Medieval Inventions: Eyeglasses
1289 in a Florentine manuscript entitled Traite de con uite de
la famille, Sandra di Popozo wrote: "I am so debilitated by
age that without the glasses known as spectacles, I would no longer
be able to read or write. These have recently been invented for
the benefit of poor old people whose sight has become weak". Years
earlier, Friar Roger Bacon wrote a description of lenses to make
letters bigger in his Opus Majus (1268) - so it's
clear that the first spectacles were made somewhere between 1268
historical evidence for the timeframe is heard in a sermon of a
Father Giordano of Pisa who in 1306 pronounced, "It is not yet
twenty years since the art of making spectacles, one of the most
useful arts on earth, was discovered. I, myself, have seen
and conversed with the man who made them first".
fails to mention the man's name, of course, but the true identity
of who first invented spectacles will probably never be known.
we do know that the first artistic depiction of eyeglasses was painted
by Tommaso da Modena in his 1352 portrait of Hugh of Provence. The
religious scholar is seen with his glasses studiously perched on
his nose. Then, as now, the wearing of eyeglasses somehow evoked
an air of thoughfulness, and the use of spectacles as a subject
detail - in both medieval and early Renaissance painting - would
soon come to symbolize a wealth of education and wisdom...
out more related resources on the Web:
Man Devised That He Might See
Eyeglasses History - Wikipedia
is the History of Eyeglasses?
More Medieval Inventions...