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Again,
Points bearing on the relation of L to the other MSS.
this play presents some points of curious interest in regard to the much-discussed question whether L is the source from which all other known MSS. of Sophocles have been derived.

(1) There are two places in which an apparently true reading has been preserved by some of the later MSS., while L has an apparently false one. The first example is in v. 386, where L has “εἰς μέσον”, while A and others have “εἰς δέον”. Some editors, indeed, prefer “εἰς μέσον”: but A's reading seems far preferable (see comment.). The other example is clearer. In v. 831 L has “τάκει”, a manifest error, occasioned by “τακομέναν” shortly before. The true reading, “τέγγει”, is in A and other of the MSS. later than L.

(2) Verse 1167, “ζῆν τοῦτον, ἀλλ᾽ ἔμψυχον ἡγοῦμαι νεκρόν”, is in none of the MSS. It is supplied by Athenaeus 7. 280 C, who quotes vv. 1165-1171. The earliest printed edition which contains it is that of Turnebus (Paris, 1553 A.D.). Now Eustathius (p. 957. 17) quotes v. 1165 (partly) and v. 1166,—remarking that, after v. 1166, ‘the careful copies’ (“τὰ ἀκριβῆ ἀντίγραφα”) give the verse “ζῆν τοῦτον, ἀλλ᾽ ἔμψυχον ἡγοῦμαι νεκρόν”. Eustathius wrote in the second half of the 12th century: L was written in the first half of the eleventh century. It would be a very forced explanation to suppose that Eustathius, in speaking of “τὰ ἀκριβῆ ἀντίγραφα”, meant those MSS. of Sophocles on which Athenaeus, some 1000 years before, had relied for his quotation; or, again, those MSS. of Athenaeus in which Eustathius found it. According to the natural (or rather, the necessary) sense of the words, Eustathius is referring to MSS. of Sophocles extant in his own time. But did his memory deceive him, leading him to ascribe to MSS. of Sophocles what he had seen in Athenaeus? This, again, would be a very bold assumption. His statement has a prima facie claim to acceptance in its plain sense. And if his statement is accepted, it follows that, when L was written (in the first half of the eleventh century), two classes of MSS. of Sophocles could be distinguished by the presence or absence of verse 1167. But that verse is absent from every MS. of Sophocles now known. If, therefore, L was not the common parent of the rest, at any rate that parent (or parents) agreed with L in this striking defect, which (according to Eustathius) could have been corrected from other MSS. known in the twelfth century. There is no other instance in which a fault, now universal in the MSS. of Sophocles, is thus alleged to have been absent from a MS. or MSS. extant after the date at which L was written. Whatever construction may be placed on the statement of Eustathius, it is certain that it deserves to be carefully noted.


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  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1165
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1167
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 386
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 831
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