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Polyhedral Dial
circa 1600; Italian
Wood and brass; 113 x 108 x 112 mm

This polyhedral dial consists of an octagonal wooden box with a lid. On the top of the lid is a horizontal pin gnomon dial (pin missing) for Italian hours numbered from 10 to 23, for common hours numbered from 6 to 12 to 6 and for Babylonian hours numbered from I to XIII. There is also a compass (glass, needle and ring missing) with the initials of the eight main winds and the motto 'FVGIT VEL{VT VM}BRA'.

On the sides of the lid are the names of the winds, '{TR}AMONT{A}', 'GRECO', 'EVRO', 'SIROCCO', 'OSTRO', GARBINO', 'ZEFFIRO', 'MAESTRO'. On the inside part of the lid are two pin gnomon dials for Italian hours numbered in both from 9 to 24 and with the declination of the sun indicated by the symbols of the zodiacal signs.

Inside the block is a painted scaphe dial with Italian hours numbered to 24 (the paint has faded) and the motto 'QVID LVCIDIVS SOLE ET HIC DEFICIET ECCL 17'. The scaphe was painted in blue, gold and silver and had a sun effigy in the centre. On seven of the external sides of the block are vertical pin gnomon dials for Italian hours. The first is numbered from XXI to XXIII with the motto 'VAE NOBIS QVIA DECLINAT Hier. 6', the second is numbered from XVIII to XXIII with a figure of a woman holding a globe, the third is numbered from XVII to XXIII with the motto 'OCCIDET IN MERIDIE: Amos 8', the fourth is numbered from 14 to 23 with a figure of an angel, the fifth is numbered from XI to XIX with the motto 'ORITVR ET OCCIDIT Eccl.1', the sixth is numbered from IX to XVII with a figure of an angel, the seventh is numbered from IX to XIIII with the motto 'OBTENEBRABITVR IN ORTV SVO Isa. 23'. On the other face of the block is a figure of an angel with a Roman temple in the background.

A moulding that surrounded the base of the block is missing. Inside the hollowed base of the block is an incomplete manuscript calendar volvelle giving times of sunrise, midday and midnight and the position of the Sun in the Zodiac.

Ilaria Meliconi

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 35764

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