A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Buchanan f. 4

Breviary, Use of Rome; Italy, Milan, S. Giovanni in Conca 15th century, dated 1464–5


Breviary, Use of Rome
Language(s): Latin

[Item 1 occupies quire I]

(fols. 1r-6v)

Ambrosian calendar

Rubric: Incipit kalendarium secundum morem sancti Ambrosii episcopi Mediolanensis

With an entry for almost every day of the year; each month headed by a verse on the unlucky days in brown ink (pr. S. J. P. van Dijk, ed., Sources of the modern Roman liturgy: the ordinals of Haymo of Faversham and related documents (1243–1307) (Studia et Documenta Franciscana: 2 vols., Leiden, 1963), II, 365–76), and a note on the length of the calendar and lunar month, and the length of the night and day, in red; Feb. to Dec. also headed by notes on the Hebrew and Greek names of the months in brown; a note on the length of the year at the end of Jan., the other months with calendrical verses (pr. ibid., 366–76); major feasts (in red) include Antony Abbot (17 Jan.), Matthias (7 Feb.), Ambrose 'de uictoria' (21 Feb.), the finding of the head of John the Baptist (24 Feb., in place of Matthias), the deposition of Ambrose (5 Apr.), John the Evangelist 'in oleo feruenti' (6 May), Bernard (20 Aug.), the dedication of the monastery of S. Salvatore (27 Aug. [dedicated to S. Radegund from the 12th-century]), the beheading of John the Baptist (29 Aug.), Eustorgius of Milan (18 Sept.), Tecla (24 Sept.), the Dedication of Milan Cathedral (the Sunday after 15 Oct.: at 15 Oct. is: 'Dedicatio ecclesie sequenti dominica.'), Andrew, and the Baptism of Ambrose (30 Nov.), Castritianus 'et Iacet in sancto Iohanne ad concham. in porta romana.' (1 Dec.), the ordination of Ambrose (7 Dec.), Mary '... fabrice mundi.' (19 Dec.), and the ordination of James the Greater (29 Dec.).

[Item 2 occupies quire II]

(fols. 7r-12v)

Roman calendar

With an entry for almost every day; each month headed by a note on the length of the calendar and lunar month in red; in the body of the calendar are indicated the unlucky days and hours, the duplex and semiduplex feasts, various seasonal information including indications of the zodiac signs, equinoxes, notes on blood-letting, etc.; major feasts (in red) include Bernardino of Siena (canonized 1450) (20 May), Antony of Padua (13 June), the dedication of the basilica of S. Salvatore, duplex (9 Nov.), the dedication of the basilica of SS. Pietro e Paolo, duplex (18 Nov.), Ambrose, duplex (7 Dec.); early additions in plain brown ink, by more than one hand, are Mamertus (7 [recte 11] May), Hermagorus & Fortunatus (12 July; cf. fol. 481r), Herculanus of Perugia (7 Nov.), Pontianus, subsequently erased (19 Nov.)

[Item 3 occupies quires III-XX]

(fols. 13r-192v)


Rubric: Incipit breuiarium secundum consuetudinem romane curie

From the first Saturday in Advent to the fourth Sunday in November (pr. ibid., 17–114); with (fols. 30v-33r) tables of the antiphons before Christmas (pr. ibid., 401–8).

[Items 4–11 occupy quire XXI]

(fols. 193r-194v)

General Rubrics

(pr. ibid., 114–20), ending imperfect in the list of feasts with octaves (at '... Apostolorum petri et pauli. Visitationis marie. ||') due to the loss of a leaf after fol. 194.
(fol. 195r-v)

Table of scriptural readings for September

In red, beginning imperfect in the list of readings for years when the kalends of September fall on a Monday (at '|| sancti mathei apostoli quando cadet eodem die ...') due to the loss of a leaf after fol. 194.

