THANK YOU. So few people know this. Even in antiquity the earth was often portrayed as globe, sometimes held in the hand of a deity or emperor; take, for instance, this statue of Jupiter from the 1st century AD:
Or this one of Octavian Augustus, also from the 1st century:
The early Christians, many of whom were educated Romans, certainly did not deny this. They would often depict the globe topped by a cross to symbolize Christ’s dominion over the world. This image, the globus cruciger, first appeared on the back of coins of Theodosius II, made AD 424-430:
The globus cruciger remained a popular image in religious artwork throughout the Middle Ages:
Miniature of Frederick I Barbarossa by Robert de Saint Remy, ca. 12th cent.
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, Golden bull of 1356
And many, many more.
When Columbus presented his proposition to sail west, he wasn’t arguing that the world was spherical–people knew this already. He was advised not to sail in uncharted territory because according to the scientific calculations of that time (mostly made by Catholic monks) he and his crew would perish of thirst or starvation long before they reached Asia, which was their goal. And they probably would have died had they not run into America.
There is so much evidence disproving the myth that people in the middle ages (particularly Catholics) thought the earth was flat. It drives me crazy that so many people still believe it.