Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 55331 from Toledo, 1068 (A.H. 460)
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 55331 from Toledo, 1068 (A.H. 460)
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 55331 from Toledo, 1068 (A.H. 460)
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 55331 from Toledo, 1068 (A.H. 460)
Date1068 (A.H. 460)
MakerIbrahīm ibn Sa'īd as-Sahlī
Inventory no.55331
AcquisitionPresented by Lewis Evans in 1924

It is unusual to have an astrolabe so precisely dated. The maker’s inscription tells us that it was made ‘in the city of Toledo in Shawwal in the year 460 of the Hijra’. Shawwal is the tenth lunar month in the Islamic calendar and the equivalent date in the Christian calendar is August 1068. This makes this astrolabe the earliest in the collection to have been made in Europe. In the eleventh century Toledo was a great cultural centre for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and a site for collaboration and exchange of ideas. It is appropriate that the zodiacal calendar on the back of this astrolabe has the names of the Christian months both in Arabic transliteration and in Latin.

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Throne, Ring and Shackle

The throne is of the simple type made of brass attached with integrated base made of brass and omega type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of one-piece construction. This instrument is unusual in that the limb is a thin plate of metal, cut to fit exactly on the mater ring and the throne.. Scales on the limb: degree scale. More information


The back contains 6 scales of the following types: Degree; Zodiacal signs; Calendar; Solar cycle; Shadow square. The back is inscribed: with a maker's signature marked as صنعه ٳبراهيم بن سعيد السهلي بمدينة طليطلة في شوال سنة تص الهجري (The work of Ibrāhīm ibn Saʿīd as-Sahlī in the city of Toledo in Shawwāl in A.H. 460.). More information

Rete, Pin & Wedge

The rete contains 0 stars. The rete contains zoomorphs: the star pointer for الدبران is a subtle profile of a bird. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: الحمل , الثور , الجوزا , السرطان , الاسد , السنبله , الميزان , العقرب , القوس , الجدي , الدلو , الحوت .
The rete is attached using a pin & wedge. Simple pin with notched wedge.. More information


There are 6 plates with latitudes ranging from 21°0' to 49°0' . More information

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
AlidadeDouble-ended, counter-changed. One of the sighting vanes is currently loose..
More information


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