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Now the inside is rather bare, with no ornament beyond the intricacy of the finely moulded ribs and the elaborate corbels from which they spring. These are a mass of carving, armillary spheres, acanthus leaves, shields upheld by well-carved figures, crosses, and at the top small cherubs holding the royal crown.
At the top of each panel is some intricate tabernacle work, below which there is on one the Cross of the Order of Christ, on another the royal arms, with a coronet above which stands out quite clear of the panel, and on a third there has been the armillary sphere, now unfortunately quite broken off.
Most of this bench is covered with tiles of Moorish design, but on the front each is stamped with an armillary sphere in which the axis is yellow, the lines of the equator and tropics green, and the rest blue. These one would certainly take to be of Dom Manoel's time, for the armillary sphere was his emblem, but they are said to be older.
A moveable armillary sphere, three cubits in diameter. A quadrant of solid brass, one cubit radius, and divided into minutes by Nonian circles. An astronomical radius of solid brass, three cubits long. An astronomical ring of brass, a cubit in diameter. A small brass astrolabe.
Above these runs a corbelled gallery within which springs an octagonal spire cut into three by two bands of ornament, and ending in a large armillary sphere, that emblem of all the discoveries made during his reign, which Dom Manoel put on to every building with which he had anything to do.
Near this observatory was a large clock, with one wheel two cubits in diameter, and two smaller ones, which, like it, indicated hours, minutes, and seconds. In the south and lesser Observatory. An armillary sphere of brass, with a steel meridian, whose diameter was about 4 cubits. In the north Observatory.
I consider the armillary sphere a clumsy disproportioned bit of apparatus. The confused circles and the strange figures described on it suggest witchcraft and frighten the child.
The roof being flat and paved there is no gable at the west end; there is a band of carving for cornice, then a moulding, and above it a parapet of flattened quatrefoils, in each of which is an armillary sphere, and at the top a cresting, alternately of cusped openings and crosses of the Order of Christ, most of which, however, have been broken away.
It is believed that Eratosthenes invented an important modification of the gnomon which was elaborated afterwards by Hipparchus and called an armillary sphere. This consists essentially of a small gnomon, or perpendicular post, attached to a plane representing the earth's equator and a hemisphere in imitation of the earth's surface.
On the next band are large curly leaves still Gothic in style and much undercut; and in the last, four-leaved flowers set some distance one from the other. At the top, the drip-mould grows into a large trefoil with crockets outside and an armillary sphere within.