University of Kentucky Special Collections
Kentuckiensis VIII

Prayer Book

1412-1447 Lombardy (Milan)

Not foliated

Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia from 1412 to 1447 is mentioned in the course of a prayer on fol. 41r and in two other passages in the manuscript. The last of the Visconti dukes, Filippo Maria won several important victories over his arch-enemies, the Venetians and Florentines. His eventual downfall resulted from the fact that he never trusted his generals and would not allow them to command long enough to score too many decisive victories, preferring the defeat of his forces to the possibility of a strong second-in-command. . . .

This manuscript is not a Book of Hours but rather a simple prayerbook, including a calendar, a selection of prayers against the plague and sudden death, Psalms, Gospel extracts, suffrages, and a series of lists of "bad-luck" days or dies egyptiacae. The superstitious nature of late medieval thought and the personal anxieties of the book's owner are manifest in the lengthy series of prayers from fol. 36r onward, to protect the owner from every imaginable danger, from being eaten by a lion to being run over in the street.
Notes from "The Illumined Word." University of Kentucky Art Museum. Catalog, 1983.

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