At the dawn of human history, people lived in small communities over vast areas of Europe, Asia and Africa. They were hunting, collecting forest fruits and spices, fished. Their world was very small and cramped, it was limited to rivers, fields, forests, caves and clouds the area inhabited by this race. The meaning of the question "what is the earth?" or "what is the world?" for the people of that time would have been incomprehensible. In a number of languages, including ancient, the word "earth" once meant a small piece of space, the place where lived a tribe or clan. The author of "the Word about Igor's regiment" exclaims: "On the Russian land, you're already over the hill!" and it becomes clear that this is not about the globe, and the place of settlement of the Eastern Slavs.
The ancient Greeks receive a special word, which already makes a distinction between unknown and unexplored world, "ecumene" (oikeo - "inhabit, dwell"), denoting the part of the world, developed by man. This term was introduced by the geographer works by hecataeus of Miletus. The concept of the ecumene it included part of the Land with the center in Hellas (Greece - Europe (except the North), Small and Anterior Asia, India and North Africa.