(fols. 195v-197r)

New Rubrics, in the order of the months

Rubric: Incipiunt rubrice noue per ordinem. Additiones et earum declarationes que in libris defectuose reperiuntur
(fol. 197r-v)

Form of absolution from excommunication

Rubric: Absolutio ab excommunicatione maiori
(fols. 197v-198r)

Lists of fast days, vigils, days of obligations, and movable feasts, a rubric concerning feasts during Advent, and a list of semiduplex feasts, from Nicholas to Antony Abbot.

(fol. 198v)

Rubric for feasts during the octave of Corpus Christi, here attributed to Pope John XII; fol. 199r blank.

(fols. 199v-200r)


Incipit: Verbum caro factum est. | De uirgine maria. | In hoc anni circulo | Uita datur seculo
Explicit: honor uirtus et gratia. maria
(Chevalier 21347); fol. 200v ruled, otherwise blank.

[Items 11–17 occupy quires XXII-XXXI]

(fols. 201r-277r)

Ferial Psalter

Rubric: Incipit psalterium secundum consuetudinem romane curie
(fols. 277r-279r)


Rubric: Letanie maiores

followed (fols. 278v-279r) by the usual ten collects (listed under MS. Buchanan e. 5, q.v.); the fifth (fol. 279r) mentioning '... famulo tuo .N. pontifici nostro ...'.

(fol. 279v, rubric on fol. 279r)

The Seven Penitential Psalms, consisting of the usual antiphon and only the cues to the psalms

Rubric: Inferi sunt septem psalmi penitentiales qui dicuntur ante predictas letanias

the psalm cues numbered in the margin by a later hand.

(fols. 279v-280v)

The Pater Noster ('Oratio dominica.'), Ave Maria ('Salutatio marie.'), Gloria in excelsis ('Laus angelorum.'), Apostles' Creed ('Simbolum apostolorum.'), Nicene Creed ('Simbolum sanctorum patrum.'), and the Invitatory Psalm [Ps. 94] in two slightly different versions, the first headed: 'In epiphania domini dicitur iste psalmus.', the second: 'Iste psalmus dicitur per totum annum ad matutinas.'

(fols. 281r-291v)

Hymnal for proper and common feasts, from the first Saturday in Advent

Rubric: Incipiunt hymni per totum annum

with the date '.1464.' at the end, in the same red ink as the rubrics.

(fol. 292r)


Rubric: Salutatio uirginis marie
Incipit: Aue regina celorum. Aue domina angelorum.
(Chevalier 2070; pr. Daniel, Thesaurus hymnologicus, II, 319, no. X, very close to version B)
Rubric: Oratio quando ministratur eucaristia
Incipit: Domine sancte pater omnipotens eterne deus. te fideliter deprecamur

with alternative readings for '... fratri nostro uel sorori nostre. fratribus uel sororibus nostris. ...' (similar to that pr. Corpus orationum, no. 2373)

Incipit: Oremus Oratio. Omnipotens sempiterne deus. qui gloriose uirginis matris marie
(pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses, 63)
(fol. 292r-v)

Miscellaneous notes

calendrical rubrics, on how to find the dates of Septuagesima, Easter, and the Ember Days

(fol. 292r)

Verses on the properties of fennel

Rubric: proprietas feniculi
Incipit: Bis duo dat maratrum. [glossed by the scribe in cursive script: 'id est feniculum'] febres fugat. atque uenenum. Et purgat stomacum. lumen quoque reddit acutum.
(also found in a 14th-century collection of anonymous Dominican sermons, Avignon, Bibliothèque du Musée Calvet, ms. 606, fol. 126r; see M. L.-H. Labande, Avignon, I (Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France: départements, 27: Paris, 1894), 338)
Rubric: Feniculum quasi fenum oculorum
Incipit: Semen feniculi fugat spiramina
(fol. 292v)
Rubric: Prima die martis lune mensis februarij celebratur carnis priuium secundum curiam

[Items 18–19 occupy quires XXXII-XLV]

(fols. 293r-425r)


Rubric: Incipit proprium sanctorum per anni circulum

from the feast of St. Saturninus (29 Nov.) to St. Catherine (25 Nov.) (pr. van Dijk, op. cit., II, 121–73); lacking part of Matins of the feast of St. Laurence (from '... experire certe utrum||' in the versicle 'Quid in me ...' in the second nocturn; to '||regira aliam et manduca. Nam. ...' at the end of the third nocturn), due to the loss of a leaf after fol. 381.

