Aquitaine Sundial Ring
An irresistable and useful gift
Ages. As well as being Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, she
was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–
1189). She was the patroness of such literary figures as Wace, Benoît
de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She belonged to the
French House of Poitiers, the Ramnulfids.

Eleanor succeeded her father, becoming Duchess of Aquitaine and
Countess of Poitiers, and by extension, the most eligible bride in
Europe, at the age of fifteen. Three months after her accession, she
married Louis VII, son of her guardian, King Louis the Fat. As Queen
Consort of France, she participated in the unsuccessful Second
Crusade. Soon after the Crusade, Eleanor sought an annulment of her
marriage but was rejected by Pope Eugene III. However, after the
birth of Alix, another daughter, Louis agreed to an annulment. The
marriage was annulled on 11 March 1152, on the grounds of
consanguinity within the fourth degree. Their daughters were
declared legitimate and custody was awarded to Louis, while
Eleanor's lands were restored to her.

As soon as the annulment was granted, Eleanor became engaged to
Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, who
became King Henry II of England in 1154; he was her cousin within
the third degree and was nine years younger than she. The couple
married on 18 May 1152 (Whit Sunday), eight weeks after the
annulment of Eleanor's first marriage, in a cathedral in Poitiers,
France. Over the next thirteen years, she bore Henry eight children:
five sons, three of whom would become kings, and three daughters.
However, Henry and Eleanor eventually became estranged. She was
imprisoned between 1173 and 1189 for supporting her son Henry's
revolt against her husband.

Eleanor was widowed on 6 July 1189. Her husband was succeeded
by their son, Richard I, who immediately released his mother. Now
queen dowager, Eleanor acted as a regent while Richard went on the
Third Crusade. Eleanor survived Richard and lived well into the reign
of her youngest son John. By the time of her death, she had outlived
all her children except for King John and Eleanor, Queen of Castile.

If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free
Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
!-- Start Quantcast tag -->
Quiz #379 Results
Bookmark and Share

1.  Carpe Diem, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 11
2.  Telling time.  It is a sundial ring.
3.  It is called an Aquetaine.
Eleanor of Aquetaine gave one to her husband Henry II
so he would know what time to leave the hunt for trysts with her.
Click here to see results of
5th occasional photoquiz survey.
Click here to see results of
10th occasional photoquiz survey.
Answer to Quiz #379 - December 16, 2012
1.  What is written on the inside of the ring?
2.  What is the device used for?
3. Who is it named after and why?
1.  Carpe Diem and 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
2.  Telling time.  It is an Aquetaine.
3.  It is named after Eleanor of Aquetaine.
Eleanor of Aquetaine gave one to her husband Henry II
so he could know what time to leave the hunt for trysts with her.
The Aquetaine
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Donna Jolley               Jackie McCarty
Debi Disser                Diane Scannell
Daniel E. Jolley                Margaret Paxton
Perry Lamy                Mike Dalton
Judy Pfaff                Arthur Hartwell
Jean Callum                Tony Knapp
Carol Farrant                Marcelle Comeau
Dennis Brann
Comments from Our Readers
I used Bing to find this because, although I am a regular Google user I was getting no
joy, so I decided to use another search engine. I Bingged (is that a word?) "ring
dial" and there it was.
Tim Bailey
I solved this puzzle by goggling JFMA, JASON and realized what I coudn't see
was a sequence for the initials of the month.  I then googled "JFMAMJJASOND
Ring" and found a image of the ring similar to picture which took me to a children's
science web site that provided the background and explanation for the ring (see
Perry Lamy
I have a plaque of a Mayan calendar from Mexico City as well as an  usual   
assortment of mechanical timekeeping devices. I don't have a sundial, but I have
marked on my front door, the position of the sun rays on the winter solstice.
Mike Dalton
Found with Google 'JFMAMJ on ring 1, DNOSAJ on ring 2' I received a wonderful
gift this holiday season which, in one of those unexpected twists, has an interesting
connection to Eleanor (and therefore to SCD?).
Judy Pfaff
It is really cool. That you have one is really great. We tend to forget our ancestors
were rather intelligent. This ring was made in 1152. They may have had one for each
month rather than the sliding segments for the year.
Arthur Hartwell
I picked the letters on the bottom, JFMA, and Google filled in the rest.  I added ring
to the search and found it.  Inside of the ring are the numbers 1 thought 11.  The
brass ring in the middle, with the little hole in it, has Carpe Diem written on the
inside.  It's an Eleanor of Aquitaine sundial, used to tell the time.  It is named after
Eleanor of Aquitaine because she had one just like it made for her husband, Henry II
of England.  I want one!  I'd prefer a replica of the one Henry had made for Eleanor,
made with gold and diamonds.
Carol Farrant
That one took me a while to figure out.  It looked like a compass or watch but I had
to leave it for a while and then when I came back to it I noticed the letters were the
months of the year.  That finally helped me find a replica of it on the web.  It is a very
cool little device. Thanks for all the puzzle fun.  Happy holidays!
  Jean Callum
I enjoyed learning about the Aquetane and bought my wife one for Christmas as well.  
It will be fun explaining to her how it works.
Perry Lamy
I love little things like that ring, too.  I do have one abacus.  My Dad made it many
years ago.  The beads are red.  He even wrote an instruction manual for my new
“Apple computer”.
Carol Farrant
How Tony Solved the Puzzle
Found this to be very interesting. At first I googled:"ring
JFMASOND" and got mostly ring ads. Next I googled just
"JFMASOND" which brought up "JFMAMJJASOND" an
acronym for the months of the year. So I googled
"JFMAMJJASOND ring", which brought up a result for the Eleanor
of Aquitane sundial ring on which gave the
intersting story about the ring. Googling images brought up the image
you used and the video ad from ThingGeek which showed how to
use the ring. Fun quiz!

