H E Christian Topography of Cosmas, surnamed Indicopleustes, or the Indian Navigator, has been preserved in two copies: one a parchment MS. of the tenth. (COSMAS THE INDIAN VOYAGER). A Greek traveller and geographer of the first half of the sixth century, b. at Alexandria, Egypt. Cosmas probably received. 1. TITLE: World Pictures of Cosmas. DATE: A.D.. AUTHOR: Cosmas Indicopleustes of Alexandria. DESCRIPTION: Much of the tone of medieval European.

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The Christian Topography of Cosmas Indicopleustes

Some passages, besides, which give us an insight into the depth and fervour of his faith, rise to an eloquence which suggests the belief that, had he cultivated the art, he might have shone in pulpit oratory. Calling to his aid the words of Solomon, which declared that the sun on rising turned first towards the south and then xviii towards the north, where he went down, and thence hastened to the place in which he arose, he made them the basis of the following extraordinary theory.

Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. He is the first traveller to mention Syrian Christians in present-day Kerala in India. The problem did not baffle his ingenuity. On the question of the magnitude of the great luminary Cosmas differed widely from the Pagan philosophers, and wrote his sixth book mainly to prove that, instead of its being, as they thought, many times larger than the earth, it was no more than the size of two only of the earth’s climates or zones, those between the latitudes of Alexandria and Rhodes, and Rhodes and Constantinople, an extent of about geographical miles.

He condemns it as being below mediocrity in style, and faulty in its syntax; and at the same time inxicopleustes in question the author’s veracity, saying that he makes up stories so incredible that he may fairly be regarded as a writer of fables rather than of facts. Listen to this page.

Cosmas | Egyptian geographer |

Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. His variant name is Latin, meaning the Indian Navigator.


Retrieved from ” https: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. A doubt long ago arose as to whether Cosmas was the proper or family name of the author of the Topography. It is, however, in relating his travelling experiences that Cosmas is found at his best. Cosmas, when all his travels were over, returned to Alexandria, perhaps after paying a visit to Jerusalem; and, abandoning the secular life, retired to the seclusion of the cloister, where he devoted his indicoplustes to the composition of works on descriptive geography, cosmography, and Scriptural exegesis.

Some of these have been copied into the existing manuscripts, the oldest dating to the 9th century. Though Cosmas was scornful of Ptolemy and others who believed in a spherical Earth, his idiosyncratic work is not representative of the general state of cosmographic theory among Christian philosophers of his day and had small influence on later writers.

Cosmas probably received invicopleustes an elementary educationas he was intended for a mercantile life, and in his earlier years was engaged in business pursuits.

According to Cosmas the world is a rectangular structure in two sections, their length much greater than their breadth, and corresponding in form and proportions to the Tabernacle of the Old Testament. In the first book he attacks, and to his own satisfaction demolishes, the pernicious anti-Christian doctrines of the Pagan philosophy, that the world is spherical and that there are Antipodes.

How, then, is this earlier date to be reconciled with the later? His work Christian Topography contained some of the earliest and most famous world maps. We have already mentioned that the Topography has data from which the time when Cosmas wrote can be certainly determined. At least it is a monument of infinite, because quite unconscious, humour. Albert Einstein, German-born physicist who developed the indcopleustes and general theories of relativity and….

The theory that there is an antipodes, says Cosmas, is a doctrine to be rejected. The capital of Ethiopia at that time was Axum, an important centre of commerce, and also of religion and learning. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. If it be necessary to suppose, as some investigators assert, that Cosmas was at any time a Nestorianit would appear from his work, the “Christian Topography”, that, at least towards the close of his life, he returned to the orthodox faith.


Phnysiologus, des Kosmas Indicopleustes, etc. But though he was not instructed, as he tells us himself, 2 v in the “learning of the schools,” yet so inquisitive was his turn of mind and so sharp his intellect that he eventually acquired such a knowledge of literature and science as raised him to the level of the culture of his time, and to his being accepted as a capable exponent and defender of the Christian faith.

He closes one age of civilization which had slowly declined from the self-satisfied completeness of the classical world, and he prepares us to enter another that, in comparison, is literally dark. So he explains again and again that the division of the Tabernacle into two places, by means of the veil, typified the division of the universe into two worldsan upper and a lower, by means of the firmament.

And such it has always been recognisedby some with rapture, by others with consternation, by most with derision. In the two following books he again demolishes the doctrine of the spheres, while he re-states and fortifies his own theory with a long array of additional texts. The base is formed by the surface of the earth, around which flows the ocean; on the other side of the ocean lies another — unknown — continent, from which rise the walls that support the firmament above.

The earth rises towards the north and ends in a cone-shaped mountain behind which the sun continues its wanderings during the night, and the nights are long or short according as the position of the sun is near the base or the summit of the mountain. He was scornful of Ptolemy and others who held that the world was spherical. As a group of educational disciplines,…. In the eleventh, which is entirely geographical, he describes some animals and plants which he had seen or heard of in the course of his travels, and gives an account also of the island of Ceylon, and of its extensive commerce with India, Persia, China, and the countries of the west.