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Astronomical compendium
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An astronomical compendium is a collection of small mathematical instruments in a single box. It provided the user with a multitude of options in a handy format, but was also an expensive item, clearly meant to show off the owner’s wealth. This elaborate example was made by James Kynvyn for Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex (1567-1601), whose arms, crest and motto are engraved on the inside of the cover.

The compendium consists of a nocturnal (for finding the time at night from the orientation of the stars), a latitude list, a magnetic compass, a list of ports and harbours, a perpetual calendar and a lunar indicator. The compendium could be used for timekeeping as well as for establishing high tide at particular ports and for calendrical calculations.

At some point the nocturnal was incorrectly restored, so unfortunately this part of the compendium is now useless.

Astronomical compendium


From London, England, ad 1593
D. 5.9 cm



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