|Author/Contributor(s):||Talbert, Richard J a|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
of individuals able to visualize Rome's vast empire latitudinally. The sixteen such sundials known to date share common features but designers also vied to create enhancements. Comparison with modern calculations shows that often the latitudes listed are incorrect, in which case the sundial may not perform at its best. But then the nature of Romans' time-consciousness (or lack of it) must be taken into consideration. Richard Talbert suspects that owners might prize these sundials not so much for practical use but rather as prestige objects attesting to scientific awareness as well as imperial mastery of time and space. In retrospect, they may be seen as Roman precursors to comparable Islamic and European instruments from the Middle Ages onwards, and even to today's luxury watches which display eye-catching proof of their purchasers' wealth, sophistication, and cosmopolitanism. Richly enhanced with detailed photographs, line drawings, maps, a gazetteer, and a table of latitudes and locations, Roman Portable Sundials brings these overlooked gadgets out
of the shadows at last to reveal their hitherto untapped layers of meaning.