On the Rainbow, a Robert Grosseteste's Treatise on Optics

On the Rainbow, a Robert Grosseteste's Treatise on Optics

Loading document ...
Loading page ...


Author(s): Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Download Full PDF Read Complete Article

DOI: 10.18483/ijSci.296 578 1496 108-113 Volume 2 - Sep 2013


On the Rainbow is one of the short scientific treatises written by Robert Grosseteste. The Latin title is De Iride. In the first part of this treatise, we can find a discussion on reflection and refraction of light, described in the framework of the geometrical optics. In the second part, Grosseteste is writing about the rainbow and how its colors are created.


History of Science, Medieval Science, Optics


  1. N. Lewis, Robert Grosseteste, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2010 Edition, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/grosseteste
  2. G. ten Doesschate, Oxford and the revival of Optics in the thirteenth century, Vision Rev., Volume 1, 1962, Pages 313-342
  3. A.C. Crombie, Grosseteste's Position in the History of Science, in Robert Grosseteste: Scholar and Bishop, ed. Daniel A. Callus, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955, Pages 98-120
  4. Ludwig Baur, editor, Die Philosophischen Werke des Robert Grosseteste, Bischofs von Lincoln, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters, Volume 9, 1912, Münster: Aschendorff Verlag. This volume is considered the standard edition of Grosseteste's philosophical works and scientific opuscula
  5. A.C. Sparavigna, Robert Grosseteste and his Treatise on Lines, Angles and Figures in the Reflection and Refraction of Light, The International Journal of Sciences, Volume 2, Issue September, 2013, in print
  6. The Latin text is that given by “The Electronic Grosseteste', http://www.grosseteste.com, which is reporting the printed source from Ref.4, Pages 72-78
  7. D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2012, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_perception
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_stone
  10. Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, translated by John Bostock, XXXVII, Chap. 10
  11. Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, translated by John Bostock, XXXVII, Chap. 16
  12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snell's_law
  13. A. Mark Smith, Ptolemy and the Foundations of Ancient Mathematical Optics: A Source Based Guided Study, American Philosophical Society, Volume 89, Part 3, 1999
  14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_action
  15. R.L. Lee Jr. and A.B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth, and Science, Penn State Press, 2001
  16. Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, translated by John Bostock, II, Chap.60
  17. A.C. Sparavigna, Robert Grosseteste's colours, arXiv:1212.6336 [physics.hist-ph], arXiv, 2012
  18. A.C. Sparavigna, The play of colours of prisms, arXiv:1207.3504 [physics.hist-ph], arXiv, 2012

Cite this Article:

International Journal of Sciences is Open Access Journal.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.
Author(s) retain the copyrights of this article, though, publication rights are with Alkhaer Publications.

Search Articles

Issue June 2023

Volume 12, June 2023

Table of Contents

World-wide Delivery is FREE

Share this Issue with Friends:

Submit your Paper