(fols. 425v-431r)

Extra offices and prayers

(fols. 425v-428v)

Office of the Transfiguration, instituted by Pope Calixtus III (1455–8)

Rubric: Incipit officium transfigurationis domini nostri yhesu christi institutum de nouo per sanctissimum dominum nostrum Calixtum papam tertium sollemniter et duplex celebrandum
(fols. 428v-431r)

Office of St. Anne

Rubric: In festo sancte \anne/ matris marie matris domini
(fol. 431r)

three short prayers of St. Anastasia, to be said after the octave of Epiphany

Rubric: Orationes sancte Anastasie festum cuius celebrari debet post octauam epiphanie id est officium suum

fol. 431v ruled, otherwise blank.

[Items 20–28 occupy quires XLVI-L]

(fols. 432r-458r)

Communale (pr. van Dijk, op. cit., II, 173–85).

(fols. 458r-460r)

Order of Grace before and after meals (pr. ibid., 199–203).

(fols. 460r-465r)

Office of the Virgin, Use of Rome (pr. ibid., 185–91).

(fols. 465r-468v)

Office of the Dead, Use of Rome (pr. ibid., 191–95).

(fols. 468v-476v)

Ritual of the Last Sacraments, including (fols. 470v-471r) the '... letanie breues ...' (pr. ibid., 387–97); and (fol. 476v) general absolution: 'Ista est forma absolutionis generalis indulgentie a pena et a culpa in articulo mortis. ordinata in consistorio apostolico.'.

(fols. 477r-478v, rubric on fol. 476v)

Forms for blessing: (i) (fols. 477r-478r) salt and water; (ii) (fol. 478r) an altar; (iii) (fol. 478v) incense; and (iv) bread.

(fols. 478v-480v)

Additional lections for the Common of Saints.

(fol. 480v)

Date: '1465' and scribal colophon

Colophon: .1465. Deo. Gratias. Amen. Finis', and: 'Istud breuiarium est presbiteri dionisij de Castello. In sancto Iohanne ad Concham mediolani porte romane intus beneficiato. manu sua propria scriptum .M.CCCClxiiijo. et finitum die sabbati .xviiijo. mensis Ianuarij. 1465. Ad honorem dei et gloriose eius matris uirginis marie.
(fols. 480v-481r)

Contemporary additional commemorations, by two or three different hands, of:

(fol. 480v)

St. Thomas Aquinas

Incipit: ⟨D⟩eus qui ecclesiam tuam beati thome confessoris tui eruditione clarificas et sancta operatione fecundas
(pr. Corpus orationum, no. 1562)
(fol. 481r)

Sts. Hermagoras and Fortunatus

Rubric: Commemoratio sanctorum hermacore et fortunati
Incipit: Prothopresul Italie hermacora aquilegie pastor mentis nostre

the Holy Cross

Incipit: Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce domini nostri ihesu christi

fol. 481v ruled, otherwise blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (Calendar, fol. 2r) Martius in prima
Secundo Folio: (text, fol. 14r) V. Iube deo
Form: codex
Support: Parchment.
Extent: iii (modern paper, the first marbled on both sides) + 481 + iii (modern paper, the last marbled on both sides).
Dimensions (leaf): 144–5 × 99–102 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 97–9 × 69–71 mm.
Dimensions (written): 95–6 × 69–70 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: ii-iii, 1–483 (fols. i and 484, because they are marbled on both sides, are not physically foliated); a previous modern pencil foliation on every tenth leaf was out of sequence after fol. 330, and has now been corrected, according to Bodleian practice, by encircling the error, e.g. fol. 340 has '341' encircled.


