Alexander von Humboldt.

Cosmos, Volume 2 online

. (page 39 of 43)
Online LibraryAlexander von HumboldtCosmos, Volume 2 → online text (page 39 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Pope Paul III. says, that the performance of the work has lingered on into
the " qaartum novennium." If we remembep how much time was required
for printing a work of 400 pages, and that the great man died in May 154Sw
we may presume that the dedication was not written in tbe last named yeari
which, reckoning backwards 36 years, would not give us a later but an earlier
year than 1507. — Herr Voigt doubts whether the aqueduct and hydrao^t
works at Frauenburg, generally ascribed to Copernicus, were really executed
tocording to his designs. He finds that so late as 1571, a contract mii
eoncluded between the Chapter and the "skilful Master Valentine Zendd #
Breslau," to bring the water to Frauenburg, from the mill-ponds to 1^
houses of the Canons. Nothing is said of any previous water-wof'kt, md
therefore the existing ones cannot have been commenced until 28 years after
the death of Copernicus.

(^ p. 305.— Delambre, Histoire de TAstronomie modeme, T. i. p. 14^
(••*) p. 304. — " Neque eiiim necesse est, eas hypotheses esse veras, imo ]i«
yerisimiles quidem, sed sufficit hoc unum, si calculum observationibus con-
gruentem exhibeant," says the preface of Osiander. " The bishop of Cnlm^
Tidemann Gise, a native of Dantzig, who had for years urged Copernicus to
publish his work, at last received the manuscript, with permission to have it
printed at his free pleasure. He sent it first to Rheeticus, Professor at Wit-
tenberg, who had recently been living for a long time with his teacher at
ITraueuburg. Rhseticus regarded Nuremberg as the most suitable place for
the publication, and entrusted the superintendence of the printmg to the
Ftofessor Schoner and Andreas Osiander" (Gassendi, Vita Copernici, p. 319)«
The eulogium pronounced on the work at the dose of the pre&ce woild
luffice to shew, without the express testimony of Gasseudi, that the ^re&oe
ma by another hand. Also on the title of the first edition (that <^ Niirc«i»

Digitized byL^OOQlC



nm MOTES.



berg, 1648), Grander has made use uf an expression which is always carefullj
•Folded in Copemicos's own writmg: ''motos stellanmi novis insaper ae
admirabilibus hypothesibus omati," together with the very ungentle addition,
"igitnr, studiose lector, erne, lege, fruere." In the second Bale edition of
1666, which I hare very carefully compared with the first Nuremberg edition,
there is no longer mention in the title of the book of the ''admirable hypo-
thesis;" but Osiander's "Prfiefatiuncula de Hypothesibus hujus Opens," as
Gassendi calls the interpolated preface, is preserved. It is also evident that
Osiander, without naming himself, meant to shew that the prafatiunciila was
by a different hand from the work itself, as he designates the dedication to
Paul III. as the " Prsefatio Authoris." The first edition has only 196
leaves ; the second has 213, on account of the added Narratio Prima of the
astronomer George Joachim Rhseticus, and a letter directed to Schoner, which,
«s I have remarked in the text, being printed in 1541 by the intervention of
the mathematician Gassarus of Basle, gave to the learned world the first cor-
rect knowledge of the Copemican system. Khseticus had given up his pro-
fessorship at Wittenberg for the sake of enjoying the instructions of Ck)perm*cna
tt Prauenburg itself. (Compare, on these subjects, Gassendi, p. 310—319.)
The explanation of what Osiander was induced to add from timidity, is givem
by Gassendi : " Andreas porro Osiander fuit, qui non modo operarum inspector
<the superintendent of the printing) fiiit, sed Preefatiuncijlam quoque ad
lectorem (tacito licet nomine) de Hypothesibus opens adhibuit. Ejus in ea
eonsilium fuit, ut, tametsi Copernicus Motum Terrse habuisset, non solum pro
Hypothesi, sed pro vero etiam placito ; ipse tamen ad rem, ob illos, qui heinc
offenderentur, leniendam, excusatum eum faceret, quasi talem "Motum non pr«
dogmate, sed pro Hypothesi mera assumpsisset."

