Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 45975 from Paris (?), 1595
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 45975 from Paris (?), 1595
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 45975 from Paris (?), 1595
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 45975 from Paris (?), 1595
PlaceParis (?)
Inventory no.45975
AcquisitionPresented by Lewis Evans in 1924

This astrolabe boldly announces its ownership in an inscription which has been added to the rule. It reads in Flemish ‘Ick toebehoore Philis de Din’ (I belong to …). The name is perhaps an abbreviation for Philippus. This is an early addition, but probably not the original owner.

The other distinctive feature of this astrolabe is the group of decorative religious symbols and mottoes, which are part of the original workmanship and include the date 1595. They imply that the astrolabe was made for a Jesuit priest. The Society of Jesus was renowned for its mathematical learning at this period, and several distinguished designers of scientific instruments were Jesuits.

The single plate, specifically for the latitudes of Paris (48°) on one side and Lille (51°) on the other, implies either that the original owner was associated with both places, or more likely that it was made in Paris for a resident of Lille, the chief town of the French-speaking part of Flanders, which although at this time it was part of the Spanish Netherlands looked culturally and commercially to Paris.

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Throne, Ring and Shackle

The throne is of the simple type made of brass attached with integrated base made of brass and has a simple, round cross-section ring made of brass and disc type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of two pieces, riveted construction. Scales on the limb: altitude scale; equal hours scale. More information


The back contains 5 scales of the following types: Altitude; Zodiacal signs; Unequal hours; Shadow square. The back is inscribed: with a prayer marked as SIT NOMEN DOMINI BENEDICTVM IN SECVLA SECVLORVM 1595 (Hallowed be Thy name for all eternity, 1595). In the center of this inscription is 'IHS', a cross and a pierced heart. More information

Rete, Nut & Bolt

The rete contains 13 stars. The rete is a replacement. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: ARIES ♈ , TAVR9 ♉ , GEM ♊ , CAN ♋ , LEO ♌ , VIRGO ♍ , LIBRA ♎ , SCORPIO ♏ , SAGITTARI9 ♐ , CAPRICORN9 ♑ , AQVARI9 ♒ , PISCES ♓ .
The rete is attached using a nut & bolt. The nut and bolt were executed in a manner similar to the rest of the instrument, suggesting that they are original.. More information


There is one plate with latitudes ranging from 48°0' to 51°0' . More information

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
AlidadeDouble-ended, counter-changed. The center and edges of this alidade have been decorated with scrollwork..
More information


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