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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
Faustus Titlepage Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0586  Thursday, 22 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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 >
	Date: 	Wednesday, 21 Jun 2006 20:07:14 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0579 Faustus Titlepage Question

[2] 	From: 	Peter Farey <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 11:55:00 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0579 Faustus Titlepage Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 21 Jun 2006 20:07:14 +0100
Subject: 17.0579 Faustus Titlepage Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0579 Faustus Titlepage Question

 >Peter Farey says:
 >
 >The object in the top right hand corner of the Doctor Faustus B-text
 >titlepage appears to be a planespheric astrolabe. It enabled one to
 >calculate the longitude and latitude of the Sun and other major
 >stars.
 >
 >
 >V. K. Inman says:
 >astrolabe, yes, latitude, yes, but how longitude? Or are you allowing
 >for it being a gross estimation?

I still say that it is a Mariner's Astrolabe, rather than a Planispheric 
Astrolabe.  Compare it with this:

http://astrolabes.org/mariner.htm

A mariner's astrolabe will just give you a reading of the Sun's 
altitude, from which you can calculate your own latitude (if you don't 
know it.)

The Sun's celestial longitude is determined by the date.  With a 
planispheric astrolabe, if you know your own latitude, and the date, you 
can measure the Sun's altitude.  From the Sun's longitude, and its 
altitude, you can determine local solar time, for example.

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Farey <
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Date: 		Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 11:55:00 +0100
Subject: 17.0579 Faustus Titlepage Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0579 Faustus Titlepage Question

 >V. K. Inman says: astrolabe, yes, latitude, yes, but how longitude? Or
 >are you allowing for it being a gross estimation?

Yes, my use of the word 'longitude' was careless. More accurately (and 
according to Britannica) it "enabled astronomers to calculate the 
position of the Sun and other major nearby stars with respect to both 
the horizon and the meridian." I was referring to the latter.

At that time this did not mean the Greenwich meridian of course. To 
return to Marlowe, Tamburlaine was what would now be some 36 degrees 
east of that when he said:

    Disdain to borrow light of Cynthia,
    For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth,
    First rising in the east with mild aspect,
    But fixed now in the meridian line,
    Will send up fire to your turning spheres
    And cause the sun to borrow light of you.

Peter Farey

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