O p. 307.—" Quis enim in hoc pulcherrimo templo lampadem banc in
alio vel meliori loco poneret, quam unde totum simul possit iQuminare? Si-
quidem non inepte quidam lucemam mundi, alu mentem, alii rectorem vocant.
Trimegistus visibilem Deum, Sophoclis Electra intuentem omnia. Jta pro-
fecto tanquam in solio regali Sol residens circumagentem gubemat astrorua
familiam : TeUus quoque minime frandatur lunari ministerio, sed ut Aristo-
teles de animalibus ait, maximam Luna cum terra cognationem habet. Con-
cepit interea a Sole terra, et impregnatur annuo partu. Invehimus igitur sub
hac ordinatione admirandam mundi symmetriam ac certum harmonise nexum
motusetmagnitudinisorbiura: quaHs alio modo reperiri non potest (NicoL
Copem. de Revol. Orbium Coelestium, lib. i. cap. 10, p. 9 b). In this pac
'^NB^ which ia not without poetic grace and elevation of styles we recpgniao.

Digitized byL^OOQlC



V(yma4 em

as was fhe case ivith all the astronomers of thelTth centoiy, traces of long and
intimate adqoaintance with, classical antiquity. Copernicus had in his min2
Cic. Somn. Scip. c. 4 ; Plin. ii. 4 ; and Mercur. Trismeg. lih. t. (ed. Cracon
1586), p. 195 and 201. The allusion to the Electra of Sophocles is ohscur^
^ the sun is not termed any where ''all-seeing," as it is in the Biad
4md the Odyssey, and also in the ChcephorsB of .ffischylus (v. 980), which yet
Copernicus would not probably have called Electra. According to fiockh's
conjecture, the allusion is to bt ascribed to a vague remembrance of verse
S69 of Sophocles' (Edipus Colooeus. It is singular that quite lately, in an
otherwise instructive memoir (Czynski, Kopemik et ses Travanx, 1847, p.
102), the Electra of the tragedian is confounded with " electric currents."
The passage of Copernicus quoted above is thus translated : " Si on prend Id
«oleil pour le flambeau de Tunivers, pour son ame, pour son guide, si Trime-
giste le nonmie un Dien, si Sophocle le croit nne puissance electrique qui anima
et contemple Tensemble de la creation.". . . .

(^ p. 307. — " Fluribus ergo existentibus centris, de centro quoque mnndi
aon temere qnis dubitabit, an videlicet fuerit istud gravitatis terrense, an aliudr
Equidem ezistimo, gravitatem non aliud esse, quam appetentiam quandam
naturalem partibus inditam a divina providentia opficis universorum, ut in nni-
iatem integritatemque suam sese conferant in formam globi coeuntes. Quam
affectionem credibile est etiam Soli, Lunae, cseterisque errantium fulgoribns
inesse, ut ejus eficacia in ea qua se reprsesentant rotunditate permaneant, quA
nihilominus multis modis suos efficiunt circuitus. Si igitur et terra faciatalio%
at pote secundum centrum (mundi), necesse erit eos esse qui similiter extrin-
eecus in multis apparent, in quibus invenimus annuum circuitum. — Ipae
denique Sol medium mundi putabitur possidere, quae omnia ratio ordinis, quo
ilia sibi invicem succedunt, et mundi totius harmouia nos docet, si modo rem
ipsam ambobus (ut ^junt) oculis inspiciamus" (Copem. de Revol. Orb. CosL
lib. i. cap. 9, p. 7, b).

(^ p. 308.— Pint, de Facie in Orbe Lunse, p. 923, e (compare Ideler»
Meteorologia Yeterum Grsecorum et Romanomm, 1832, p. 6). In the pas-
sage of Plutarch, Anaxagoras is not named; but that the latter applied the
«ame theory of " falling if the force of rotation intermitted" to all the material
43ele8tial bodies, we learn from Diog. Laert. ii. 12, and the many passages
which I have collected (Kosmos, Bd. i. S. 139, 397, 401, and 408; EngL
trans. Vol. i. p. 1 23-124, Notes 62, 69, 89). Compare also Aristot. de Ccb1o»
ii. 1, p. 284, a 24, Bekker and a remarkable passage of Simplicius,p. 491, b,
in the Scholia, according to the edition of the Berlin Academy, where tiie

Digitized byL^OOQlC



**Bat fSriBig^f beiifBnlT bofiet** is ipolraa of ^lAnn ihe Ibroe of raUikuft
^wedoniinctM over ^ proper &IIiiig force or downward ■ttraction." Wt
muf oonnoet with these ideas, which ako partisll/ hdong to Bmpedodes aiil
Democritos as well as to Anaxagoraa, the instance addneed by fiioqilicias, (/. ^
**ISiat water b a phial is not spilt when the phial is swug roond with «
movemcBt of rotation move rapid than the dovvnwiid m ore m e u t of 11«
fvater** (nis cirt ro iutr» twt vthros ^fn^*

(^ p. 808.— Kosmos, Bd. L S. 139 and 408; En^ tran8» p. 124 wad.
note 89. (Compare Letnmne^ des Opiiiions eosmographiqaes dee Peres da
i'Egliae, in the RcTne dee deux Mondes» 1884, T. i p. 621.)

