Antipodes (from Greek ἀντί anti "against" and πούς pous "foot", literally " Gegenfüßer "; Latinized Antipodes ) is the name given to the lie on the opposite side of the world regions and for the people living there, so to speak, to those with their feet facing the viewer.

Ideas in the history

The possibility of the existence of people on the opposite side of the globe was blown controversial to modern times.

Conflict in antiquity

In ancient times, different worldviews were side by side represented. The advocates of a spherical earth, the question of possible inhabitants of the opposite hemisphere. Pythagoras, Plato, Cicero, and other ancient authors considered the existence of antipodes possible. The leading ancient geographer Strabo, however, she refused as unfounded speculation.

For Lactantius ( 250-325 AD), the idea of ​​antipodes was simply absurd: "What proclaim those who think there antipodes to return our feet? Yeah, who 's so foolish as he who believes that there is people whose feet above the heads are? Or where what shows us down, hangs up? Where plants and trees grow downward? Where falling rain and snow, and hail to the ground to the top? "With this obvious absurdity of the idea for him, he also founded his rejection of the spherical shape of the earth.

At the end of antiquity, the church father Augustine ( 354-430 ) concluded in rejecting the antipodes, even if he held a spherical earth possible. His contemporary, Martianus Capella, however, whose main work was heavily used in the European Middle Ages, the opposite side of the earth brought be inhabited.

Middle Ages

Although hardly anyone believed in a flat Earth in the Middle Ages, it was not thought of geographical, philosophical and theological reasons, the existence of people on the other side of the earth mainly possible.

Geographically, it played a role in the idea that in the equatorial region reign a great heat that make a crossing impossible. For this reason, no one could have gotten to the other hemisphere. This is due to the belief in the common origin of all people, which is reflected also in the creation story of the Bible. Furthermore, Christ's mission could not be fulfilled and would not make sense, people should live unattainable on other continents. Added to this was the notion that the Earth outside the continents Asia, Africa and Europe was completely covered by water.

Even in 1496 denied the scholar Zacharias Lilius with this argument, the existence of the antipodes, as he discussed the first reports of Columbus. The following reports of Columbus and other explorers then led quickly to the conclusion that on the other side of the earth but life is possible.

Today's word usage

Today, we simply referred to as antipodes two opposite points on the earth's surface, so that we can put between these two points is a straight line connecting the center of the Earth through. New Zealand is located on the opposite side of the globe Spain. Australia and New Zealand are also known ( from an overall European perspective) together as antipodes.

In a figurative sense thus can be called with opposite, usually incompatible and / or irreconcilable views and opinions or interests as well ( intellectual, political, etc.) opponents. Synonyms: antagonist (antagonism ).