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Astronomical Compendium
Signed by Ulrich Klieber
Dated 1555; Augsburg
Gilt and silvered brass; 59 x 59 x 15 mm

The compendium is square in section and would originally have comprised two hinged leaves acting as covers for a central portion. The upper cover has however been lost.

The central box has foliate engraving on its outer sides and holds an inclining dial, with folding gnomon. The dial is adjustable for latitudes from 35 to 55?, at 2? intervals. The silvered hour plate runs from 4 to 12 to 8 and has a central circular hole (diameter 22 mm) for a compass which is now missing. Around the origin point of the gnomon is the inscription 'KLEBER 1555'. The underside of the hour plate has a compass and wind rose with the 8 principal directions and winds named in German.

The inner face of the lower cover carries a lunar volvelle and aspectarium. The fixed outer scale of hours runs 1 to 12, 1 to 12, divided to halves as does the scale of hours on the volvelle. An aperture reveals a scale of the age of the moon from 1 to 29[1/2], titled 'DIES ETATIS LVNAE', and a circular aperture provides a graphical indication of the age of the moon. The central aspectarium provides polygons and symbols for trine, quadrature and sextile.

The outer face of the cover has a table of the latitudes of 28 places as well as an additional entry embedded in a second signature inscription: 'GEMACHT . ULRICH KLIBER . ZVO . AVGSPVRG . HAT 48 . GRAT'. The table is surrounded by foliate engraving.

The instrument also has a loose plate with a simple astrolabe. There is an outer circle of hours 1 to 12, 1 to 12 and the plate comprises a projection of the equator and two tropics, as well as lines of unequal hours 1 to 12, 1 to 12. Alternate unequal hour lines are numbered I to XII to represent the 12 astrological houses. The rete consists only of the ecliptic circle in which each zodiac sign is represented by its symbol and is divided to 15 and 5 and numbered by 15. Pivoting at the centre are two index rules, one marked with a solar and the other with a lunar symbol.

Provenance: Lewis Evans Collection G. 186.

Stephen Johnston

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 54402

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