Sunday 22 July 2012

Out of this World

The recent release of the almost blockbuster 'John Carter' provides an interesting taste of the early Twentieth century's ideas of living 'off' world. For us, one hundred years later, it seems hard to believe that someone living before World War One could accommodate the idea of existing beyond earth. But the idea is much older than we might think. Pliny is able to define the planets as 'worlds' rather than stars or suns, and contemplates their spherical surfaces as being hot or cold. He doesn't necessarily agree with Leucippus theory (from the 5th Century BC) that countless other worlds existed around countless other suns...but he does, at least mention it. And then he states, 'Men are not concerned to explore the extraterrestial', in that he understood in the First century AD there was no capacity to do so. Just goes to say that our understanding of the universe goes back a lot further than we 'moderns' would like to admit.

Find out if Calvus knew anything about the planets

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