A map of Greece in the background with me and the rays of my visual fire in the foreground.

A Brief History of Light – From Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages [Video]

3 April 2024

In this video we start a journey through the history of human ideas about the nature of light. It’s a long journey but we’ll try to keep it brief and concise. In this first part we focus on Europe and on the Middle East. In future posts we’ll move on to the time from 16h to the 20th century.

It’s been a while since my last post. And that’s because I’ve spent quite some time doing the ground work for a few upcoming posts. This is one of them 🙂

I intend this blog to be about the history, science and technology of photography. And a key component of photography is light. So what better place to start is there than our (human) theories about light.

The English translation of Euclid’s Optics, mentioned in the video, can be found here.


  • The map about Ancient Greece is based on this map from Wikipedia, created by Dipa1965.
  • I created the other maps myself using this blank map created by Crates and other maps found online.
  • All other media are either in the public domain or self-created.
  • The content is to a large part based on the book ‘A History of Optics’ by Olivier Darrigol, supplemented by additional resources from universities and the internet.

It may be worth pointing out that the images of historical figures shown in this video were generally created long after the individuals’ life time, so they probably bear little resemblance to the actual individuals.

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