What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

astrolabe

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1894,0416.4

  • Description

    This brass astrolabe unusually does not have a mater, but consists of a plate with a zodiacal calendar scale as well as markings for a plate for the sixth climate on one side, and a degree scale, a double horary quadrant and a shadow square on the other side. A simple throne is an integral part of the body.

    The OBVERSE of the body has two circular scales along the edge as follows (from the outside: a) A zodiacal scale with the usual Latin names of the signs in Latin (some abbreviated, e.g., 'Chapri' for Capricorn), each sign with a 30 degree scale, numbered by 5 and divided to 1; b) A calendrical scale with the usual Latin names of the months (some abbreviated, March spelled 'MARCIVS' and October as 'OCTV') and the corresponding number of days, numbered by 5 and divided to 1. The equinoxes are at the 10th March and 13 1/2 September.
    The centre of the disc has markings for a plate for the sixth climate, marked 'C 6'. The almucantars are marked for every 5 degrees, numbered by 5 from 5 to 75. There are hour curves for equal hours 1 to 24. The horizon is marked 'ORIZON', and east and west are marked 'ASENDENS' and 'DESENDENS'.

    The REVERSE has a double degree scale: the outer scale clockwise 0 to 360 and the inner scale four times 0 to 90.
    The top half of the disc is marked as a double HORARY QUADRANT, each numbered 1 to 6 to 12. The lower half is engraved with a double SHADOW SCALE to the base 12, numbered by 1. The date and the signature are given in the centre of the scale.

    The RETE is damaged and part of the tropic of Capricorn is missing. The ecliptic is marked with the first letters of the zodiacal signs, each sign has a 30 degree scale, numbered by 10 and divided to 5 and 1. The unlabelled star pointers are wedge shaped.

    More 

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1507
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 115 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Position

        back, in centre of double shadow scale
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        1507 OPVS FALCONI
      • Inscription Comment

        date of production and name of maker
  • Curator's comments

    This very unusual instrument has the markings for the mater, plates and back all in one body. The equal hour scale is very unusually indicated by 24 curves.
    The instrument was in the 'wartime exhibition' at the British Museum in the gallery destroyed by incendiary bombs in 1941 and the rete is consequently badly damaged.For instruments by Falcono, see Gerard L'E. Turner, "Two Early Renaissance Astrolabes by Falcono of Bergamo", in Marco Beretta, Paolo Galluzzi and Carlo Triarico (eds), Musa Musaei. Studies on Scientific Instruments and Collections in Honour of Mara Miniati (Florence, 2003), pp. 53-62.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Ward 1981 330 bibliographic details
    • EPACT 1998 http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/epact/catalogue.php?ENumber=65793 bibliographic details
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1894

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1894,0416.4

Astrolabe; sheet brass, without rim; a) outer edge: zodiac signs and degrees; scale of months and days; equinoxes at 10 March and 13.5 September; rete with 21 crude star-pointers(renewals); b) outer scale of degrees; two shadow squares; signature; scale of curved lines of unequal hours.

Astrolabe; sheet brass, without rim; a) outer edge: zodiac signs and degrees; scale of months and days; equinoxes at 10 March and 13.5 September; rete with 21 crude star-pointers(renewals); b) outer scale of degrees; two shadow squares; signature; scale of curved lines of unequal hours.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: MCC3710

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...