Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,356 words)

Platonic natural science (Platonism) and the medical theory of the ancient physician Galen (Humoralism) held vision to be an active process. A cold fire glowed in the eye, and its rays were emitted towards objects. As in India and Arabia, the idea formed from this in Europe that optical perception (Optics) came about as the ray emitted by the eye illuminated the object. In this context, there also emerged ideas of the sharp gaze with which some people dominate others, see through them, or influence their mood, and superstitious notions of the evil eye (Latin invidia), with which those w…

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Stolleis, Michael and Behringer, Wolfgang, “Eye”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 23 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_017211>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180126

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