Anthony Knapp
In 1152, Eleanor of Aquitaine gave a
sundial ring to Henry II so that he would
know when to leave the hunt for their love
trysts. Moved by her love, Henry ordered
his jewellers to make a copy for Eleanor –
inlaid with diamonds and engraved with
the Latin words Carpe diem (seize the

This ring is an adaptation of the one that
Eleanor gave to Henry II. Made of solid
pewter and bronze, it is 1-1/4" in diameter
and has a 30" long cord. On the outer rim
of the ring are the letters " J F M A M J J
A S O N D" and on the inside of the ring
are the numbers 1 through 11. There is a
brass ring that rotates around the centre
of the ring and in the middle of this ring is
a round hole.

On sunny days the time is displayed by
suspending the ring by its cord. Through
a tiny hole, a bright bead of light shines on
the inner surface of the ring where the
times of the day are engraved. The bronze
outer band is adjustable to place the hole
in the right position for each month.

Like all sundials, it displays Standard
Time. For Daylight Saving Time, add one
hour to the reading. Although the
accuracy of the Aquitaine Ring will vary
depending on the time of year and your
location, buying two will ensure your
"clocks" are always synchronized, and
you will never have to wait at the trysting

Set the middle wheel to the month, hold
the dial upside down, and sight the
North Star through the center hole.
Move the top of the dial's arm to align
with the uppermost stars of the Big
Dipper, and read the time on the inner
dial where the arm crosses the hour
mark! Star dials were first used in the
15th century by navigators and are
extremely accurate because they are
based on the North Star.
How a Star Dial Works
1. Move knob to month
2. Suspend from strap
so light goes through
3. Dot of light will show
time of day
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
(French: Aliénor d’
Aquitaine; Éléonore de
Guyenne) (1122 or 1124
– 1 April 1204) was one
of the wealthiest and
most powerful women
in Western Europe
during the High Middle
Comes with a full description of how to
adjust for the accuracy of the sundial,
including the equation of time,
adjustments for global location, and
other factors.,42191,42189