robert grosseteste

Medieval scientists, such as Robert Grosseteste, were interested in discovering the nature of light.

Grosseteste’s treatise, On Light, blends Neoplatonist theories of emanation and aspects of Aristotle’s cosmology. The effects of light became more important to the medieval artisans, particularly in architecture, and they frequently associated light with their theories of color. Light and color affected the thoughts of medieval thinkers on certain characteristics of beauty, such as radiance and clarity.

image: Bishop Robert Grosseteste, window on the South transept Westernmost. St Paul’s Parish Church, Morton, Near Gainsborough, 1896

To return therefore to my theme, I say that light through the infinite multiplication of itself equally in all directions extends matter on all sides equally into the form of a sphere and, as a necessary consequence of this extension, the outermost parts of matter are more extended and more rarefied than those within, which are close to the center. And since the outermost parts will be rarefied to the highest degree, the inner parts will have the possibility of further rarefaction.

Robert Grosseteste, De Luce

–Might as well be about verse and versification as it is about matter and its rarefaction. Also has me itching to revisit Stephen Daedalus’s wandering and thinking about the ineluctable.