Mostly in quires of 10 leaves: I6 (fols. 1–6) | II6 (fols. 7–12) | III-XX10 (fols. 13–192) | XXI10–2 (a bifolium, the 3rd and 8th leaves, missing, after fols. 194 and 198, the latter perhaps blank) (fols. 193–200) | XXII-XXX10 (fols. 201–290), XXXI2 (fols. 291–292) | XXXII-XXXIX10 (fols. 293–372), XL10–1 (10th leaf missing, after fol. 381) (fols. 373–381), XLI-XLV10 (fols. 382–431) | XLVI-L10 (fols. 432–481) CATCHWORDS by the original scribe, written horizontally, half-way down the lower margin, below the right-hand side of the right-hand column of text, present throughout, except in those quires which contain the end of a major textual unit (i.e. quires I, II, XXI, XXXI, and XLV); in red if the next quire starts with a rubric modern QUIRE SIGNATURES in pencil in arabic numerals in the lower gutter margin of the first recto of each quire (cf. MS. Buchanan g. 1, also bound by Simier), skipping quire XVI.


30 lines ruled in very faint (often invisible) grey or brown ink, in two columns, each with single vertical bounding lines, ruled in plummet, extending the full height of the page; each column 30–2 mm. wide, the intercolumnar space c.8 mm. wide. 29 lines of text per page


Written in a 'fere humanistica' bookhand, apparently by Dionisius de Castello throughout (see under Provenance)


Headings in red; capitals stroked in red ink; guide-letters for one- and two-line initials usually visible within the initial area; oblique strokes next to blue two-line initials were used to ensure a regular alternation of red and blue initials when working on disbound sheets.

Five historiated initials, of varying size, depicting mostly half-length figures; the letter maroon on a blue ground, each with a red foliage extension descending down the margin, and a green one rising up it:

  • (fol. 13r) Temporale. Seven-line initial F[ratres]: St. Paul(?) in profile, holding a sword and book; the bottom margin of the page with a shield, now overpainted with an 'IHS' monogram of S. Bernardino (see under Provenance).
  • (fol. 201v) Psalm 1. Nine-line initial B[eatus]: King David playing the psaltery in a landscape (Pächt & Alexander, 2, pl. LXX no. 731, detail).
  • (fol. 265v) Psalm 109. Five-line initial D[ixit]: God the Father, holding an orb.
  • (fol. 293r) Sanctorale. Six-line initial D[eus]: St. Saturninus(?), holding a palm of martyrdom (Watson, Dated and datable, Oxford, pl. 626, showing most of the page).
  • (fol. 432r) Common. Nine-line initial F[ratres]: an Apostle holding a staff and book .

Seven similar smaller painted foliate initials, to the first hymn of the ferial Psalter, and the remaining eight-part divisions of the psalms (fols. 201r, 221v, 230r, 236r, 242r, 250v, 257r).

Three- and four-line initials in red with purple penwork, or blue with red penwork, to major feasts in the temporale and sanctorale; similar two-line initials, alternating, to prayers, lessons, psalms, etc.; one-line initials alternately in red or blue, to verses and other minor textual divisions; paraphs in blue.


19th-century Parisian signed binding by (Alphonse?) Simier. Sewing-supports not visible; bound in very dark green leather over pasteboards; the covers tooled in gilt with an outer frame formed of lozenges and semi-circlets, enclosing another frame of overlapping circle and foliate designs, the centre of each cover with a four-pointed motif composed of heart-shaped leaves on curling leafy stems; the spine with seven false raised bands; with repeated use of large and small heart-shaped-leaf tools, in every compartment of the spine; lettered 'BREUIARIUM' in the third compartment, and 'ANO[sic] | 1465' in the sixth; doublures of brown leather framed by the turn-ins, both tooled in gilt around the edge with palmette and quatrefoil roll patterns; the first and last flyleaves finely marbled on both sides; the other flyleaves of unwatermarked wove paper; the edges of the leaves and boards gilt; yellow, green and red endbands; one green silk bookmark; stamped on the top edge of the lower board and on fols. ii verso and 482r 'SIMIER.R[ELIEUR].DU ROI.' (cf. MS. Buchanan g. 1). Boxed. It seems that both René Simier, and his son, Alphonse (on whom see Charles Ramsden, French bookbinders 1789–1848 (London, 1950, repr. 1989), 190; and Hellmuth Helwig, Handbuch der Einbandkunde (3 vols., Hamburg, 1953–5), II, 179), each signed their work 'SIMIER.R[ELIEUR].DU ROI.' at different times (for examples, see Etienne Ader and Léopold Carteret, Bibliothèque Henri Béraldi, cinquième partie: livres des XVIe, XVIIe et XVIII siècles romantiques et modernes dans de belles relieures (auction catalogue: Paris, 1935), pls. facing pp. 6, 38, 39, 105, 122, and 127); but the style of the present binding looks too late to have been executed before the death, probably shortly after 1826, of René.


