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Der Globusfreund 45-46 (1997/98, published February 1998)

Summaries / Zusammenfassungen


Ernst Künzl

Direktor Dr. Ernst KÜNZL, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Forschungsinstitut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2, D-55116 Mainz.


Herkunft und Fundumstände - Technik, Stil und Datierung - Ein Obelisk als Gnomon einer Sonnenuhr - Zodiacus und Sternzeichen beider Hemisphären - Ikonographie der Sternzeichen - Astronomie - Die Milch-straße - Himmelsgloben und Planisphären - Bibliographie


Der Mainzer Globus ist nach stilistischen Vergleichen seiner Dekoration ein Werk aus dem Römerreich der Zeit zwischen 150 und 200 n. Chr. Er soll aus Kleinasien stammen, das damals Teil des römisches Reiches war. Wegen einer ikonographischen Besonderheit (liegender Widder im Zodiacus) sind er oder sein Vorbild vermutlich im römischen Ägypten entstanden. Der Mainzer Globus, dessen Künstler anonym bleibt, ist der einzige vollständige Sternenglobus des Altertums, des bisher überlebt hat, und er ist damit der älteste komplette Himmelsglobus überhaupt. Selbst am Atlas Farnese, einer Marmorstatue aus Rom, die bisher auf diesem Gebiet alleinvertretend war, fehlen einige Sternbilder durch Beschädigungen. Der Mainzer Globus zeigt hingegen 48 Sternbilder, wenn sie auch nicht völlig mit dem Katalog des Claudius Ptolemaeus übereinstimmen. Mit der bisher ersten und einzigen Wiedergabe der Milchstraße eröffnet der Mainzer Globus neue Wege zur Beurteilung der antiken Himmelsgloben: Er ist zwar kein wissenschaftliches Werk, sondern diente wohl als Bekrönung des Gnomon einer Sonnenuhr. Umso bemerkenswerter ist die relative Genauigkeit der Positionen der Sternbilder, des Verlaufs der Milchstraße und der Angaben der Parallelkreise wie der Koluren. Die antiken astronomischen Gerätschaften des Hellenismus und des Römerreichs, also der Zeit zwischen 300 v. Chr. und 400 n. Chr. erscheinen nun in neuem Lichte. Die antiken schriftlichen Nachrichten über präzise Himmelsgloben werden durch den Mainzer Globus bestätigt.

Künzl ill. 1

Ill. 1: Himmelsglobus. Messing. Ø 110 mm. Mainz, RGZM Inv. O 41339.
Celestial globe. Brass. Ø 110 mm. Mainz, RGZM Inv. O 41339.



Ernst Künzl

Direktor Dr. Ernst KÜNZL, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Forschungsinstitut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2, D-55116 Mainz.


The Find and its Origin -- Technique, Style and Dating -- The Obelisk as Gnomon of a Sundial -- Zodiac and Constellations in both Hemispheres -- Iconography of the Constellations -- Astronomy -- The Milky Way -- Celestial Globes and Star Maps -- Bibliography


According to stylistic comparisons, the Mainz Globe is a work from the Roman Empire of the time between 150 and 220 AD. It supposedly originated in Asia Minor, which was a part of the Roman Empire at that time. Given one iconographic peculiarity (reclining Aries in the Zodiac) the Globe, or its model, presumably came from Roman Egypt. The Mainz Globe, whose artist remains anonymous, is the only complete celestial globe remaining from ancient times and is therefore the oldest known complete celestial globe. Even on the Farnese Atlas, a marble statue in Rome which was the sole example up to this point, a number of constellations were damaged and are missing. The Mainz Globe, in contrast, has all 48 constellations, even if they do not fully agree with the catalogue of Claudius Ptolemaeus. With its first and only replication of the entire Milky Way, the Mainz Globe offers new ways to evaluate antique celestial globes. This object is not a scientific piece of work, but rather served as the crown of a gnomon on a sundial. The relative precision of the constellations, the path of the Milky Way, and information on the parallels and colures is therefore even more remarkable. The antique astronomical equipment of the Hellenistic Age and Roman Empire, i.e. during the years between 300 BC and 400 AD, now appears in a new light. The Mainz Globe will confirm ancient writings on precise celestial globes.



