This instrument is clear evidence of the links between the astrolabe and astrology. On one side is an astrolabe for a single latitude, and on the other an astrological volvelle, used to find the positions of planets and other celestial bodies, especially in relation to the traditional astrological houses.
The “Emperor’s Astronomy” (Petrus Apianus, 1495-1552) is one of the great masterpieces of sixteenth-century printing, and also one of the top-ten in my personal digital collection. I found the codex a couple of months ago, when I was looking for “volvelles” (or wheel chart, which is a paper slide chart with rotating parts used mainly in ancient astronomy treatises, introduced by Persian astronomer Abu Rayhan Biruni).
The 3,000 year old Nimrud lens was discovered at the palace of Nimrud, in Iraq. Some experts believe the lens was part of an ancient telescope the Babylonians used, hence their advanced knowledge of astronomy.
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