(^) p. 808.— For all tAtat fdates to atoautioa, gravity, and the £bB ^
bodiee, as regarded in antiqoitj, see a eoDeetion of pasaages from ^ andcrii^
•made with great industry and discrimiBation, by Hi. Henii Martin* JEMm
Mr le Tim^ de Platon, 1841, T. ii. p. 272-280, and 841.

(^ p. 808. — Job. Philoponos de Creatione Mondi, lib. L cap. 12.

(^) p. 806.~-He aflerwards gave up the correct opinion (Brewster, Mar-
ijn at Seienoe, 1846, p. 211) ; bnt that there dwells in the central body ^
ihe planetaiy system, the Sm, a power which governs the moyements of the
]^ets, and that this solar force decreases either as the square of the i
or in direct ratio, was expreesed by Kepler, in the Haimonices If nndi, <
fleted in 1618.

(^ p. 808.-~Xo«moa, Bd. L S. 80 and 66 (En^ hmm. Vel. i. jiu II
JAdSS.)

(«») p. 809.— Kosmos, Bd. ii. 8. 189 and 209 (Bng. trans. Vol. E. p. 101
'tttd 176). Tlffi scattered passages in ^ work of Gopemieus, relating to the
Ante-Hipparchian system of the stnictore of the univeme, ezdosive of te
dedication, are tite foUowii^ : — lib. i. cap. 5 and 10 ; lib. ▼. cap. 1 and t (eJL
princ. 1643, p. 8, b; 7, b; 8, b; 133, b; 141 and 141, b; 179 and 181,
b). Every where Copernicus shews a predilection for, and a very aoeorate aiv
qnaintanee with, the views entertained by the Pythsgoreans, or whidi, to
apeak more circnmspectly, were attributed to the most aadent among tbeM.
¥w example, as we see by the beginning of the dedication, he was acqaaisM
irith the letter of Lysis to Hipparchns; which, indeed, shews that the bj»>
leiy loving Italic sdiool only designed to oommnmcaie their, <^knon8 ^
itlends, ^*m had at first been the purpose of Copemiciis likewise." TbB
period to whbh Lysis belonged is somewhat uncertaitt; he is sometioHi
termed an munediate disdple of Pythagoras himself, sometime^ and wilft
^"xore ffol>ahi%, n teadwr of . Bsaimnoadas (Badch* Phflcdafli; & 8-^5).

Digitized by LjOOQ IC



NOTES. CU

Tht letter of Ijsis to Hipperchus (an old Pjrthagoitan, wbo had ditd/OteA
the mysteries of the sect), U, like so many othei writings^ s fnrgeiy of later
times. Copemiens had probably become acqaaintcd with it horn the coUee-
tion of Aldns Manutius, Epistole diversomm Fhilosophomm (Bom9» 1494),
or from a Latin translation by Cardinal Bessanoa (Veoet. 1516). In tha,
prohibition of Copemicos' work, De ReTolutionibos, in the famona decree of
the Congregazione delT Indice of the 5th of March» 1616, the new system of
thjB universe is expressly designated as "falsa ilia doctnna Pythagorica, Di*
vinse Scripturss omnino adversans." The important passage on Anstarchna
cf Samoa, of which I have spoken in the text, is in the Arenaiius» p, 449 of
the Paris edition of Archimedes of 1615 by David Rivaltna. But the editio
princeps is the Basle edition of 1544, apnd Jo. Hervagiam. The passage in
the Arenarint laya very distinctly, that " Aristarchni had counted the Astro-
nomers who imagined the earth to be immoveable in the centre of the uni*
terse ; that this centre was occnpied by the son, which was immoveable, like
othor stars, while the earth revolved loond it." Copemiens, in his work,
twice names Aristarchus,. p. 69 b and 79, but without any allosion to hif
iystem. Ideler, in Wolf Sid Battmann*s Museum der AUerthums-'Wissen-
achaft (Bd. ii. 1808, S. 452), asks whether Copernicus was acquainted with
Kicolaus von Cusa*s work, De Docta Ignorantia. The fir^ Paris edition of it
was indeed published in 1514, and the expression, "jam nobis manifestum
«t terram in veritate moveri," from a platinising cardinal, might have bem
expected to make some impression on the Canon of Frauenburg (Whewel^
Philosophy of the Inductive Scieuce8> Vol. ii. p. 843) ; but a fragment of
Cnsa's writing discovered very recently (1843) in the library of the Hospital
at Cues, sufficiently proves, as does the work De Yenatione Sapientiia^
cap. 28, that Cnsa imagined the earth not to move round the ton, bat ta
move togethei ^v^th it, though more slowly, "round the eenstantly changing
pole of the universe" (Clemens, in Giordano Bruno^ and NiooL Tun Cusi^
1847, S. 97— 10<>).

