Byzantine Cosmographers

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Byzantine Cosmographers
« on: August 24, 2006, 02:28:49 PM »
Emperor Justinian

The Cosmological Philosophy of Imperial Orthodox Christian Byzantium was Mosaic Biblical Flat Earth Cosmography.  In 'The Madaba Map Centenary 1897-1997:  Travelling Through the Byzantine Ummayad Period' Dr. Irfan Shahid of Dumbarton Oaks contributed an article entitled 'The Madaba Mosaic Map Revisited:  Some New Observations on Its Purpose and Meaning' which states the following on page 151:
  "That Imperial Byzantium was also aware of Moses the Cosmographer in the sixth century is reflected in the fact that none other than Justinian himself spoke aginst the pagan Greek spherical view of the Universe and clearly implied strong support for the opposite conception, originally owed to Moses in Genesis, and held strongly by the school in Antioch, when he thundered his anathemas against Origenism at the Synod of Constantinople in AD 553."

  Consistent with all Orthodox Churches, the architecture of the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople and all Churches which Emperor Justinian built is a model of the Cosmos:

  The excellent, learned, and exhaustive Madaba Map Book containing the quotation above may be obtained through the Madaba Map website:



  • Flat Earth Scientist
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Byzantine Cosmographers
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2006, 09:03:30 PM »
I have looked at his work and I am more than impressed with his understanding of the relating knowledge

The Navigator to India
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2006, 06:01:21 AM »
Cosmas Indicopleustes

  One of the greatest cosmographers of world history, Cosmas Indicopleustes was an Egyptian Christian of the sixth century AD who wrote an important book called 'Christian Topography.'  Indicopleustes means navigator to India as he was a sailor and merchant mariner during the first half of his life and subsequently became an Orthodox Christian monk at Saint Catherine's monastery in Mount Sinai in Egypt who published the flat earth book (Christian Topography) in AD 548 (translated into english in 1897 by the Hakluyt Society).  A copy of Cosmas's Christian Topography from the tenth century is on on display in a small museum at Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai.  It is opened to the page displaying the flat earth map of the world. This map and other fascinating ones by Cosmas are widely available on the internet and in a number of books about the history of cosmology already.

  The best summary description of Cosmas's view by far is contained in ten pages of the first volume of Professor Beazeley's three volume "The Dawn of Modern Geography" the first volume of which was published in 1897.   (I doubt this is on the web.)  I believe Cosmas's view is superior in general, but Rowbotham probably has him on the size of the sun as Cosmas merely argues that it is probably at least as small as a fifth the size of the earth, whereas Rowbotham calculated that the sun and moon are each exactly thrity-two miles in diameter.

  To briefly summarize Cosmas's cosmography, the four riverheads of the Garden of Eden are actual rivers that flow westward from the Far East where Eden literally exists and go underground for a bit and diverge into the various underground water streams of this world, and the main streams of which surface in the mountains becoming actual rivers in this world which flow into the sea (the Ganges, the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates).  He also believes there exists a great Mountain in the north around which the sun circles once a day. The shadow cast by this mountain creates night in the part of the world on the other side of the mountain.  Among other things, the Heavenly Host of Angels keep the fixed stars rotating.

Cosmas Indicopleustes Significance to History of Cosmography

  Incidentally the second century AD Egyptian pagan Claudius Ptolemy's spherical astronomy was happily put to shame by the Christian flat Earth geography of Cosmas Indicopleustes and others before him like Lactantius and the Christians of Saint Augustine's time.  Ptolemy's globulartist geography was not to return to western education until papist scholastics were taught it by mohammedan scholars in the twelfth century Anno Domini.  Ptolemy's pagan astronomy was already quite unpopular by the time of Emperor Justinian in the sixth century due to previous Christian expose of its errors.  Cosmas Indicopleustes was the lightning rod that dealt the death blow to pagan Ptolemaic spherical geometry until it was revived centuries later by muslims and catholics.

Cosmas Indicopleustes as an Historical Authority

The scholars of the Ethiopian Church as well as the Syrian (Thomist) Churches of southern India all highly respect 'The Christian Topography' of Cosmas Indicoplustes and considre the book an accurate historical document which is vital to the history of the Church in those countries  at the time when Cosmas wrote at the beginning of the Middle Ages.  


  The town of Kottayam in the southern Indian state of Kerala is both the headquarters of most of the "christian" groups there as well as the headquarters of more publishers, newspapers and bookstores than any town or city in the country which is why it claims to be the most literate city in India.  The most traditional of the churches in India is the Malabar or Malankara Syrian Church with its seminary and Patriarchate in Kottayam.  A self-published comprehensive history of the church from its Seminary states on the first page of its medieval history chapter that the most authoritative description of the church in India during the late roman empire and early middle ages written by a non-Indian is the 'Christian Topography' of Cosmas Indicopleustes.  Indeed, the reason he has such a surname is because he navigated Byzantine ships to India during his days as a merchant mariner.

  A massive and exhaustively informative book on Saint Thomas the Apostle and the exhaustive history and heritage (and archaeology, relics, ancient churches, et cetera) of all the Thomistic churches in southern India of all denominations which is published by the Roman Catholic church there is entitled the 'Thomapedia.'  The Thomapedia does not fail to make prominent mention of Cosmas Indicopleustes for the vital historical information he provides of Christians in India during the early Middle Ages.


  Virtually any Ethiopian book covering the country's Christian history with significant information on the early medieval period also mentions Cosmas Indicopleustes as the most authoritative non-Ethiopian writer to describe Ethiopia at that time.  

