Meridian Line, Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli ~ Romancing Italy

Mar 10, 2010

Meridian Line, Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli

Back in the day of Pope Clement XI, this larger than life sundial was constructed in the Basilica on the property where the southern facing Roman baths were already in place. Part of the reason was to have a Meridian line in Rome that was as important as the one already constructed in the Bologna's San Petronia Cathedral by Cassini. (Nothing like following the Joneses.)

Francesco Bianchini completed the task in 1702 and the Meridian was used to accurately predict Easter as well as to check the accuracy of the Gregorian reformation calendar.

Up high in one corner, sunlight enters through a small hole and falls along a line of bronze embedded in the marble floor that runs diagonally for about 147 feet. Figures of the zodiac decorate its edges.

I walked out of this place marvelling at how some minds work. My rusty little head can't get the grasp of some very simple mathematics...far less to think of measuring something abstract like time or for things that don't yet exist!



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