Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 37297 from Germany, ca. 1585
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 37297 from Germany, ca. 1585
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 37297 from Germany, ca. 1585
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 37297 from Germany, ca. 1585
Dateca. 1585
MakerErasmus Habermel
Inventory no.37297
AcquisitionPresented by Lewis Evans in 1924

The most obviously striking feature of this astrolabe is simply its shape: its dodecagonal (twelve-sided) form is extremely unusual. The maker Erasmus Habermel was unique in his construction of polygonal astrolabes. As a work of decorative art by a Renaissance master, the asymmetric design of the rete is also remarkable.

The throne is engraved with the arms of Franciscus Paduanius of Forli, Italy, a physician who included Popes and the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II among his clients. Paduanius appears to have been a devotee of Habermel: his arms appear on some 28 other instruments signed by Habermel and dated 1585 and 1586. It is possible that his patronage led to Habermel's appointment as instrument maker to Rudolf II.

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Throne, Ring and Shackle

The throne is of the simple, engraved type made of brass with c-shaped scroll work support(s) made of brass attached with screwed base made of brass and has a simple, round cross-section ring made of brass and omega type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of three pieces construction. The limb is composed of two parts: a twelve-sided band attached to the outside of the circular band. The limb is cracked at XI o'clock. Scales on the limb: equal hours scale; degree scale. More information


The back bears a Gemma Frisius style universal projection. The back contains 0 scales. The universal on the back contains 2 scales. More information

Rete, Pin & Horse

The rete contains 18 stars. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: ARIES , TAVRVS , GEMINI , CANCER , LEO , VIRGO , LIBRA , SCORPIVS , SAGITTARIVS , CAPRICORN9 , AQUVARIVS , PISCES.

The rete contains 2 scales of the following types: Ecliptic; Calendar.
The rete is attached using a pin & horse. The head of the pin is decorated with an ornate floral pattern. More information


There are 3 plates with latitudes ranging from 39°0' to 51°0' . More information

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
AlidadeDouble-ended, counter-changed.
More information


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