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VMs: Folio 57v
I'm not yet backing off on the description of this device as a
nocturnal, but there are elements here that suggest some sort of
other calculator than a nocturnal.
the 17 sequence is apparently not limited to nocturnals. I've
read two books on "dialing" from the 16th/17th century
perspective, and the 17 sequence is a primary feature also on
sun-dials as well as nocturnals. This sequence is always related
to the hours between 4pm and 8am, or 4am and 8pm, depending on
whether it is a sun-dial or a nocturnal.
It's the 28/31 sequence on the inner circle that adds additional
meaning to the device. Whenever dates are written on a dial with
times, the sequence is written backward, or right to left. The
fact that the 28/31 division occurs on the left end of this
sequence somewhat supports the notion that these are days of the
Unfortunately this setup can be used to calculate a host of
astrologically related items. Moon zenith, moon phase, zodiacal
houses, zodiac influences by the hour, zodiac zeniths, fixed star
zeniths, and I may have forgotten a few. That there are four
sequences of 17 around the dial may narrow this down a bit. It is
possible this relates to the division of the zodiac into
trinaries, and when time and date are set on the dial, trinary
influences and zeniths may be calculated.
Sometime today I will post a couple of these "dial" books in the
password section of my site for those interested. If you don't
have a password, e-mail me your chosen login and password, and
I'll get you entered.