Sundial in Merano

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Sundial in Merano, Italy

While I walked through Merano in Italy, I came across this sundial. I was impressed by how many elements and codes are compiled in this depiction. For example, you see the motto of Friedrich III. (A.E.I.O.U.) as well as a skull with an hourglass on top of it. [German]

The meaning of the Latin inscription

Obviously, the Latin writing lost its first letters. Despite’m not an expert in Latin language, a quick interpretation comes to my mind. Many sundials talk about mortality and our last hour.


they vanish irrevocably . the last is hidden

So our hours flies by and we won’t know which one is our last one. The hourglass on top of a skull made me think, this interpretation isn’t that bad. Well, what do you think?

The meaning of the motto A.E.I.O.U.

During school time, we loved to find interpretations for the real meaning of the five vocals that formed the motto of Emperor Frederick III (1415–1493). Most ideas were probably silly, more an outburst of creativity than knowledge in history.

But in the case of the sundial, another question arises: Why do we find the A.E.I.O.U. on this wall in Merano? On older buildings, it often declares ownership by Frederick III. I’m not sure about this house in Merano. Perhaps a modern artist who also loved the riddle about the five vocals created this sundial?

Sources / More info

  • Link Description of the Motto A.E.I.O.U. on Wikipedia
  • Link Biography of Frederick III on Wikipedia
Categorized as Sundials