Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Word of the Day -- Globe

A globe is a three-dimensional scale model of Earth (terrestrial globe or geographical globe) or other celestial body such as a planet or moon. While models can be made of objects with arbitrary or irregular shapes, the term globe is used only for models of objects that are approximately spherical. The word “globe” comes from the Latin word globus, meaning round mass or sphere. Some terrestrial globes include relief to show mountains and other features on the Earth’s surface.

There are also globes, called celestial globes or astronomical globes, which are spherical representations of the celestial sphere, showing the apparent positions of the stars and constellations in the sky.

The sphericity of the Earth was established by Greek astronomy in the 3rd century BC, and the earliest terrestrial globe appeared from that period. The earliest known example is the one constructed by Crates of Mallus in Cilicia (now Çukurova in modern-day Turkey), in the mid-2nd century BC.

No terrestrial globes from Antiquity or the Middle Ages have survived. An example of a surviving celestial globe is part of a Hellenistic sculpture, called the Farnese Atlas, surviving in a 2nd-century AD Roman copy in the Naples Archaeological Museum, Italy.

Early terrestrial globes depicting the entirety of the Old World were constructed in the Islamic world. According to David Woodward, one such example was the terrestrial globe introduced to Beijing by the Persian astronomer, Jamal ad-Din, in 1267.  The oldest surviving terrestrial globe is the Erdapfel, created by Martin Behaim in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1492.


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