Philine Helas

Dr. Philine Helas, Kunstgeschichtliches Institut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, D-10099 Berlin.
Der Beitrag basiert auf Thesen und Materialien meiner Dissertation Lebende Bilder. Ein Phänomen der italienischen Festkultur des Quattrocento, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 1997. Für Anregungen und Hinweise möchte ich Kristen Lippincott und Rudolf Schmidt danken.

Helas ill. 19
Ill. 19 Titelminiatur der "Geographia" Strabons (Firenze, Biblioteca Laurenziana, XXX 7, c 1 r).

Helas ill. 10
Ill. 20 Der dritte Schöpfungstag. Miniatur aus der Bibel Federico da Montefeltros (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Urb. lat. 1, fol. 7).


Fifteenth Century Italian culture is characterized by sumptuous pageantry at public feasts, ecclesiastical processions, and in profane ceremonies such as the festive entrance of a ruler, bride or guest of state. On such occasions, living images or tableaux vivants were used. At two events, the entrance of Alfonso d' Aragona in Naples in 1443 and the wedding of Costanzo Sforza and Cammilla d' Aragona in Pesaro in 1475, this pageantry included a personification placed on a globe. These examples are important documentations for the history of the globe in 15th Century Italy.

At the above-mentioned event in Naples, Florentine merchants presented a statue of the emperor Caesar standing on a sphere painted to represent the earth, which was constantly revolving. It is my hypothesis that this globe was a product of the "scientific revolution" which began in early 15th Century Florence and was further proliferated by the Union Council in 1439 where Greek and Latin scholars met. Written sources make no mention of the creator of the 1443 globe. We can, however, reconstruct a highly suggestive connection: Piero de' Ricci was the author of a poem recited by Caesar; de' Ricci was acquainted with Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, the great Florentine cartographer who, in turn, was a friend of Filippo Brunelleschi, the well-known architect, engineer and constructor of machines for the religious spectacles in Florence. Together this is a rare combination of humanistic, artistic and scientific knowledge which could have formed the basis for this invention. It should also be noted that ephemeral decorations formed a special place for artistic experiments.

In Florence, the first picture of a globe can be found in the 1470's in a painting by Piero Pollaiuolo. Many other examples can subsequently be found in miniatures. Perhaps influenced by Florentine inventions, Federico da Monte-feltro made his court a center of humanistic and scientific studies, generating another ephemeral globe in 1475. Only two years later, the first „real" globe is documented in Italy. It was made for Sixtus IV by the German astronomer Donnus Nikolaus Germanus.

It appears that an artistic readiness to use and transform knowledge of geometry and optics formed the basis of an interest in „imaging" the earth. This was later to become an important part of the history of science.



Rüdiger Finsterwalder

Univ.-Prof. Dr.Ing. Rüdiger FINSTERWALDER, TU München, Lehrstuhl für Kartographie und Reproduktionstechnik, Arcisstraße 21, D-80290 München
Ingolstadt gores (west)Ingelstadt gores (east)


The author of the so-called "Ingolstadt Gores" has remained unknown up to the present. Wieser, Engelmann and C. Schöner attribute them to Peter Apian; Nordenskiöld, who studied these gores extensively, ascribed them to another, unknown author.

The Ingolstadt site, similar pictorial signatures for other locations, the type of writing and style of the heart-shaped map of the world from 1530 could lead to the conclusion that Apian was the author. His teaching activities at the University beginning in 1527, where he published his "Cosmographicus Liber" in 1524, would also support this interpretation. A globe whose gores were printed in wood cutting could well have served as a teaching aid. Given that the gores were created during or after 1527 - their construction is closer to 1530, the year in when Apian's heart-shaped world map appeared. This object differs considerably from the world map produced by Apian in 1520. The latter is probably a cut reduction made by L. Fries of the Waldseemüller Map of 1507 with all its inherent defects, for example on the West Coast of Africa. These deficiencies were improved on Apian's own world map (1530) and in particular of the continents on the map were transformed by calculation into gores for better comparison, and this also permitted a comparison with Schöner's gores. The inscription furnished additional proof. It is odd that the southern continent was not included on the Ingolstadt globe. The contents of the map and its markings provide sufficient proof to attribute the "Ingolstadt Gores" to Apian; they were produced in the Apian printing shop during or after 1527.



