Gnomonic Blocks, or Multi-faceted Sundials

Gnomonic Blocks, or Multi-faceted Sundials


Within the park of the Abbey of Epau, in Yvré-l’Evêque in France, you may admire a curious monument within the form of an obelisk. Constructed by the Benedictine monk Bedos de Celles between 1631 and 1640, the sculpture consists of 4 sides, completely symmetrical, and oriented alongside the cardinal instructions, with a number of curious protrusions and shapes. Every of those shapes has a function: they’re sundials, a complete of thirty in all.

Sundial of the Groirie in Yvré-l’Evêque. Photograph: Selbymay/Wikimedia Commons

Distributed over all of the 4 faces, these sundials function at completely different occasions of the day because the solar travels. The south face is the one with probably the most dials. It has, amongst different issues, a carved block within the type of an open guide, the pages of which function a method for eight distinct dials. Above this guide are aligned six cylindrical dials. The south face additionally has two different vertical dials.

Every of the east and west faces has three concave dials, within the form of a sphere or cylinder, engraved in hole. The north face has 5 dials. The entire sculpture is surmounted by a concave crescent-shaped dial.

On the north face of the sculpture is inscribed in Latin: “SIMPLEX SUM SINE SOLE, NIHIL SINE LUMINE NULLUS”, that means “I’m easy with out solar, nothing with out gentle.”

The sundial at Abbey of Epau is called a gnomonic block, which is a sculpture comprising of multiple sundial. They grew to become very fashionable in Europe through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Some gnomonic blocks have the benefit of receiving gentle at completely different occasions of the day, so it’s attainable to construct them such that they provide the time in a number of time zones.

Sundial of the Groirie in Yvré-l'Evêque.

Sundial of the Groirie in Yvré-l’Evêque. Photograph: Stéphane Mahot/Flickr

Different historic examples of gnomonic blocks

Sundial at Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey

Sundial at Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey, on Mont Sainte-Odile, one of the vital well-known peaks of the Vosges mountain vary within the French area of Alsace. Photograph: Jörgens.mi/Wikimedia Commons

Sundial at Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey

Sundial at Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey, on Mont Sainte-Odile, one of the vital well-known peaks of the Vosges mountain vary within the French area of Alsace. Photograph: Tristan/Wikimedia Commons

 sundial by Ludwig von Hohenfeld

Polyhedral sundial by Ludwig von Hohenfeld, with 17 completely different sundials for the area between Tubingen and Stuttgart. Made in 1596 of wooden, paper, iron, brass. At present on the Landesmuseum in Württemberg, Stuttgart, Germany. Photograph: Daderot/Wikimedia Commons

 sundial from 1793 located at Musée dauphinois (Dauphinois Museum

A multi-faceted sundial from 1793 situated at Musée dauphinois (Dauphinois Museum), in Grenoble, France. Photograph: Physical data/Wikimedia Commons

 sundial near Roman Baths in Sanssouci Park

This multi-faceted sundial close to Roman Baths in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam, Germany, has 55 dial faces. Photograph: Greg Schechter/Wikimedia Commons

 sundial in Barrington Court

Multi-faceted sundial in Barrington Court docket, Somerset courting from the Nineteen Twenties. The sundial is constructed round a dodecahedron. Ten of the faces have bronze gnomons, the highest face helps an upstanding lion whereas the tenth face is used as a help. Photograph: Martinvl/Wikimedia Commons

sundial in front of Abbotsford House

Multi-faceted sundial in entrance of Abbotsford Home, dwelling of the historic novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771– 1832). Photograph: Ad Meskens/Wikimedia Commons



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