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Radio Latino
Signed by Giovanni Maria Mancini
circa 1600; Italian
Gilt brass; 460 mm in length (folded)

The radio latino was an instrument intended to be useful to both the gunner in elevating his cannon, and the military engineer in taking measurements and laying out fortifications. A contemporary textbook explained its application to any number of practical problems of warfare. It was even designed to be reminiscent of a weapon, with its shaped handle and central arm arranged in the manner of a short sword. When folded up it was supposed to be carried in a scabbard on the military surveyor's belt.

The back of the compass box incorporated into the handle has an engraving of Christ at Calvary. It is unusual, and interesting in an instrument intended for military use, that the only figures shown at the foot of the cross are the soldiers.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 37525

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