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MS 97: Oratio in Die Cinerum by Giovanni Antonio Campani, 15th century

Identifier: MS 97


This manuscript contains the Oratio in Die Cinerum, an oration for Ash Wednesday written by Giovanni Antonio Campani (1429-1477), a Neapolitan writer famous for his Latin poetry and orations. He held different offices in the Vatican and was close to Pope Pius II. A colophon on f. 19r indicates that this oration was read at the Palace of the Pope in Rome on the 3rd of March of 1462. A sale entry suggest that this very copy was presented to Pius II.

A title on f. 1r reads: Johannis Antonii Campani Oratio in die cinerum et apud Pium Papam Secundum. Quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris. Followed by the following opening words: Cui est inter tot ritus ceremoniasque Christianas. The text ends on f. 19r with the following words: cuius nomen sit benedictum in secula seculorum. Amen. Oratio Campani viri eloquentissimi explicit. Rome habita in palatio Summi Pontificis anno domini m° cccc lxii die vero iii Martii.


The script is beautiful, resembling that of the Virgil (No. 195), which is stated to have been executed in Paris.


There is a full border of flowers, fruit, and birds with blue and gold acanthus foliage, and a floriated initial in the French manner on f. 1r.


  • Creation: 15th century


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

This seems to be an Italian manuscript executed in the Papal scriptorium, though it shows French influence. A manuscript note in the volume calls it Manuscriptus cum notis pulcherrimus in membranas scriptus, olim Maffeianus (Manuscript with notes written on parchment, once belonged to Maffei). According to a sale entry pasted on the boards it was probably the very copy presented to Pius II, the celebrated Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini. It was formerly in the collection of the Marquis Maffei at Verona, and was sold for £2, 12s. 6d.

Previous title

Title given to the manuscript in Catherine Borland’s catalogue: Johannis Antonii Campani Oratio in die cinerum.

Previous reference

Laing 52.


This manuscript is mentioned on p. 320 of Ruysschaert, José. “Recherche des deux bibliothèques romaines Maffei des XV e et XVI e siècles.” La Bibliofilía, Vol. 60, 1958, pp. 306-355.

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum

Binding: Modern. The title ‘CAMPANI ORATIO IN DIE CINERUM M.S.’ is stamped on the outer cover spine to be read on the side.

Collation: a10, b2, c7=19.


22.54 cm x 14.61 cm


Secundo folio: nobis est proprior

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 19, 28 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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