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Sarah Griffin (Frances Yates Long-Term Fellow): 'Monumental Calendars in Fifteenth-Century Central Europe'

The fifteenth century was a pivotal period for the western understanding, perception, and representation of time. It witnessed wide-scale dissemination of mechanical-horological instruments: clocks. Such instruments brought new focus to the study of time and worked alongside, and occasionally incorporated, a much older technology: the calendar, new forms of which were created during this period. This paper presents a particular group of large-scale calendars made for astronomical clocks and compendia in the fifteenth century, of which for reasons to be discussed, only a small number survive. Through interdisciplinary analysis of these calendars and the different ways in which they represented the time of day, the paper explores what they can tell us about how time was understood following the diffusion of mechanical time-keeping. 

The Work in Progress seminar explores the variety of subjects studied and researched at the Warburg Institute. Papers are given by invited international scholars, research fellows studying at the Institute, and third-year PhD students.


image: Detail of the calendar disk of the astronomical clock in St Mary’s Church, Gdansk, 1464–7069.1.7.