It has been said that Christopher Columbus set out on a voyage in 1492 to prove that the Earth was round and not flat. We now know that simply wasn’t true and that by the 1400s most of Europe’s scholars had gotten wise to the fact that Earth was in fact round. Proof of this lies in one of the world’s oldest globes, the Hunt-Lenox globe. However, the instrument wasn’t correct on all fronts.
In an interesting twist, just below the equator, there is an inscription in Latin: “Here be dragons.” We have to wonder what people at the time actually thought was going on there!
The small metal globe is engraved with various landmasses as one would expect, including gorgeous waves in the sea with sea monsters to boot. However one important area is missing. The globe is the earliest surviving specimen from the time just following Columbus’ discovery of the New World. Have a look at this curious object of antiquity (housed at the New York Public Library) in the video below.