Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni Arabis. [Alhazen’s Book of Optics].

First edition of Alhazen's fundamental Book of Optics

Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni Arabis. [Alhazen’s Book of Optics].



Item Number: 90395

Basel: Eusebius Episcopius , 1572.

First edition of Alhazen’s fundamental work on optics and vision, which influenced Galileo and Kepler and paved the way for the modern science of physical optics. Folio, bound in full contemporary Basel vellum with central arabesques blind-stamped to the front and rear panels, titles stamped in black and five raised bands to the spine, woodcut printer’s device to the title page, woodcut initials, diagrams and full page illustration to the verso of the title page. Translated from Arabic into Latin by Gerard of Cremona. In very good condition. From the library of American physician Chester Tilton Stone with his bookplate to the pastedown. A superior example of this significant work, rare and desirable in contemporary vellum.

Building on Ptolemy and Euclid, Arab astronomer and physicist Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (Latinized Alhazen) made significant contributions to the principles of optics and visual perception, his most influential work being his Kitāb al-Manāẓir (Book of Optics), written during 1011–1021, which only survived in the present Latin edition. Ibn al-Haytham was the first to explain that vision occurs when light reflects from an object and then passes to one's eyes and the first to deduce that vision occurs in the brain, rather than in the eyes. Friedrich Risner, a protege of Pierre Ramus, prepared the first edition of Alhazen's work from two Latin manuscripts discovered by Ramus. Al-Jayyani's treatise on twilight is frequently found in manuscripts with Alhazen's Optics. Witelo's Perspectiva was previously published twice before its inclusion in this work (Nuremberg 1535, 1551). This combined edition was the standard reference work on optics through the 17th century, influencing scientists including Galileo, Brahe, and Kepler (Adams, A-754; Norman, 1027; Dibner, 138).

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