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Horizontal Dial
Ulrich Schniep
Date; place 1572; Munich
Gilt brass; 108 x 145 x 8 mm

This horizontal dial consists of a gilt brass plate and a folding plummet-holder. The plate has a compass at the centre, inscribed with the cardinal points 'S', 'OR', 'M', 'OC' and with magnetic deviation indicated (the glass is cracked). On the top part of the leaf (opposite the plummet-holder) is a pin gnomon dial with folding pin, indicating Italian hours numbered from 10 to 23, with a sun effigy in the centre, and between the hours 22 and 23 a sample length of the gnomon indicated 'LON{G}ITU: STILI [star]'. At the bottom of the dial is the indication 'HOROLOGIVM ITA{L}ICE AD ELEVATIO POLI 45 G'.

On the bottom half of the plate is a calendar engraved with figure representing the zodiacal signs, inscribed 'SIGNA DECRESCENTIS DIEI' and 'SIGNA DIEI CRESCENTIS', and holy and saints' days indicated 'Iohanis Batista', 'Iacobi apo:', 'Laurenty', 'Bartolomei', 'Egidy aba:', 'Maria Nati:', 'Mathei apo:', 'Michelis', 'Dionisy ep:', 'Lucae euan:', 'Simonis et Iu:', 'Martini epi:', 'Elisabethae', 'Catharinae vir:'. 'Nicolai epis:', on one side. On the other side are 'Luciae vir:', 'Natalis Dom', 'Erhardy', 'Hilarionis', 'Antony ab:', 'Vincenty', 'ioan cris:', 'Purifica Ma:', 'Apolloniae', 'Iulianae vir', 'Mathiae ap:', 'Thom:de Aq:', 'Gregory pa:', 'Annunc: Ma:', 'Ambrosii:', 'Georgy', Bonifacy', 'Fiti et mod:'. The solstices and equinoxes are also inscribed 'SOLSTICIVM ESTIVALE', 'SOLSTICIVM HI{E}MALE', and 'AEQVATOR DIEI'.

The string gnomon dial marks common hours from V to XII to VII, divided to the quarter hour. The string can be adjusted for three latitudes because there are three holes for the string in the plummet holder, but they are not specified. By means of a bead, fixed on the string, it was also possible to read the length of the day and night, engraved at the centre of the calendar 'QVANTITAS NOCTI' from 9 to 15, and 'QVANTITAS DIEI' from 15 to 9. The length of the day is inscribed twice, at the very centre of the calendar and again, more to the right, perhaps for ease of reading.

The calendar itself is surrounded by scrollwork and at the very bottom of the plate is the signature and date of the maker 'VLRICUS SC{H}NIEP DE MONACHI FECIT ANNO [star] 1572 [star]'.

The plummet-holder is engraved on both sides with twin dragons.

The instrument was bequeathed by Octavius Morgan and is described in F. A. B. Ward, A Catalogue of European Scientific Instruments in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities of the British Museum (London, 1981), p. 22, no.10.

Ilaria Meliconi

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1888, 12-1.300

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