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

MS. Canon. Liturg. 297

Summary Catalogue no.: 19395

Noted breviary; Germany (Münsterschwarzach), 1154 × 1173


Noted choir Breviary, Benedictine use
(fols. 1v-2r)
Verses (Riddles)
Incipit: Est in crathero meo thetis conuincta lieo(?)

Four lines

Incipit: Cum bipes in tripode comedendo sederet

Four lines

Incipit: Pocula Ianus amat sed Febrius algeo clamat

Six lines

Addition on originally blank space, 15th century, Italian (?) hand

(fol. 2r-v)
Rubric: Secuntur versus beati Bernardi qui cottidie dixit ut diabolus sibi retulit prout in vita dicti beati bernardi
Incipit: O bone yhesu. Illumina oculos meos ut nunquam obdormiam in morte nequando dicat inimicus meus jactans prevalui adversus eum
Explicit: Sequitur oracio oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne deus […] misericordiam consequi merear eternam per christum dominum nostrum amen.

Addition on originally blank space, 15th century, different Italian hand

(fols. 3r-8v)

With additions for the sanctorale. Printed (without the liturgical additions) by P. Berger, 'Zum Kalendarium eines Schwarzacher Breviers von 1154', Würzburger Diözesangeschichtsblätter 25 (1963), 113–124.

(fol. 9r)
Easter table for the years 1154–86
(fols. 9v-10v)
Rubric: ciones de domina nostra. Si tibi necesse erit de Reponsoriis quere in assumptione beate virginis
Incipit: Benedicta es Maria inter mulieres, id est plus benedicta quam omnes mulieres

Addition, 13th century.

(fol. 10v)

Added drawing, see Decoration.

(fols. 11r-188r)
(fol. 188v)

Contemporary addition on originally blank folio: Pro fratribus in via dirigentibus … pro redeuntibus … pro servitoribus dum exeunt … dum intrant

(fol. 188v)
Responsory verse for Christmas

Slightly later addition on originally blank folio: 'Iam missue ab arce ueniebat'

(fols. 189r-262r)

St Nicholas (6 December) to St Damasas

(fols. 262v-297r)
Common of the saints

Fol. 281v part blank at the end of the common of a martyr, with later additions.

(fols. 297r-301r)
(fol. 301v)

Originally blank; added, 13th century (same hand as fols. 9v-10r?) office In divisione apostolorum, and (15th century, Italian hand) macaronic Latin-Italian hymn, beginning 'Ave virgo madre gloriosa | De dio padre uoy siti la sua sposa

Language(s): Latin and Italian
(fols. 302r-315r)
Hymnal, without music
(fols. 315r-318r)
Canticles, without music
(fol. 318r-v)
Breves lectiones in estate
(fols. 318v-320v)
Daily litany of the saints (supplicatio cotidiana)
(fols. 320v-324v)
Office of the dead

With another set of lessons and responsories for the same office at fol 322r and a third series of lessons at fol. 323v.

(fols. 325r-326r)
Psalm Voce mea
(fol. 326r-327r)
Hymns, without music (but some notation added later)
(fols. 327r-v)
Verses for the responsories at prime

Two 15th-century additions, 'Inseparabilis fides passioque germana laudabiles', and 'Infer ventus olay' on fol. 327vb.

The early foliation indicates that two leaves are missing after fol. 327.

(fol. 328(c)r-v)
Baptismal rite

Perhaps originally from a different manuscript, but in its current position by the 14th or 15th century as indicated by the foliation.

(fols. 329(b)r-352r)
Psalter with weekly (fol. 349r) and daily (fol. 351r) canticles, Te deum, Credo and Quicumque
(fol. 352v)
Preces pro omni gradu ecclesiae
(fol. 352v)
Collects ad prostratos psalmos during Lent.

Only a few and short rubrics.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii + 2 + 353 + 1 + ii fol. (i-ii, 1–355, including 328a-c and 329a-b)
Dimensions (leaf): 216 × 150 mm.
Foliation: Fols. 11–328(c) with 14th- or 15th-century foliation cccxxi


1 col., 34 lines; written space 178 × 114 mm.

Musical Notation:

Fine adiastematic, non-rhythmical notation of German neums, tending towards point neums.


Good initials (fols. 11r, 110v, 139v, 142v, etc.)

Full-page Byzantinizing drawing added, 13th century, first half, fol. 10v: identified by van Dijk as Gregory the Great


17th century or 18th century, Italian: thick wood boards, no bevel, square-cut with large squares and a strap-groove at centre edge of front board; inside boards are bare wood; light brown leather covering the strap-groove and not allowing for any clasp(s), blind-tooled with double lines and one bee(?)-tool to form a simple panel with crossing diagonals, and with a thin wavy roll near edges; spine lost; edges plain. Same style (archaizing?) as at MSS. Canon. Liturg. 324 and 340. Rebacked in similar leather, late 19th century, Bodleian. 224–225 × 155 × c. 98–104 mm. (book closed).

Traces of lost medieval binding, origin unclear: a former front paste-down at fol. 1 (and flyleaves at fols. 2 and ?353), with traces of pink tawed leather (perhaps from a chemise) and of two fore-edge clasps.


Origin: 1154 × c. 1173; added drawing, 13th century, first half ; Germany, south, Münsterschwarzach, Schwarzach-am-Main, Benedictine abbey of St Felicitas

Provenance and Acquisition

Easter table for 1154–1186; presumably written before 1173 as Thomas of Canterbury is a later addition in the calendar.

The manuscript is usually regarded as written at or for the Benedictine abbey of St Felicitas in Münsterschwarzach, Schwarzach-am-Main. Felicitas and her sons are emphasized in the calendar (10 July), in the litany, fol. 319r, and there are two hymns to Felicitas in the hymnal (fol. 327r). There are numerous entries in the calendar pointing to the diocese of Würzburg, such as the feasts of Burchard on 2 Feb. and 14 Oct. and of Kilian on 8 July: all are marked 'in Wirziburg'.

By the 15th century, and probably earlier, the manuscript was in Italy. Flotzinger suggested that soon after its production the manuscript was in use at the Benedictine abbey of St Gall, Moggio Udinense. His evidence for this was the obit in the calendar (15 Aug.) of 'Albertus presbyter et monachus sancti Galli' and the very early addition of Hermagoras and Fortunatus of Aquileia (12 July) in the calendar. Flotzinger also raised the possibility that the manuscript was written at Münsterschwarzach for Moggio: this was based on the version of 'Aeterne rerum conditor' on fol. 302r incorporating St Gall (although this is also found in a breviary probably from Würzburg, see Cantus 008254a-g).

This is the manuscript whose calendar was printed by Federigo Altan (Althanus), De Calendariis in genere, et speciatim de calendario ecclesiastico ... (Venice, 1753), 129–152 as 'Calendarium Mosacense I' (see also 90–1); apparently the manuscript was then still in the possession of the abbey.

Matteo Luigi Canonici, 1727–1805: uncertain when acquired, not from Trevisan / Soranzo.

Giuseppe Canonici , -1807

Purchased by the Bodleian in 1817

Record Sources

Description adapted by Matthew Holford (Nov. 2020), with some additional description of content, and additional reference to published literature as cited, from S. J. P. Van Dijk, Handlist of the Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford Vol. 2: Office Books (typescript, 1957), p. 221, except for binding description, after B. C. Barker-Benfield, Bookbindings of Canonici manuscripts : a survey of early and non-standard bindings, mostly Italian, in the Canonici collection of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (Oxford, privately printed, 2020). Previously described in the Summary Catalogue (1897).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (2 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-03-02: Added reference to Federigo Altan