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Texts, Instruments, Diagrams And Relations Between Them

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Chapter Summary

The instruments and manuscripts give evidence for a standard design of navicula, with castellated sights and mast-top, and many of the manuscripts are illustrated with diagrams showing the geometry of the instrument. Looking at practical geometrical and instrument manuscripts from the later middle ages, there are three main types of diagram illustrating these types of text. Firstly, some images combine pictorial representation and geometric diagram, perhaps showing a building being measured by an instrument, and overlaid with the geometry on which the calculation of height is based. The second type of diagram shows details of the geometry of the construction of the instrument, while the third type is an illustration of its finished parts. These three diagrams clarify the text, and allow someone working through the geometry of the instrument to see a finished diagram that the textual instructions describe.

Keywords: geometric diagram; instrument manuscripts; navicula text



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