Beginning with Plato’s Timaeus, philosophical treatises on optics from the ancienty world through the late middle ages and early modern period addressed optics through a religious and spiritual perspective. Many medieval philosophers on optics, including Abu Yusuf Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq Al-Kindi, Hasan ibn al-Haytham (Latinized as Alhazen or Alhacen), Roger Bacon, Witelo, and Robert Grosseteste were theologians as well as natural philosophers, and their discussions of optics all have varying degrees of religious implications. Al-Kindi and Alhazen established the foundation upon which optical theory in the medieval Latin West would base optical theory through translations of the ancient sources into Latin as well as Latin versions of their Arabic sources.
Latin sources on optics had their beginning with the Latin translation of and commentary on Plato’s Timaeus by Chalcidius. Other important sources include Latin translations of Euclid, Ptolemy, and Aristotle’s psychological texts, De anima, D...
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