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Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - Printable Version

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Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - MichelleL11 - 27-02-2021

I came across this portrait of Ptolomy who is holding up a device that is similar to the arrangement of nymphs around the central Zodiac-like images in the manuscript.  It is from a book published in 1501 in Venice and is available online You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view..

[attachment=5359][attachment=5358]



I am always on the lookout for this kind of layout in manuscripts, in hopes of some explanation of why the nymphs are arranged in that manner.  I do acknowledge that there are more than 30 openings in this device, but I still think it could be applicable.  Could this possibility be some sort of see-through frame that is held up, where the focus is the center and the outer rings openings allow compartmentalization of associated stars?

I was able to find his portrait with a wide variety of astronomical devices (divider (compass), T-square, quadrant, armillary sphere, etc.) including even some iconographic descriptions of portraits You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. and You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. although in neither is he holding or associated with the mystery device.  A couple of more mushy ones has him holding up a round "thing" but none of them were see-through or obviously highly subdivided.

Could it maybe be this thing (but obviously much simplified here) in the bottom center of this portrait of astronomers?  Unfortunately the iconographic discussion You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. does not seem to identify what that thing is.  Okay -- never mind -- this is definitely a mariner's astrolabe, as discussed You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. and it is not the same.  

[attachment=5361][attachment=5360]


Any thoughts or identifications?  I appreciate any insights.


RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - -JKP- - 28-02-2021

Maybe a stylized (and probably earlier) version of something like this astrolabe (also note how the zodiac names are abbreviated):

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RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - MichelleL11 - 28-02-2021

(28-02-2021, 04:08 AM)-JKP- Wrote: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.Maybe a stylized (and probably earlier) version of something like this astrolabe (also note how the zodiac names are abbreviated):

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Yes, that is possible.

And I agree those abbreviations are . . . unusual.  There are so many moving parts in the text issue and every time I look more closely at the assumptions that need to be made, exceptions pop out of the woodwork to make it more complex.

I've obviously done very little research into the astronomical end of this -- but seeing a familiar pattern, I had hopes.  Also, I now note that Ptolemy's arm doesn't seem to be seen through the device, so some sort of solid thing that nevertheless works by being "held up" is likely.

Thanks for the image!


RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - Aga Tentakulus - 28-02-2021

[attachment=5362]
@Michelle
I think you mean the instrument that looks like a wheel.
When I look at the other instruments next to it, I think it is a measuring instrument of mathematics.
Before I can draw something astrological, I have to calculate it. I think the picture is about that.

Examples:

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RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - MichelleL11 - 28-02-2021

Hi, Aga:

Yes, l agree it is likely a very stylized astrolabe.  It is too big and too detailed to be realistic.   In some ways, this kind of illustration is most instructive as to interpreting the likely realism of what is being held by persons in any medieval manuscript.  Including what is being held by nymphs.  There is obviously little regard for proportion or actual representation of the object.  Instead, it is more like a cartoon, where enough of the object is presented to trigger an association and nothing more (or sometimes, nothing less - like all the little subdivisions in this object).  These divisions would not be seen if drawn realistically, but the artist must believe they need to be represented in order to trigger the right association.  So he/she blew up the size and the details.  

Similar to the gigantic “hooks/crooks” object being passed between the Gemini twins in this You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view..  But it must be admitted that the misproportions sometimes make it harder, not easier to figure it out.

Thanks for the comment.


RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - Linda - 28-02-2021

I think Aga and JKP are right, it is an astrolabe. 

[Image: history-of-the-astrolabe-and-how-to-make-one.webp]

I don't understand "too big", seems like a common size, and "too detailed", seems to me like it is stylized because there is no detail. If you fill that in, in your mind's eye, with further breakdowns of measurements, i don't see why it is not realistic. 

What i see is a circle with a floral design in the middle, a double pointer on top of that which would point to things in the outer circular area, which is broken down into squares here, obviously these would contain markings to know what the pointer was pointing at. I see it as absolutely analogous with this volvelle albeit the floral design is now the moon.

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRV5Ta_U939UhSM34UB0YJ...g&usqp=CAU]

[Image: 72248015ea6d0fb2a5478186618f2f14.png][Image: astronomers-using-astrolabes-from-travel...G15DAP.jpg][Image: Theodor_Galle_after_Johannes_Stradanus.PNG]

The middle example includes 2, 3 to give the idea that numbers would be found in the boxes.
In the last example it is a cross instead of a flower, and the dimensions of the outer band and the pointers are changed but it is the same idea.

As to whether it mimics the zodiac section layout, it does insofar as being circles within circles, but i don't see the zodiac pages as measuring things per se.


RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - RobGea - 01-03-2021

Just throwing this into the mix. Mind you it is a bit late for Ptolomy.
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RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - MichelleL11 - 01-03-2021

Thanks for this other possibility - l agree that it is likely too late - although the superficial similarity is a very nice parallel and better than the most traditional form of the astrolabe.


RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - Linda - 01-03-2021

(01-03-2021, 12:05 AM)RobGea Wrote: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.Just throwing this into the mix. Mind you it is a bit late for Ptolomy.
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12th century is too late?


RE: Device Held by Ptolomy -- Layout Echo? - MichelleL11 - 01-03-2021

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Ptolomy/Ptolemy lived from about 100-170 AD.  His portrait on this book was based on his supposed authorship of 100 short astrological “conclusions” included in this book called the Centiloquium.

The actual author was most likely the Arabic author, Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Misri, who wrote in the 10th century but attributed it to Ptolomy to give it the right “credentials.”  So that’s why Ptolomy’s portrait is on the cover page.  Since this is now accepted, the work is said to be “pseudo-Ptolomy.”

But who knows how careful the illustrator would have been to be accurate in time for all the details.  Huh