(^^ p. 309. — See the profound treatment of this subject in Martin, Etudef
•or Timee, T. ii. p. Ill (Cosroographie des Egyptiens), and p. 129—133
(Antecedents da Syst^me de Copemic). The statement of this learned phi-
lologist, according to which the original system of Pythagoras himself
differed from that of Philolao9, and placed the earth at rest in the centra,
does not appear to r!.e quite convincing (T. ii. p. 103 and 107). Bespecting
th« remarkable staf.ement of Gasscndi mentioned in the text, of the simi-
kfity of the systems of Tycho Brahe and ApoUoniua of lei^ i Utt add

Digitized byL^OOQlC



ex NOTES.

ftirtber explanation. In Gassendi's biographies, lie says, " Magnam imprimif
rationem habnit Ck>pernicii8 doaram opinionnni affininm, qoaram unam Mar-
tiano Capellse, alteram Apollonio Pergseo attriboit. — Apollonias Solem delegi^
eirca qaem, nt centrom, non modo Mercurius et Venus, vemm etiam Mars^
Japiter, Satarnns snas obirent periodos, dum Sol interim, nti et Luna, circa
Terram, nt circa centrum, quod foret affixarum mundique centrom, moverentur,
qu8B deinceps quoque opinio Tycbonis propemodum fiiit. Bationem aatem
magnam hamm opinionum Copernicus habait, quod utraque ezimie Mercarii
•c Veneris circuitiones repwesentaret, eximieque causam retrogradationom,
directionum, stationum in iis apparentium exprimeret et posterior (Pergaei)
quoque in tribus planetis superioribus pnestaret" (Gassendi, Tychonis Brahei
Vita, p. 296). My friend the astronomer Galle, from whom I sought infor-
mation, like myself finds nothing which could justify Gassendi's decided
■tatement. He writes to mvi, "In the passages which you refer torn
Ptolemy's Almt^est (in the commpneemeut of Book XII.), and in the works
of Copernicus (lib. v. cap. 3, p. 141, a ; cap. 35, p. 179, a and b ; cap. 36^
p. 181, b), there is only qaestion of explaining the retrogressions and sta
tionary appearances of the planets, in which there is indeed a reference to
Apollonius's assumption of the revolution of the planets round the sun (and
Copernicus himself mentions expressly the assumption of the earth's standing
Btill) ; but it does not appear possible to determine where he obtained what
Be supposes to have been derived from Apollonius. I can onljr theretort
conjecture, that some late writer gave a system attributed to Apollonius of
Perga which resembled that of Tyc^^oj although I do not find, even in
Copernicus, any dear exposition of such a system, or any quotations of ancient
passages respecting it. If the source from whence the complete Tychonic
■view is attributed to Apollonius should be merely lib. XII. of the Almagest,
we may consider that Gassendi went too far in his suppositions, and that the
case resembled that of the phases of Mercury and Venus, which Copernicus
spoke of indeed (Ub. i. cap. 10, p. 7, b, and 8, a), but without decided^
applying them to his system. Apollonius, perhaps, in a similar manner may
have treated mathematically the explanation of the retrogressions of ths
planets under the assumption of a revolution round the sun, without subjoin-
ing any thing decided and general as to the truth of this assumption. Tlia
difference of the Apollonian system described by Gassendi from that of Tycbo
Would only be, that the latter explained the inequalities of the movements
ts weU. The remark of Robert Small, that the fundamental idea of the
Tychonian system was by no means a 8tranfi;er to the mind of Copenuca%

Digitized byL^OOQlC



NOTES. CXi

but had rather served him as a point of transition to his own system, appears
to me well fonnded."

