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Full Access Spectacles in the Muslim World

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Spectacles in the Muslim World

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New Evidence from the Mid-Fourteenth Century

image of Early Science and Medicine

Obscurity surrounds not only the date and name of the inventor of eyeglasses, but also the date and place where eyeglasses (or information pertaining to them) reached the Muslim world. It is assumed that eyeglasses were transmitted to the Muslim world through commerce with Italian traders, which is probable, while other options also present themselves. This paper shows, at any rate, that the date traditionally given for the first acquaintance of the Muslim world with eyeglasses is wrong. In this article, we present evidence that eyeglasses were available in Syria since the fourteenth century and discuss the implications of this discovery.


Affiliations: 1: Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich ; 2: Ben-Gurion University and Sapir College, Israel

Obscurity surrounds not only the date and name of the inventor of eyeglasses, but also the date and place where eyeglasses (or information pertaining to them) reached the Muslim world. It is assumed that eyeglasses were transmitted to the Muslim world through commerce with Italian traders, which is probable, while other options also present themselves. This paper shows, at any rate, that the date traditionally given for the first acquaintance of the Muslim world with eyeglasses is wrong. In this article, we present evidence that eyeglasses were available in Syria since the fourteenth century and discuss the implications of this discovery.


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/content/journals/10.1163/15733823-0011a0003
2013-01-01
2016-12-10

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