  Western scholars familiar with Cosmas Indicopleustes praise him for the accurate and invaluable historical information contained in the 'Christian Topography.'  He is widely reckoned as the chief source of information on travel in the Indian Ocean and specifically Ethiopia and southern India at the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Influence of Cosmas Indicopleustes Upon Arabia and Byzantium

  The influence of Cosmas Indicopleustes in Arab lands extended well beyond the limits of Sinai.  The Orthodox Patriarchate Churches of Antioch and All the East are particularly noted for incorrigible flat Earth cosmology.  Several Byzantine Churches of Transjordan from the same century have maps which bear definite elements of Cosmas's Cosmography such as the Four Rivers of Paradise.  The most famous of these is the Mosaic Map of the Holy Land on the Floor of the Church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan.  

  The Rivers of Paradise are also found in the Mosaic Map of the Byzantine Church of Jabaliyah in Gaza.  The name of the town itself links it to the Sinai Monastery of which Cosmas was a monk.  The Jabaliyah are a tribe of Bedouin who, unlike Arab Bedouin, are actually descendents of Greek Macedonian families sent to Sinai by Emperor Justinian in the sixth century AD to help the Monastery.  A part of this tribe also lived in Gaza in the city bearing the tribe's name with the Byzantine Church there.

  Cosmas was also the contemporary of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.  His influence on the cosmological beliefs of the Emperor may be judged from the fact that Emperor Justinian himself believed in Christian Flat Earth cosmography but had the large Monastery of the Burning Bush built at Sinai where Cosmas Indicopleustes lived.  

The Earliest Christian World Maps
& The Geographical Centre of the Earth

  Archaelogogists Eugenio Alliata and Michelle Piccirillo edited an excellent and exhaustive book concerning the Madaba map entitled 'The Madaba Map Centenary 1897-1997:  Travelling Through the Byzantine Umayyad Period.'  The essay 'The Madaba Map Revisited:  Some New Observations on Its Purpose and Meaning' by Irfan Shahid states on page 151

  "The connection of this unique Christian work of art, a map, with Moses has one more dimension especially important in this sixth century.  Although he was the great Prophet and Lawgiver, Moses was also the great Cosmographer, and as such he was very much alive in this Byzantine period especially in the sixth century, and, what is more, was specifically associated with maps.  

  "...Cosmas Indicopleustes, travelled in this region and wrote his 'Christian Topography,' expressing in an entire book the vision of the entire Cosmos as expressed in the Book of Genesis, and as a counterblast
to the pagan Greek view of the universe as spherical;  he also presented Moses prefiguring Christ.  Thus Moses experiences a strong resurgence in this century not only as Lawgiver, the model of Justinian, but also and more relevantly as a Cosmographer.  What is even more relevant to the theme of this paper is that his (Moses's) conception of the universe as interpreted by Cosmas was also expressed in maps, some drawn by Cosmas himself AND SOME BY OTHERS WHOM COSMAS EMPLOYED...

  Cosmas Indicopleustes is that ancient Christian cartographer who drew up the oldest known Christian maps.  These and their successors depict Jerusalem as the Navel of the Earth, the literal centre of the Earth.  The city of Jerusalem is located at the geographical centre of the Earth.  The city lies at the crossroads of Sem (Asia), Ham (Africa), and Japheth (Europe).  Biblical, Christian, and Hebrew tradition unanimously state that Jerusalem is the Navel of the Earth and place the city at the geographical centre of the Cosmos.   Strictly speaking, the geographical centre of the Earth is marked by an Omophoron on the floor of the Katholikon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  

  The oldest acknowledged extant map of Jerusalem is a Byzantine mosaic Map of the Holy Land on the floor of the Katholikon of the sixth century Byzantine Church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan.  This is the famous Madaba map of Jerusalem unearthed in the Year of the Lord 1884, but not made famous until the librarian of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem visited Madaba to assess the map in 1897 and recognized the significance of this OLDEST MAP OF JERUSALEM IN THE WORLD.  The centre of the Map depicts the city of Jerusalem with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the middle of the city.  Consistent with the Flat Earth cosmography of the Church Fathers and Cosmas Indicopleustes, the eastern part of the map depicts the Four Rivers of Paradise which flow westward from the Garden of Eden into this world.  One can discern the rivers' names like Pyson which are labelled in the Mosaic.  The representation of the Four Rivers of Paradise in the Madaba Map is no different from their representation in the flat Earth world map of Cosmas Indicopleustes.

  The Madaba mosaic map was directly influenced by the Byzantine Egyptian cosmographer Cosmas Indicopleustes.  The Madaba Map book by Piccirillo referenced below gives evidence for the assertion that the Mosaic Map in Madaba was actually made by artists employed Cosmas Indicopleustes.  The 'Christian Topography' by Cosmas Indicopleustes was published in AD 548.  The Madaba Map was made in AD 560 - only twelve years later.  Furthermore, both the Sinai Monastery (where Cosmas worked and resided) and the Orthodox Byzantine Churches of Jordan (including the Church of Saint George in Madaba) are all part of the same Patriarchate (large Bishopric) - the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  Therefore, the fact that Cosmas Indicopleustes was himself associated with the construction of the Madaba Mosaic Map is well established.

'Christian Topography'

Early Christian Flat Earth Maps

World Map:

Tabernacle of the Cosmos:

Several Illustraions Redrawn for Clarity:

Monograph on the Maps:

List of Several Treatises By Cosmas Indicopleustes:

Refutation of the Modern Nestorian Hypothesis