The Astrolabe of Ferdinand Magellan is a time traveling device that takes the person back in time for 24 hours.
It is an incredibly dangerous artifact that used to be in the care of the Brotherhood of the Black Diamond. It was later stolen by Artie. When the Warehouse was destroyed, Artie and the team used the astrolabe to reverse the destruction of the Warehouse.
The astrolabe was first used by Maximilien de Robespierre, a French lawyer and politician, to turn French public opinion against the king. However, after using the astrolabe Robespierre began to turn against what he believed in. Robespierre at first tried to use the astrolabe so French people could govern themselves, but then started using the guillotine to keep them in line. This eventually lead to the Reign of Terror.
This was the down side of the astrolabe according to Robespierre: "If any man shall live the same day twice his reason shall fracture and he shall live his life as two until there is only one" and "As darkness overcomes the light so shall evil overcome goodness and eventually the darkness will extinguish the light and rule forever".
The astrolabe was guarded by the Brotherhood of the Black Diamond, a descendant of the Knights Templar. The astrolabe, however, was located at St. Peter's Church in the Vatican City of Rome.
The astrolabe, like many artifacts, must be complete in order to activate it. When the complete artifact is adjusted and looked through, the user will be sent back 24 hours into the past from whenever the Astrolabe was activated, retaining all of his/her memories and taking the astrolabe with them.
The astrolabe's abilities are most likely related to the International Date Line somehow as Magellan's ship crossed it during his journey.
The alternate reality that the user creates by using this artifact can be undone if the user activates the astrolabe a second time. In this instance, if Artie were to use the astrolabe a second time the Warehouse and Pandora's Box would still be destroyed and it'd be like Artie never used it in the first place.
The astrolabe was considered a "failsafe" in the case of an irrevocable incident (such as the Warehouse being destroyed).
Artie was told that using the astrolabe would create an evil that would live with him forever and anybody he tells will be in grave danger, but it is unknown whether this is a side effect of the artifact or simply a warning for changing history itself. However, Artie was also warned that the evil he created would not only put his own life at risk, but also put the entire world at risk.
It is revealed that the evil/downside of using the astrolabe is that the user will be driven against the reason for its use. E.g. when Maximilien de Robespierre used it he did so to allow the French people to govern themselves but the artifact's influence lead to him using the guillotine to keep them in line.
In "An Evil Within ", the 'evil' mentioned supposedly appears unexpectedly depending on the user. The only known method to destroy the evil is to undo the changes made using the astrolabe.
In "There's Always a Downside ", Brother Adrian discovered it was Artie who had stolen the astrolabe and claimed he'd do whatever it takes to make sure Artie uses the astrolabe again and undoes the evil he has created.
In "Fractures", it was revealed that Artie was hiding the astrolabe in the Dark Vault.
In "Endless Wonder", H.G. told Artie she knew about the astrolabe.
In "Second Chance", H.G. and Mrs. Frederic confronted Artie about the astrolabe and he had no choice, but to tell them everything. Mrs. Frederic wasn't mad and she said she'd do the same thing and she believes this coming evil is Brother Adrian. However, to make sure Artie doesn't undo what he has done H.G. has taken the astrolabe from the Dark Vault, without Artie knowing, and hidden it somewhere that Artie and Brother Adrian can't find it.
In "The Ones You Love" it is revealed that the evil created by the astrolabe exists in the mind of its user, driving them insane and making them see adversaries that aren't there. Artie has really been stealing artifacts from himself. Artie trapped the Brotherhood of the Black Diamond – including Brother Adrian – in a painting and hallucinated that Brother Adrian had done all the things he had been doing. After confronting his mental breakdown, Leena asks Artie, "Who are you?" He subsequently kills her when she is in his way of retrieving the astrolabe from the Dark Vault.
In "We All Fall Down ", the downside of the astrolabe is further revealed. Usage of the astrolabe causes the user to create a dual personality, one being his/her regular self, the other a personality created by his inner conflicts and anger. As time passes, the dark side will slowly grow more dominant, taking over the user until his "light" is extinguished.
In "The Living And The Dead ", it was revealed the only way to reverse the effects of the astrolabe, without using it a second time and undoing the first use, is for the user to be stabbed with Francesco Borgia's Dagger, an act that separates the user's good side from their bad side created by the astrolabe.
In "Parks And Rehabilitation ", Artie realized that when Brother Adrian told him that the evil created by the astrolabe will live with him for the rest of his life, he meant that now Artie has to spend the rest of life living with the guilt of knowing he was the one who killed Leena.
Connection in History EditFerdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer and part of the first expedition to successfully circumnavigate the Earth's oceans, beginning on September 20, 1519. He was killed in the Philippines on April 27, 1521, and his crew reached Portugal without him 16 months later (September 6, 1522).
- The use of this artifact by Robespierre and Artie mean that the show has 3 distinct timelines: One where Robespierre did not use the Astrolabe and the Reign of Terror (likely) never occurred; one where the Reign of Terror occurred and Warehouse 13 was destroyed; and one where the Reign of Terror occurred, but Warehouse 13 was not destroyed.
- This is not counting Paracelsus' negated alternate timeline, and is assuming no other timeline splits were created before or after Robespierre's use of the Astrolabe.