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Notes on the Schoner Globe by Peter Hingley

The globe shows the constellations as described by Ptolemy, illustrated in colour against a black background. The star names are in Arabic. The body of the globe is supported by a tripod stand of cast bronze. The tripod incorporates a plumb bob and compass. The North end of the globe axis carries a brass dial with pointer to set the geographic direction. Compass directions are given on the central brass ring. There are no Southern constellations at this date.

Johannes Schöner was born in Karlstadt, Germany, in 1477 and died in Nuremberg in 1547. His interests were wide including astronomy, astrology and geography. After his study in the University of Erfuhrt, he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest and practised his ministry in Bambery, where he set up his own printing shop, and himself typeset and carved wood blocks for illustrations for his various publications. These included terrestial globes and astronomical and astroloical works, one of these including 'volvelles' to represent the planetary motions. After death threats to Catholic clergy he left the Church and moved to Nuremberg were he taught at the Melancthon Gymnasium, turned Lutheran, married, and published many more works of his own and others. He remained a staunch defender of the pseudo science of Astrology against its critics.

A Schöner globe is illustrated in Hans Holbein's famous painting 'The Ambassadors' held at the National Gallery, London, forming part of the group of items intended to demonstrate the breadth of knowledge and interests of a rich and well educated young man.

[Extracts from notes by Peter D. Hingley, RAS Librarian, 2011]

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