(^) p. aiO.—Schabert, Astronomic, Th. i. S. 124. Whewell has ^ven,
in the Philosophy of the Indnctiye Sciences, Vol. ii. p. 282, an Inductive
Table of Astronomy, which presents an exceediDgly good and complete tabular
▼iew of the astronomical contemplation of the structure of the universe,
from the earliest times to Newton's system of gravitation.

(^ p. 811. — Plato inclines, in the Phsedrus, to the system of Philolaui;
but in the Timeeus, to that which represents the earth as immoveable in the
centre, subsequently called the Hipparchian or the Ptolemaic system (Bocldi,
de Platonico Systemate Ckslestium Globorum, et de vera indole Astronomiae
Philolaicse, p. ixvi. — xiiii. ; also the same author in the Philolaos, S. 104 —
108. Compare also Fries, Geschichte der Philosophic, Bd. i. S. 325 — 847, with
Martin's Etudes sur Tim^e, T. ii. p. 64 — 92). The astronomical vision in
whiok the structure of the universe is veiled, at the end of the Book of the
Bepublic, reminds one at once of the planetary systems of intercalated spheres,
and of thd concord of tones (the music of the spheres) — "the voices of the
Sirens winging their flight with the revolving orbs. " (See, on the discovery of
the true system of the universe, the fine and comprehensive work of Apelt»
Epochen der Gesch. der Menscheit, Bd. i. 1845, S. 205—305 and 379—
445.)

(^^ p. 311. — Kepler, Harmonices Mundi, libri quinque, 1619, p. 189.
*'0n the 8th of March, 1618, Kepler, after many unsuccessful attempts,
came upon the thought of comparing the squares of the times of revolution
of the planets with the cubes of the mean distanots ; but he made an error of
calculation, and rejected the idea. On the 15th of May, 1618, he came back
upon it, and calculated correctly. The third Keplerian law was now disco-
Tered." This discovery, and those related to it, coinddi with the distressing
period when this great man, exposed from early childhood to the hardest
strokes of fate, was labouring, in a trial for witchcraft which lasted six years,
to save his aged mother, 70 years old, accused of poison-mixing, incapacity of
ahedding tears, and sorcery, from the torture and the stake. The suspicion
was strengthened by her own son, the wicked Christopher Kepler a worker
in tin, being his mother's accuser ; and by her having been brought up by an
tnnt who was burnt at Weil as a witch. See an exceedingly interesting
work, but little known in foreign countries, drawn from newly discovered
manuscripts by Baron von Breitschwert, entitled, " Johann Kappler's Leben
md Wirken," 1831, S. 12, 97—147, and 196. According to this work^

Digitized byLnOOQlC



Xqplflr, who in Oennan letters always sijpied his wufU Keppkr, w«a not iMm
WL the 21st of December, J 571, in the imperial town We^ as is nsuallj smfi*
posed, but on the 87th of December, 1571, in the Wortemberg Tillage of
Hsgstatt. Of Gopernicas it is uncertain whether he was bom on the i9&
of Janoarj, 1472, or on the \9th Febmarj, 1473 (as Mostlin supposes), off
(according to Gsynsld) on the 12th February of the aame year. The year flC
Columbus's birth Vas long unoertaiu within 19 years. Bamnsio places it it
14^0, Beraaldei, the iriend of the discoiverer, in 1436^ and the cd^rmtad
historian Muftoz in 1446.

(^ p. 812.~-Plut. de Fbe. Philos. il 14; Ari^i MeteenroL id. d. Da
CqbIo, iL Sb On theories of the spheres generally, and on the letrogradiug
spheres of Aristotle in particidar, see Ideler'a Vorlesnng fSih^ Sladoiua, 1828^
g, 49—60.

(^ p. 813. — A better insight into the free moTement of bodies, and inb
the independence of the direction of the axis of the earth onoe given, and if
the rotatory and progressiTe moTement of the terrestrial globe in its orbit, has
freed the origiual system of Copernicus from the assumptbn of a dedinatieft'
movement^ or a so-called third movement of the earth (De Bevolut. (^b. Cod,
lib. L cap. 11, triplex motus teHuris). In the annual revolution round tht
mm, the parallelism of the earth's axis is maintained in eonformity with til9
kw of inertia, without the apidication of a " correctiug" epicycle.

