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Dated 1562; Italian
Gilt and silvered brass; 97 mm in diameter

The compass is of brass and its cover glass is bevelled at the edge. There are four projecting lugs matching the cardinal points. Each lug has a turned brass fixing or foot, suggesting that the compass may once have been attached to a larger instrument, perhaps a sundial. Around the rim is the inscription 'VIGILATE QVIA NESCITIS DIEM NEQVE HORAM'.

The compass rose is silvered and has an engraved rose at its centre surrounded by a band of stars. There is an outer circular scale divided into 32 parts, and the eight principal Italian names of the winds are engraved: TRAMONTAN, Grecho, LEVANTE, S?rocho, MEZZODI, Lebeccho, PONENTE, Maistro. An engraved needle indicates a variation of about 10? East. The needle itself is blued with a brass cap.

The base carries a table of latitudes with the title and date: 'Tabula latitudinis de aliquis regionibus in europa Laus deo 1562'. The table has two columns with 55 places, many of them doubled up two to a line.

From the Lewis Evans Collection (I.130).

Stephen Johnston

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 84224

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