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Celestial globe with clockwork, 1579 (Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain)

This Globe Features Mythology, Science, and Technology (Video)


Crafted in the 16th century by Gerhard Emmoser for Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, the “Celestial Globe with Clockwork” stands as a remarkable fusion of art, science, and engineering. It incorporates constellations borrowed from Gerard Mercator's globe, alongside unique additions, including unclothed feminine figures, likely tailored to the emperor's preferences. This intricate device dynamically displays the stars' positions on any chosen day, driven by a concealed calendar. A miniature sun traces the zodiac, while a discreet disc reveals the hour.

Beyond its aesthetic allure, the Celestial Globe served as a testament to Rudolf's diverse interests, spanning arts, sciences, and even pseudosciences like astrology. Pegasus, a prominent figure on the globe, hints at its connection to astronomy through its ancient link to the Muses. This masterpiece, while not just for art enthusiasts, encapsulates the captivating blend of mythology, science, history, and technology of its time, offering a window into the past's fascination with the celestial world.

Top image: Celestial globe with clockwork, 1579 (Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain)

By Robbie Mitchell


Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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