(^ p. 814. — ^Delambre, Hist, de TAstronomie andenne, T. iL p. 881

(^) p. 814.— See Sir David Brewster's judgment on ^pWs optieil
works, in the " Martyrs <^ Sdence," 1846, p. 179—182. (Compare^iHa^
Gesch. der Optik, 1888, T^ L S. 182—210.) If the hw of the refractiuB
flf lays of light belongs to the Leydeu Professor Willebrord SneUins (1626)9
who at his decease left it behind lura buried in his papers^ on the other hand
the publication of the law in a trigonometrical form was first made by De^
cartes. See Brewster, in the North British Beview, Yd. vii p^ 20? ; "^ildi^
Gesch. der Optik, Th. L S. 227.

(^ p. 814. — Compare two excellent memein en the discovery of ii#
telescope, by Professor MoU of Utrecht, in the Jdumal of the Boyal Institik
tion, 1831, Vol. i. p. 319 ; and by Wilde at Berlin, in his OesdL der Optil^
1838, Th. L S. 188—172. The \«eric of MoU, written in the Dutch la»
gnage, is entitled, " Geschiedkundig Onderzoek near de eerste l^&idm dff
Verokykers, uit de Aaatckenuingen vui wyle den HoogL van Swinden zaOM»
gesteld door G. Moll," Amsterdam, 1831. Olbers has given an extract tnm
^hjs interesting treatise in Sdumiacher'sJahrbuchfiir 1848^ S.66 - 6Sw !!•

Digitized byL^OOQlC



ItOTES. cxin

optical instmments which Priace Maurice of Nassaa and the Archduke Alhert
had from Jansen (the Archduke gave his to Cornelius Brehhel), were, (as is evi-
dent from the letter of the ambassador Bored, who had been often in Jansen's
house when a child, and at a later period saw the instruments in the shop,)
microscopes 18 inches long, " through which small objects, when one looked
down at them from above, appeared wonderfully magnified." — ^The confusion
between the microscope and the telescope has contributed to obscure the his-
toiy of the invention of both instruments. The letter of Boreel (Paris,
1655), above alluded to, notwithstanding the anthorily of Tiraboschi, renders
it improbable that the first invention of the oomponnd microscope belonged to
Galileo. Compare, on this obscure history of optical inventions, Vincenzio
Antinori, in the Saggi di Natorali Esperienze fatte nell' Accademia del Cimento,
1841, p. 22 — 26. Even Huygens, who was bom scarcely twenty-five
years after the supposed date of the invention of the telescope, did not
' venture to decide with certainty respecting the name of the first inventor
(Opera reliqua, 1728, VoL iL p. 125). According to the researches which
Van Swlnden and Moll haye made in Archives, not only w^ Lippershey, as
early as the 2d of October, 1608, in possession of a telescope made by him-
•el^ but the French Ambassador at the Hague, President Jeannin, wrote, on
the 28th of December of the same year, to Sully, "that he was in treaty
with the Middleburg spectacle-maker for a telescope which he wished to send
to the king" (Henry IV.) Simon Marius (Mayer of Gunzenhansen, one of
the two independent discoverers of Jupiter's satellites) even relates that hia
fidend Fuchs of Bimbach, Privy Councillor of the Margrave of Ansbach, was
offered a telescope for sale in the autumn of 1608 at Frankfort-on-Maine,
by a Belgian. Telescopes were made in London in February 1610, or a year
after Galileo had completed his telescope (Rigaud on Harriot's Papers, 1833,
p. 28, 26, and 46). They were at first called cylinders. Porta, the inventor
of the camera obscura, as well as, at earUer periods, Fracastoro the cotempo-
rary of Columbus, Copernicus, and Cardanus, had merely spoken of the pos-
sibility " of seeing every thing larger and nearer" by looking through convex
and concave ghisses phu%d on each other (duo speoilla ooularia alteram alteri
fuperposita) ; but we cannot ascribe to them the invention of the telescope
(Tiraboschi, Storia della Letter, ital. T. xi, p. 467 ; Wilde, Gesoh. der Optik,
Th. i. S. 121). Spectacles had been known in Haarlem since the beginning
of the 14th century ; and an epitaph in the church of Maria Maggiore at
Florence names as the inventor (inventore degli occhiali) Salvino degli Armati,
deceased in 1317. Separate and apparently authentic notices of the use q(
VOL. II. 2 I

Digitized by VnOOQ IC



CXIV KOTES.

•peotaelet bj aged pertom oocar even as early as 1299 and 1805. The poft-
laget of Roger Baoon relate to the magnifying power of spherical segments
of glass. See Wilde, Gesoh. der Optik, Th. L S. 98—96; and above, Note



Online LibraryAlexander von HumboldtCosmos, Volume 2 → online text (page 39 of 43)