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mid-15c., "sphere," from Middle French globe (14c.) and directly from Latin globus "round mass, sphere, ball," also, of men, "a throng, crowd, body, mass," related to gleba "clod, soil, land" (see glebe). Sense of "planet earth," or a three-dimensional map of it first attested 1550s.
sphere or ball that bears a map of the Earth on its surface and is mounted on an axle that permits rotation. The ancient Greeks, who knew the Earth to be a sphere, were the first to use globes to represent the surface of the Earth. Crates of Mallus is said to have made one in about 150 BC. The earliest surviving terrestrial globe was made in Nurnberg in 1492 by Martin Behaim, who almost undoubtedly influenced Christopher Columbus to attempt to sail west to the Orient. In ancient times, globes also were used to represent the constellations; the earliest surviving globe is the marble Farnese globe, a celestial globe dating from about AD 25