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Exposing the Flat Earth and Other Myths of Medieval Science (Christian Etheridge)

Christian Etheridge on medieval science at the Danish Institute for Advanced Study, 15 February 2017

Medieval science suffers from a bad press. It is seen as a dark period lurking between the bright lights of Classical Antiquity and that of the Renaissance. Medieval science is seen to represent everything that is irrational in human nature and where even the Earth is seen as being flat. Popular works on the history of science often promote this idea. The Pulitzer Prize winning The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt is a recent version of this. Contrary to this popular opinion, a century of academic endeavor has actually shown that medieval science is in fact the foundation for all of our science today. Medieval scientists were indeed far from being irrational and certainly nobody believed that the Earth was flat. In this paper I demonstrate some of the reality behind the myth of medieval science and use some of my own research to show that science was practiced here in Scandinavia.

This talk is part of the Danish Institute for Advanced Study's IDEAS series.

Editing was completed: 15.02.2017