The Ash Wednesday Supper


La cena de le Ceneri (The Ash Wednesday supper), the first of Giordano Bruno’s six Italian philosophical dialogues, was first published in London in 1584. The title page indicates neither the place of publication nor the publisher, but scholars agree that the book was printed at the London shop of John Charlewood. The work is dedicated to the French ambassador to the English court, Michel de Castelnau, sieur de la Mauvissière, who assisted Bruno after his arrival in London in 1583. The book is divided into five dialogues and is preceded by an introductory letter. It presents an innovative exposition of the Copernican heliocentric theory, one going beyond the theory of Copernicus, which still held that the universe was finite and composed of a sphere of fixed stars. Bruno posited an infinite and homogeneous universe (both spatially and materially), without a center, embracing an infinite number of worlds and innumerous solar systems. Bruno’s theories constitute a link between certain conceptions descended from the natural philosophy of the Presocratics with the discoveries of contemporary science. Before he left the cloth in 1576, Bruno had been a monk in the Dominican monastery of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. After adventurous wanderings all over Europe, Bruno came back to Italy in 1591. He was put under arrest by the Inquisition and, after a long trial, was pronounced an “impenitent heretic” and eventually burned at the stake in Campo de’ Fiori in Rome on February 17, 1600. Having been excommunicated also by the Calvinists and the Lutherans, Bruno, one can say, was rejected by all Christian churches of his time.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Printed by John Charlewood, London


Title in Original Language

La cena de le Ceneri


Type of Item

Physical Description

11 unnumbered pages, 128 pages ; illustrations


  • La cena de le Ceneri is included in the World Digital Library with the support of the Institute for the European Intellectual Lexicon and History of Ideas (ILIESI) – CNR. ILIESI is leading an international project to provide access to digital editions of major philosophical texts, for the purpose of facilitating research on the intercultural history of philosophy. The project traces the migration of philosophical concepts from original editions to later editions and translations of major texts.

Last updated: May 24, 2017