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4. Optics and perspective


Tetus and Hephaestus, Pompeii
 
Optics in ancient times developed according to two leading schools of thought: one stating that vision was derived from images impressed on the eye, and the other maintaining instead that the eye emitted beams of light that struck objects.

Based on this second hypothesis, Euclid proposed a geometric model of the mechanics of sight, which has remained substantially unchanged even today.

The Romans considered both the science that studied the refraction of rays in dense bodies, known as dioptrics, and catoptrics--the study of rays reflected from shiny surfaces, such as mirrors--to be part of optics. Applications deriving from the study of optics included the application of the laws of vision to architecture and the figurative arts.
     
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