Astrolabes from Medieval Europe

1st Edition

David A. King

Published July 28, 2011
Reference - 422 Pages
ISBN 9781409425939 - CAT# Y239968
Series: Variorum Collected Studies

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This is the fourth set of studies in the Variorum series by David King, a leading authority on the history of astronomy in Islamic civilization and on medieval astronomical instruments, European as well as Islamic. The first of the eleven studies collected here deals with medieval instruments in general, as precious historical sources. The following papers focus on individual astrolabes from the European Middle Ages and early Renaissance that are of singular historical importance. Two look at the origins of the simple universal horary quadrant and the complicated universal horary dial (navicula). The collection concludes with a list of all known medieval European astrolabes, ordered chronologically by region. Three "landmark" astrolabes are discussed: (1) the earliest known European astrolabe from 10th-century Catalonia, that milieu in which the astrolabe first became known to Europeans; (2) an astrolabe from 14th-century Picardy bearing numerals written in monastic ciphers as well as a later dedication mentioning two friends of Erasmus; (3) the splendid astrolabe presented in 1462 by the German astronomer Regiomontanus to his patron Cardinal Bessarion, with its enigmatic angel and Latin dedication, here presented in the context of other astrolabes of similar design from 15th-century Vienna.

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