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Inventory no. 35203 - Epact entry

Epact number: 59456

Equinoctial Dial

Signed by Petrus ab Aggere
Dated 1562; Madrid
Gilt brass; 11 x 57 x 57 mm

Main text

It was common practice to engrave memento mori, or reminders of death, on dials and time-keeping devices. This dial has a quotation from the Gospel of Matthew, 'VIGILATE QVIA NESCITIS DIEM NEQVE HORAM' ('Be alert, because you don't know the hour nor the day').

In its square form, this instrument is reminiscent of another dial in the collection of the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford by a maker with Spanish connections, Juan Cocart (see Epact 14859).

Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 35,203

Detailed text

The outer part of the lid of this dial has an hour circle numbered from 1 to 12 twice, is decorated with arabesques in the spandrel spaces and bears the inscription on two borders 'VIGILATE QVIA NESCITIS DIEM NEQVE HORAM MAT 25' ('Be alert, because you don't know the hour nor the day, Matthew 25'). The inner side has a table of latitudes. The box contains a compass with eight directions named and arabesques in the spandrels. On the right side is an unequal scale for latitudes divided from 20 to 60 by 1, and on the left and bottom sides is the inscription 'Acus suam ostendat quam habet loci a septentrione ad ortu declinationem'. On the bottom of the box is another table of latitudes, and the edges are inscribed 'ELEVATIO POLI' (in correspondence with the latitude scale), 'IN GRATIAM D. PETRI FAG IARDI F. PETRVS AGGERIVS', and 'Madrici anno 1562'.

Provenance: Lewis Evans Collection S. 6.

Ilaria Meliconi

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