Origin: Italian, Milan, S. Giovanni in Conca ; 1464–5

Provenance and Acquisition

Signed and dated by Dionisius de Castello, priest of S. Giovanni in Conca, Milan, 1464–5; dated in red ink at the end of the Hymnal '.1464.'(fol. 291v), and with a colophon in red ink at the end of the volume (fol. 480v). The entry at 1 Dec. in the first calendar (fol. 6v) states that the relics of St. Castritianus are in the church; the shield on fol. 13r appears to have been flanked by two letters in gold, and perhaps topped by a third, all now erased.

Unidentified near-contemporary Italian owner(s): the additions (fol. 10r) of Hermagoras and Fortunatus to the second calendar, and their commemoration (fol. 481r) at the end of the volume, suggest an owner with a special veneration of their cult-they were principal patrons at Udine, Gorizia, and Laibach; an omitted verse of a psalm is supplied in a humanistic semi-cursive script on fol. 254r; a smudged inscription is on fol. 200r: 'Breujarius Romanus [?] | uerbis johannis' (??).

Unidentified French collector, 19th century: a small gilt red leather bookplate (fol. i recto), shows a coat of arms with three fleurs de lys, a bordure with eight scallop shells, encircled by the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece, with links composed of pairs of facing initial 'C's, surmounted by a closed crown, and flanked by two angel supporters holding banners with, and wearing, fleurs de lys, above the motto: 'DEUS ET DIES'; fol. 484v with a corresponding small red leather bookplate stamped in gilt with a tree of fleurs de lys, surmounted by a closed crown. The same arms and the same tree of fleurs de lys are on the covers of a binding sold at Sotheby's, 15 May, 1997, lot 61 (catalogue with colour pl.); this binding is signed by Lortic (cf. below), who is thought to have started business in 1840, which would make it impossible for the arms to be a variant of those of Charles X of France (1757–1836; r.1824–30), as had previously been proposed, presumably on the basis that the closed crown should only be used by royalty.

Baron François-Florentin-Achille Seillière (1813–73), French banker and book-collector (see Eugène Olivier, Georges Hermal, and R. de Roton, Manuel de l'amateur de reliures armoriées françaises: onzième série (meubles) (Paris, 1927), no. 1130): his sale at Sotheby's, 25 February 1887 and four following days, lot 180, bought by Ridler for £13; inscribed, presumably by Sotheby's, in pencil '985' within a triangle in the upper left corner of fol. ii verso (see Introduction). A cutting of the Sotheby's catalogue description is pasted to a sheet of plain paper and inserted loosely in [pr. bk.] Buchanan f.54, and inscribed by Buchanan: 'Belonged to same collector as Summa Angelica'. Since there is no copy of Angelus's Summa Angelica from Buchanan's collection in either the Bodleian or All Souls, this note presumably refers to the copy in the Seillière catalogue, lot 40, bound by Lortic (cf. above); Seillière presumably acquired the latter and the present manuscript from the same source. Buchanan attended the sale in person, and bought a number of printed books (see Introduction); he presumably bought the present manuscript from Ridler immediately afterwards, since it does not bear Ridler's price-code.

Rt. Hon. T. R. Buchanan (1846–1911)

Given to the Bodleian by his widow, Mrs. E. O. Buchanan, in 1941.

Record Sources

Adapted from Peter Kidd, Medieval Manuscripts from the Collection of T. R. Buchanan in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Oxford, 2001)

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.