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Chapter Summary

The earliest separate treatise devoted to the study of atmospheric refraction and its deeper implications. The fundamental question it attempts to answer is Utrum stelle videantur ubi sint – “Are the stars really where they seem to be?” The De visione stellarum builds upon the foundations laid by the great perspectivists such as Ptolemy, Alhacen, Bacon, and Witelo on atmospheric optics, but it also goes further. The De visione stellarum was believed anonymous by most scholars of the early 20th century, such as Björnbo and Thorndike. It was not until the 1960s that Graziella Federici-Vescovini proposed that the work was by the brilliant medieval natural philosopher Nicole Oresme. B.N., J.X. 19 is immediately followed by a blank page. This blank page is followed by the final fragment of an otherwise unknown work on the same subject attributed to Nicole Oresme.

Keywords: De visione stellarum; Nicole Oresme; stars



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