 21, 2019

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Depiction of the earth as flat. Source: (

Today, the term “Flat Earther” has become synonymous with “idiot.” That is to say, it is frequently used to describe anyone who harbors beliefs that go against those held by mainstream society. It is intended as an insult; however, it loses its sting when used against those who actually believe the Earth is flat as it is a term they proudly accept.

The moniker “Flat Earth Theory” is actually a misnomer as there is no singular theory encompassing the belief that the Earth is flat. There is, instead, a wide range of ancient cultures throughout the world which based their beliefs on the idea of a flat Earth. It was a common belief in Greece, India, and China, just to name a few. The Greeks, as well as the early Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures, believed the Earth to be a large disc surrounded by a gigantic body of water. The ancient Chinese believed the Earth was flat and square while the heavens were spherical. The Norse beliefs were similar to that of the Greeks and Egyptians, with the addition of a giant sea serpent in the waters surrounding the flat Earth. The Mountain Arapsh people of Papua New Guinea believe Earth ends at the horizon.

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Early Earth model. Source: (

The idea of the Earth being flat is not new. In fact, it is quite ancient. And the original “Flat Earthers” were far from idiots. For example, the works of both Hesiod and Homer describe the Earth as flat. Philosophers such as Thales and Lucretius, and even Democritus, who founded atomic theory, believed the Earth was flat. It wasn’t until the 6th century B.C. that people began to question the long-held belief. By the 4th century B.C., the educated classes commonly subscribed to the idea of a spherical Earth. By the 1st century B.C., the spherical Earth had become canon.