The term, ``field,'' made its first appearance in physics as a technical term in the mid-nineteenth century. But the notion of what later came to be called a field had been a long time in gestation. Early discussions of magnetism and of the cause of the ocean tides had long ago suggested the idea of a ``zone of influence'' surrounding certain bodies. Johannes Kepler's mathematical rendering of the orbital motion of Mars encouraged him to formulate what he called ``a true theory of gravity'' involving the notion of attraction. Isaac Newton went on to construct an eminently effective dynamics, with attraction as its primary example of force. Was his a field theory? Historians of science disagree. Much depends on whether a theory consistent with the notion of action at a distance ought qualify as a ``field'' theory. Roger Boscovich and Immanuel Kant later took the Newtonian concept of attraction in new directions. It was left to Michael Faraday to propose the ``physical existence'' of lines of force and to James Clerk Maxwell to add as criterion the presence of energy as the ontological basis for a full-blown ``field theory'' of electromagnetic phenomena.