4 of 520
Sorted by:
Instrument type

Armillary Sphere
circa 1550; Flemish
Brass; 192 mm in diameter

The later stand has a bronze figure of a kneeling man in a loincloth, supporting the sphere on his head and supported himself by a modern turned brass stand in two tiers, incorporating a magnetic compass and three feet ornamented with satyrs. Inscribed: 'SIC LVDITVR ASTRIS'.

Four brass quadrants of interwoven bands rise to support the horizon ring, with the four cardinal points names in Latin, a scale of dates and a zodiacal scale with symbols for the signs, each with a 30-degree scale. The first point of Aries is at March 111/2.

The meridian ring is supported in two slots in the horizon ring and one at the top of the stand; one side has a degree scale, clockwise from the north pole 0 to 90 to 0, 90 to 0 to 90, divided to 10, subdivided to 5 and to 1, numbered by 10. At the north pole is a circle of hours 0 to 12 twice, and the mount for a quadrant arc with a degree scale slides on the meridian ring.

A celestial sphere comprising two meridian circles at right angles, equator, tropics, arctic and antarctic circles is pivoted at the poles on the meridian ring. The equator has a degree scale 0 to 360 from the spring equinox, the ecliptic has a zodiacal scale with symbols for the signs and a 30-degree scale for each. There are 16 pointers for named stars.

At the ecliptic pole is pivoted a sphere of three rings intersecting at right angles, and at two diametrically opposed intersections on the ecliptic are pivoted discs for effecting the adjustment for trepidation. Mounted on pivots that rotate with this disc is a further sphere of three rings. Both inner ecliptic rings, the one without and the one with the trepidation adjustment have zodiacal scales similar to the ecliptic ring on the outer celestial sphere Pivoted on the innermost ecliptic ring is a ring with a pair of fixed vanes with pinhole sights.

Jim Bennett

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 63541

© Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. All rights reserved. Information and images provided here may not be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the museum.

Basic URL:

|| Introduction || Essay || Museums || Bibliography || Conventions || Credits || Privacy || Help ||
|Catalogue entries |Handlist || Makers || Places || Articles || Glossary || Search || Home ||