S. Lorenzo Old Chapel - Firenze


In Florence the first painted horoscope was performed: it can be found in the little dome above the altar in the St. Lawrence's Old Sacristy. This map of the sky attributed to Giuliano d'Arrigo, called Pesello, shows all the astronomic elements with extreme precision: the ecliptic with the zodiacal constellations  and the Sun set between Gemini and Cancer, the meridians, the North Pole  and the planets in transit put in particolar positions.  

In the dome of St. Lawrence the star position is the one observed on the sky in Florence in a determined moment and a particular day, perhaps July 4,  1442.  

The artist, skilled and extraordinary animalist close to the miniaturistic tradition , was assisted by an astronomer: probably Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, friend of Brunelleschi and Leon Battista Alberti.  

The work is performed with an unusual and precious technique: a dried painting on a bottom of azurrite, with the gilded astronomic elements "at leaf".   

The comitence must be counted to Cosimo the Old that began a tradition of interest toward astrology from the De Medici family. This interest was in tuning with the tradition and the cultural events of the town: just to remember that in the library of St. Mark the numerous astrological and hermetic texts came all systematized in great evidence. It was however during the 1439 Council that it was done more alive the interest for the philosophy neoplatonica and the hermetic tradition.




Dendera Ancient Zodiac



The Zodiac of Dendera gives a brief glimpse into aspects of Nile Valley astronomy, astrology, agriculture and calendar making. The inner circle of figures, which move counter clockwise like the stars, shows the astrological signs of the zodiac circling around the North Pole, which is symbolized by the deity Anpu. The outer circle of figures represents the 36 decans (ten day weeks) of the Egyptian year. Thus one had a circle (36 * 10 = 360 degrees). The twelve figures outside the circle represent the 12 months of the year and their arms, the 24 hours of the day. It was in this manner that the 12 signs of the zodiac, which regulated agriculture, were created. Each sign was associated with a decan and was called one of "the watchers of the hours." The word "hour" derives from the deity Heru or Horus. Thus the signs of the zodiac were also "the watchers of Heru/Horus" and hence the origin of the word "Horoscope."




The astronomical clock of Prague



In 1410 the master watchmaker Mikulas of Kadan built a clock that was put in the inferior portion of the Town hall's Tower  of Staré Mesto in the Old City. In 1490 the master Hanus was dealt with his setup and realized it as today we can admire. In Praga a legend was told: Hanus would have been blinded in order to not building an identical work; the master, however, would be avenged damaging it, after having been introduced him in the clock. This the legend. Reality is different. Hanus was never blinded, on the contrary he kept on working as watchmaker. It seems true, instead, that the clock didn't work well until when a certain J.Tabosky, around 1570, didn't mend it. The clock is composed by two quadrants, with 8 figures, four at the side of the superior quadrant and four at the side in the inferior one. Above the superior quadrant, two windows, known as "Apostles' Procession".The four figures of the superior quadrant symbolize "Vanity", "Avarice", "Death" and "Luxury". 

But what happens when it beats the time? Death plays a bell and overturns hourglass that has in the left hand, do the Apostles start to pass behind the two windows bending themselves  toward the crowd: from the left window for first Paul passes with a sword and a book, then Thomas with a lance and, following, Juda with a book, Simone with a saw and Bartholomew with a book; from the window of right Peter with a key, Mathew with an ax, John with a snake, Andrew with a cross, Phillip with a cross and James with a wood hammer.





The astronomical clock of Cremona, Italy




It is situated in TownHall Place, Dome Cathedral: The right side of the Torrazzo entertained a great sundial realized at the beginning of the last century by the native General Francis Pistoia of Dovarese Island . It replaced a previous one by now had been wearing out for the time, of which traces exist on still the masonry. The General Francis Pistoia's one had a big gnome 287,7cm long, still installed on the wall. The floor of the Torrazzo's room  where the car of the Astronomic clock is found,  is realized a horizontal sundial that takes light from a practiced hole in the ceiling. This sundial didn't have a public function as that external, but it served to an appointee to syncronize the visible clock from the underlying square with the daily run of the Sun: this way the mechanical clock could correctly point out the time true place.