Ross H E, 2000, "Cleomedes (c. 1st century AD) on the celestial illusion, atmospheric enlargement, and size - distance invariance" Perception 29(7) 863 – 871
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Cleomedes (c. 1st century AD) on the celestial illusion, atmospheric enlargement, and size - distance invariance
Helen E Ross
Received 27 May 1999, in revised form 14 March 2000
Abstract. Cleomedes (Kleomedes) is a little-known Greek author (c. 1st century AD) who produced what is probably the earliest extant statement of size - distance invariance. He supported the Stoic philosophy and was concerned to discredit the Epicurean position that we perceive objects as having their true size. He explained the celestial illusion (the apparent enlargement of the sun near the horizon) in two ways: partly as a refractive effect of the atmosphere similar to angular enlargement when looking into water; and partly as a linear enlargement due to increased apparent distance in a misty atmosphere. He is the earliest extant author to offer apparent distance as a clear explanation of the celestial illusion. He attributed these views to Posidonius (c. 135 - 50 BC). His explanations remained at the geometrical level, and he did not speculate on sensory mechanisms.
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