Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror

By Eileen Reeves | Go to book overview

Chapter four
The Dutch Telescope and the French Mirror

SOMETIME in November 1608, Fra Paolo Sarpi encountered The Embassy of the King of Siam Sent to His Excellency Maurice of Nassau, a French-language news pamphlet from The Hague describing the first visit of the Siamese to Europe, portraying the gifts their ruler had sent abroad, offering a brief sketch of the wealth, culture, religion, and political structure of that remote kingdom, and alluding to the commercial inroads made by the Dutch East India Company, largely at the expense of the Portuguese, in the Far East.1 The news of the expedition, with somewhat different accounts of the gifts involved, had already emerged in manuscript newsletters sent from Antwerp on September 19, but the addendum to this pamphlet mentioned a slightly more recent event, the invention of the refracting telescope in the Netherlands.2

Sarpi's extant correspondence suggests a wary skepticism about the instrument, and in the succeeding months he was quick to inform others that the Dutch device was already old news to him

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Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - The Hague, 1608 1
  • Chapter One - The Daily Mirror of Empire 15
  • Chapter Two - Idle Inventions 47
  • Chapter Three - Obscure Procedures and Odd Opponents 81
  • Chapter Four - The Dutch Telescope and the French Mirror 115
  • Chapter Five - The Afterlife of a Legend 145
  • Notes 169
  • Acknowledgement 219
  • Index 223
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