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15th century ?; Italian
Bronze or brass; 48 mm in radius

One face of the quadrant has a table for the altitudes of the sun at noon during the year, at intervals of three days from 3 to 30. The minimum is at 23 in December and the maximum is at 68 in June, corresponding to latitude 45?. The initials of the names of the months are 'Z, F, M, A, M, Z, L, A, S, O, N, D'. The numbers on the table are not consistent: the number five is Gothic, but all the other digits are engraved in a later script. Near the apex of the quadrant is a shield identified as the Este or Gonzaga, but it is too damaged to allow exact identification. On the sides of the table are two moon-like shapes.

The reverse of the quadrant is engraved with a scale of degrees on the limb, and hour lines from 16 to 24, numbered by one. Near the apex are radiating lines.

There is a small hole for the plumb bob, now missing, and the sights are broken off. The quadrant is slightly bent.

The instrument was presented by the Duke of Buccleugh in 1887, and is described in F. A. B. Ward, A Catalogue of European Scientific Instruments in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities of the British Museum (London, 1981), p. 56, no. 148.

Ilaria Meliconi

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1887, 5-21.1

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