Ptolemaic armillary sphere

Made:
1501-1600 in Germany
maker:
Unknown

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Ptolemaic armillary sphere. Full view, graduated matt black perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ptolemaic armillary sphere. Detail view, black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ptolemaic armillary sphere. Detail view, graduated background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ptolemaic armillary sphere. Detail view, black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ptolemaic armillary sphere. Full view, shilhouetted against graduated matt black perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ptolemaic armillary sphere. Cropped detail view for gallery use. Black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Armillary sphere on brass twined stand 6 1/2 in diameter at base brass diameter of meridian 9 1/4 inches outside German 16th century

This model depicts Ptolemy’s Earth-centred cosmos. The bands illustrate the motion of the Sun, Moon and stars. Armillary spheres were used in medieval times to teach priests how to calculate the hours of prayer at sunrise and sunset.

Portraits of noblemen often included an armillary sphere to suggest wisdom and learning. More recently, novelist Umberto Eco chose the armillary sphere as a gruesome murder weapon in his 1983 book The Name of the Rose.

On display

Science Museum: Special Exhibition Gallery 1: The Sun

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Materials:
bras, brass (copper, zinc alloy), complete
Identifier:
1880-47
type:
armillary sphere
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • globe - cartographic sphere
  • celestial globe
status:
Permanent collection

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