In a recent post (April 2012) I have discussed about Roman Dodecahedra.
After preparing a model of a Roman Dodecahedron, I was able to investigate it as an optical instrument.
In the paper "A Roman Dodecahedron for measuring distance", published in arXiv, http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.6497 you can find how a Roman soldier could had used it to determine the distance of a target.The dodecahedron is quite simple to use and portable. Someone could tell (or is telling) that it is more complicated compared to a simple cross-staff. Well, a cross-staff is rather long. In the case it were of bronze, the instrument turned out to be too heavy. Moreover, it seems that the cross-staff had been developed during the 14th century, therefore it was an instrument of the Middle Age in Europe.