16th century history

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The Astronomicum Caesareum is a beautifully crafted astrolabe manual, to be used in order to calculate planetary alignment and the location of the stars. Petrus Apianus, a German court astronomer for Emperor Charles V dedicated the work to his patron. In return the emperor promoted Apianus to court mathematician and made him an imperial knight.  Seed pearls sewn into the pages, moving pieces, and dozens of drawings and diagrams make the manuscript a masterpiece. Apianus provided new commentary on Halley’s Comet (seen in 1531 and shown in the last image) and called for instruments to be used in astronomy rather than outdated calculation tables. Only 40 known copies remain in the world.

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Mallow Castle, County Cork, Ireland

Mallow Castle is a 33-acre site composed of gardens and parkland on which three buildings sit: the remains of a 16th-century fortified house (pictured above), a 19th-century mansion to the north, and the ruins of a 13th-century castle to the east. The fortified house is a long rectangular three-storey building, with two polygonal towers on the north-west and south-west corners. It is early Jacobean in style, featuring high gables, stepped battlements, and mullioned windows. The wings of the house project from the center of the south and north walls, with the entrance in the north wing. The design of the house was to provide a field of fire around it entirely.

The 16th-century  fortified house is believed to have been built by Sir Thomas Norreys before his death in 1599. Following his death, his niece Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Jephson inherited the house, with their family remaining in Mallow for almost 400 years. It was placed under siege by Richard Butler, Lord Mountgarret, in 1642 during the Irish Confederate Wars and did not fall. It was captured in 1645 by James Tuchet, Lord Castlehaven. The house was badly damaged by fire during the Williamite War and subsequently abandoned by the Jephsons. The Jephsons built the new mansion house on the site of the older castle’s stable block.

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Medieval Massive Gold Iconographic Glove Ring with Saints, Spanish, 16th Century AD

A flat-section gold hoop formed as three discoid panels with interstitial square panels and larger bezel; the square panels each with high-relief expanding-arm cross; the discoid panels each with the symbol of an Evangelist, a winged nimbate ox for St. Luke, a winged nimbate man with scroll for St. Matthew, a nimbate eagle for St. John, a winged lion for St. Mark; bezel with pelleted border, reserved image on a hatched field of Corpus Christi with cross and banner above marked ‘inri’ in blackletter script, two nimbate flanking female figures. 29 grams, 29mm overall, 23.93 x 25.21mm internal diameter (approximate size British Z+5, USA 14 ¾, Europe 35.08

Devotional iconographic finger rings were a popular class of personal jewellery in the later medieval period. The present ring features heavy religious imagery.

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Automaton of a Ship dated 1585 from the Holy Roman Empire on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

Made by Hans Schlottheim in Augsburg from partially painted silver, copper alloy and iron.

Centrepieces in the shape of a ship have a long tradition. Here the decorative figures and coats of arms glorify the ruler and his empire. A complex mechanism propels the ship across the table while the crew movers to the music from inside the ship. As a highlight the cannons fire a salvo.