Thickness: 10.000 mm (mater)
Room 40: Medieval Europe
The Chaucer astrolabe
England, AD 1326
The earliest dated European astrolabe
The astrolabe is a multi-functional instrument which enables the user to perform such diverse tasks as timekeeping at day and night, surveying, determining latitude, and casting horoscopes.
Chaucer (about 1342-1400), better known for his
Canterbury Tales, also
wrote a treatise on the astrolabe which was widely disseminated.
The type of astrolabe he described matches the features of this
instrument, with its distinctive Y-shaped
Three of the saints mentioned in the calendrical list on the back are of particular English significance, and one of the latitude plates is marked for Oxford, while the others are laid out for Jerusalem, 'Babilonie', Rome, Montpellier, and Paris.
F.A.B. Ward, Catalogue of European scientif (London, The British Museum Press, 1981)