As I wrote in Columbus and the Flat Earth: “No educated European in 1492 believed that the Earth was flat. They all knew it was round.”
A recent Twitter thread (See for the original tweets) covers much of the same ground, with the same conclusions, but with a current example:
most monarchs in Medieval Europe had globes affixed with crosses as part of their royal regalia — and why the coronation of Charles III included one.
Known as the “globus cruciger”, it symbolised both their and Jesus’ dominion over the (spherical) Earth.
In fact the orb as an emblem of royal/imperial power goes back to ancient Rome, with the emperor as the earthly representative of Jupiter. The cross was added by Christians after they achieved political power.
So where did the myth come from that Medieval people thought the earth was flat?
Well, it was once an important part of America’s national identity…
… in the hands of 19th century writers and scholars, it [the flat Earth story]created and renewed a foundational myth for America.
One in which the nation was discovered and founded on enlightened, scientific, rational values — rather than the “monastic bigotry” of Medieval Europe….
After American independence the Founding Fathers filled it [America] with neoclassical architecture; they would be the inheritors and successors of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.