.... The aim is to retrieve missing artifacts, investigate reports of new ones and understand the importance of what they are doing.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Johannes de Fontana: Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris
BSB Cod.icon. 242 Venedig 1420 - 1430

Belli Instrumentum - 2

Johannes de Fontana: Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris
BSB Cod.icon. 242 Venedig 1420 - 1430


Belli Instrumentum - 1

Johannes de Fontana: Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris
BSB Cod.icon. 242 Venedig 1420 - 1430


Thursday, March 28, 2013

A door

“It’s a magic wardrobe. There’s a wood inside it, and it’s snowing! Come and see,” begged Lucy.

This is the door to Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S.Lewis


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Moon, the Witch and the Round Box

 "The Clouds" is a comedy written by the celebrated playwright Aristophanes. It was originally produced in 423 BC and it was not well received. It was revised between 420-417 BC and thereafter it was circulated in manuscript form. In this comedy we find a magic box and a burning lens.

The plot is the following. Faced with legal action for non-payment of debts, Strepsiades, an elderly Athenian, enrolls his son in the "thinkeria" so that he might learn the rhetorical skills necessary to defeat their creditors in court. In the school, Strepsiades met Socrates. ...Let me write a dialog between them in the translation by William James Hickie.

"Strep. I have got a device for cheating them of the interest.
Soc. Exhibit it.
Strep. Now tell me this, pray; if I were to purchase a Thessalian witch, and draw down the moon by night, and then shut it up, in a round case, like a mirror, and then carefully keep it. [Για πες μου τούτο ακόμη: Αν πληρώσω [λόγου χάρι] μια μαγίστρα Θεσσαλή, και τη νύχτα το φεγγάρι κατεβάσω και το κλείσω σε μια θήκη στρογγυλή (round box), και το έχω σαν καθρέφτη (mirror )]
Soc. What good, pray, would this do you?
Strep. What? If the moon were to rise no longer anywhere, I should not pay the interest.
Soc. Why so, pray?
Strep. Because the money is lent out by the month.
Soc. Capital! But I will again propose to you another clever question. If a suit of five talents should be entered against you, tell me how you would obliterate it.
Strep. How? How? I do not know but I must seek.
Soc. Do not then always revolve your thoughts about yourself; but slack away your mind into the air, like a cock-chafer tied with a thread by the foot.
Strep. I have found a very clever method of getting rid of my suit, so that you yourself would acknowledge it.
Soc. Of what description?
Strep. Have you ever seen this stone in the chemist's shops, the beautiful and transparent one, from which they kindle fire?
Soc. Do you mean the burning-glass?
Strep. I do. Come what would you say, pray, if I were to take this, when the clerk was entering the suit, and were to stand at a distance, in the direction of the
sun, thus, and melt out the letters of my suit?
Soc. Cleverly done, by the Graces! ... and so on, until Socrates concludes "You talk nonsense".

Visby lens

"The Vikings could have been using a telescope hundreds of years before Dutch spectacle makers supposedly invented the device in the late 16th century.... The late Dr Karl-Heinz Wilms first heard of the so-called "Visby" lens in 1990 when he was searching for exhibits for a Munich museum. It was named after the major town on Gotland. Dr Wilms found a picture of the lens in a book and planned to examine the original. ..." From Did the Vikings make a telescope? BBC Science

Liath Meisicith

From "The Mystery of Fire", by Manly Palmer Hall, 

The burning glass of Druids

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Himalayan book covers

Carved wooden blocks rectangular in shape, and often gilded and painted, serve as covers for the stacks of loose-leaf pages of Himalayan books.

Torino, Museo Arte Orientale


Amuleto egizio apotropaico. Nella credenza popolare, un tale amuleto è ancora usato e serve a proteggere dalle sventure e dalla malasorte. Non è solo un talismano portafortunama un oggetto che sin dall'antichità è ritenuto possedere numerosi poteri apotropaici e virtù deprecative. E' realizzato come una manina dal pugno chiuso, che stringe il pollice tra l'indice e il medio. Il gesto serve ad allontanare le influenze delle persone malvagie ed il malocchio in generale.

Torino, Museo Egizio


Testa di Medusa, cancellata del Palazzo Reale di Torono


"Talaria  are winged sandals, a symbol of the Greek messenger god Hermes (Roman equivalent Mercury). They were said to be made by the god Hephaestus of imperishable gold and they flew the god as swift as any bird. The name is from the Latin talaria, neuter plural of talaris, "of the ankle"." Soruce: Wikipedia

Cap of Invisibility

"In classical mythology, the Cap of Invisibility is a helmet or cap that can turn the wearer invisible. It is also known as the Cap of Hades, Helm of Hades, or Helm of Darkness. Wearers of the cap in Greek myths include Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the messenger god Hermes, and the hero Perseus. The Cap of Invisibility enables the user to become invisible to other supernatural entities, functioning much like the cloud of mist that the gods surround themselves in to become undetectable." Source: Wikipedia


Hephaestus was the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus, and even robots. Hephaestus's symbols are a smith's hammer, anvil, and a pair of tongs.
Hephaestus is given many epithets.
Amphigúeis “the lame one” (Ἀμφιγύεις)
Kullopodíōn “the halting” (Κυλλοποδίων)
Khalkeús “coppersmith” (Χαλκεύς)
Klutotékhnēs “renowned artificer” (Κλυτοτέχνης)
Polúmētis “shrewd, crafty” or “of many devices” (Πολύμητις)
Aitnaîos “Aetnaean” (Αἰτναῖος), owing to his workshop being supposedly located below Mount Aetna.

Some of Hephaestus' ArteFacta:
Hermes' winged helmet and sandals
Aegis breastplate
Achilles' armor
Helios' chariot
Eros' bow and arrows.
Hephaestus' automatons of metal to work for him.
Tripods that walked to and from Mount Olympus.
Prometheus stole the fire that he gave to man from Hephaestus's forge.
The thrones in the Palace of Olympus.

"Hephaestus’s ugly appearance and lameness is taken by some to represent arsenicosis, an effect of low levels of arsenic exposure that would result in lameness and skin cancers. In place of less easily available tin, arsenic was added to copper in the Bronze Age to harden it; like the hatters, crazed by their exposure to mercury, who inspired Lewis Carroll's famous character of the Mad Hatter, most smiths of the Bronze Age would have suffered from chronic poisoning as a result of their livelihood. Consequently, the mythic image of the lame smith is widespread." Source Wikipedia

Richard Windley' s researches and discoveries

The site http://www.richardwindley.co.uk/ancient-discoveries-series-3.html
 features the working models and technical reproductions, that Richard Windley created for television and film. "The models and reconstructions range from functional re-creation Classical Era weapons such as Archimides' Steam Canon, to World War II covert operation devices, from Heron of Alexandria's Automata to Fontana's Renaissance Rocket Car."

Cosmic Engine

Su Sung's Cosmic Engine "The Science Museum (London) has a scale model of the 'Cosmic Engine', which Su Sung, a Chinese polymath, designed and constructed in China in 1092. This great astronomical hydromechanical clock tower was about ten meters high (about 30 feet) and featured a clock escapement and was indirectly powered by rotating wheel either with falling water and liquid mercury which does not freeze during sub-zero temperatures and flows freely allowing operation of the clock during winter. Also there is a full-sized working replica of Su Sung's clock in the Republic of China (Taiwan)'s National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung city. This exquisite full-scale, fully functional replica is reported to be 12 meters (40 feet) in height and was painstakingly constructed from Su Sung's original descriptions and mechanical drawings" Wikipedia

Here the astronomical clock face and animated figures of Prague Astronomical Clock