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Signed by Christoph Schissler
Dated 1560; Augsburg
Gilt brass; 215 mm in diameter

The throne is moulded and finely decorated. The suspension ring is fixed to a rotating block. The limb of the astrolabe is divided from I to XII twice, and then into four quadrants of 90? each. The rete bears 38 stars, indicated by the protruding points and by their names. The zodiac circle bears the names of the signs in Latin.

The pointer occupies the diameter of the instrument, divided in half by the pivot. This pointer is divided from 23 to 5 and 10 to 80 in both directions twice, beginning at the centre and going towards the circumference. The divisions are accompanied by the inscriptions 'Declinatio merid' and 'Declinatio septentrio', respectively. Around the pivot the pointer displays a disc decorated with leaf motifs, worked with exquisite craftsmanship. The back of the astrolabe has a limb divided from I to XII and then in 4 quadrants, each of 90?. This is followed by the names of the signs of the zodiac, in Latin, the division from I to XXX repeated 12 times, the names of the months in Latin and the days of the month. The centre of the back is divided in two by the diameter. The upper part is engraved with lines 1 to 6, 7 to 12 (the line corresponding to 12 being located on the diameter), which frame a triple circle, divided from 1 to 28, in which the letters C B A GF E D C BA G F E DC B A G FE D C B AG F E D CE A G F ED are inscribed. In the upper middle part the three circles are crossed by an engraving depicting a hand pointing to the sun.

The lower part of the back of the instrument bears the half shadow square with the inscriptions 'VMBRA VERSA' and 'VMBRA RECTA' repeated twice. Underneath, the following signature can be read: 'CHRISTOPHORVS SCHISSLER ME FACIEBAT AVGUSTAE VINDELICORUM. ANNO. . 15.60'.

The alidade is provided with sights, which have been pierced and moulded, and bears the inscription 'LINEA FIDVCIE'.

The inside of the mater is inscribed with an astrolabe plate for the latitude of 51?. Just one plate, calibrated for a latitude of 45? to 48?, is housed inside the mater. This plate is pierced by two opposite holes, which allow it to be inserted onto two protuberances on the mater.

See M. Miniati, Museo di Storia della scienza. Catalago (Florence, 1991).

Mara Miniati

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 1114

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