Peter H. Meurer

Dr. rer. nat. Peter H. Meurer, Universiteit Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 2, NL-3508 TC Utrecht.
Der Beitrag beruht auf einer neuen Materialsichtung zur Geschichte der deutschen Kartographie des Humanismus, die vom Verf. im Rahmen des Forschungsprojektes „Corpus der älteren Germania-Karten" mit Förderung durch die Fritz Thyssen Stiftung an der Universität Trier durchgeführt worden ist. Die Publikation dieses systematischen, ausführlich annotierten Katalogs der älteren Gesamtkarten des deutschen Raumes wird für 1998 vorbereitet. - Für die Hilfe bei der Bearbeitung des Briefes danke ich herzlich Dr. Heinz Scheible (Heidelberg) und meinem Mitarbeiter Conradin Sturm M.A. (Trier).


Exact data on the life and work of Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) in the decade from ca. 1544 and 1554 are rather scanty. The primary source is the Vita celeberrimi clarissimique viri Gerardi Mercatoris Rupelmundani written by Mercator's friend Walter Ghim (1530-1611), which was published as an obituary in 1595 in the first complete edition of the atlas. Up to this time, Ghim's text was the sole source of information on Mercator's works for Emperor Karl V. Its main points are:

More precise information on this subject is found in a rediscovered letter written in Duisburg by Mercator on 23 August 1554 to Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560) in Wittenberg. In this letter Mercator reports that:

At the end of April 1554 Mercator was invited to bring his globe personally to Brussels. According to Mercator's report, the "other mathematical instruments" mentioned by Ghim can be identified as an astronomical clock, consisting of
a) a mechanism with more than 700 wheels
b) an octagonal main body, with a dial on each side showing the move-ments of the planets and the fixed stars
c) a conic octagonal upper part, with explanations of the dials engraved on the respective side;
d) at the top a (probably automatically moving) crystal celestial globe, into which Mercator's terrestrial globe was placed.

The constructor of this planetary clock was Giovanni Gianelli of Milan, a previously little known 16th Century globemaker and instrument builder.

Gianelli and Mercator presented their work to Karl V during a private audience on 3 May 1554 at 15 p.m. in Brussels. The well-informed Emperor used this occasion for scientific discussion, for example on the work of Peter Apian (1495-1552) and on problems encountered in the determination of geographical longitude.

Highly interesting for the "dark decade" in Mercator's biography is the addressee of this letter. The Wittenberg professor Philipp Melanchthon was the father of a new educational system which had a decisive influence on German humanism. Under this concept, geographical knowledge served as tool for man to discern the work and providence of God. Maps and globes assumed a new function as media to support the lecture of the Bible. With reference to its rather confidential tone, the 1554 letter seems to have been neither the first, nor sole contact between Melanchthon and Mercator. An immediate reason for their correspondence could have been Mercator's probable involvement in preparations for the founding of a university in Duisburg. Moreover, sympathy for Melanchthon's definition of geographical thinking may have been one of the reasons why Mercator was charged with heresy in 1544 in Flanders.



Leopold Stadler

Prof. Mag. Leopold STADLER, Wien.


Stadler ill. 23

Ill. 23. C.C. Schindler, Armillarsphäre, um 1710, Gesamtansicht.

An armillary sphere (Ø 24,2 cm, maximum height 46,8 cm) recently appeared in Vienna. It is larger, in better condition, and more attractive than the object described in the "Globusfreund" in 1968. The signature "SCHINDLER M. & M. fecit" corresponds - with the exception of the missing words "à VIEN" - to a smaller instrument purchased approximately thirty years ago in Paris.

The construction of the sphere can be reasonably dated at 1710 based on a stylistic comparison with other works by Schindler. Given this fact and the statement of a declination of 10,0° W, Vienna can be excluded as the place of manufacture. Since the development of chronological declinations from Paris and London are available from the year 1540 onwards, it would be more prudent to conclude the object was manufactured in Western Europe.

Details on the precision of the lead strips which make up the sphere and the bent rods have been provided, and the construction of the instrument exactly described. It is geocentrically conceived, and the sun and moon can be moved by hand in a circle within the ecliptic around the centrally located earth.



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