These chapters, expanded from a recent course of Oxford lectures, will, I hope, do something to supply what I believe to be a real want. Textual emendation too often misses the mark through want of knowledge of what may be called “the rules of the game.” Too often it seems as if the only resource that were known for emending a corrupt passage were to rewrite the sentence in capitals, with no division between the words, and then to look out for letters which may have been confused with others of similar form. The confusion of letters in minuscule script and the confusion of contractions, especially minuscule contractions, played an important part in the corruption of texts, but are seldom recognised to a corresponding extent in our attempts at emendation. All this I believe to be due to the absence of a satisfactory handbook on the subject. For Greek we have the excellent Commentatio Palaeographica of Bast—a book not so widely known, I fear, in this country as it deserves to be. But for Latin I am not acquainted with any except Hagen's Gradus ad Criticen.

A handbook of the kind clearly should provide suitably long lists of examples; and these, I think it will be admitted, had best be taken, so far as possible, from the MSS of a single author. After hesitating for some time between Virgil and Plautus, I finally decided to take my lists from Plautus, for reasons that are stated in the introductory pages. I have occasionally added examples from Nonius Marcellus on this account:—In two of the oldest MSS of that author we are fortunate enough to possess an archetype (the Leyden codex) and a direct copy (the Laurentian), while two others (the Harleian and the Escurial) are direct copies of this copy; so that the course of corruption of words, which only lets itself be inferred in the texts of most authors, can in the case of Nonius be actually seen. In connexion with the variety of reading in Horace C. i. 1. 7, mobilium and nobilium, it is interesting to find the word mobilem of the parent MS miscopied as nobilem (see p. 76 of this handbook).

These lists of examples, along with other details which may be omitted by less advanced students, I have put in small type. In the portions in ordinary print examples, when available to me, have been taken by preference from more familiar authors—Virgil, Horace, and the like. This arrangement of the book in different sizes of type will, I hope, facilitate its use in schools. Now that boys of the upper forms of our schools are required to know something of manuscript variants and modern scholars' emendations, it seems desirable that they should be provided with an elementary knowledge of the manner in which the classical texts have been transmitted to us and the dangers undergone in the course of transmission.

In the second Appendix I have made the experiment of simplifying and interpreting what is to many readers a mass of meaningless symbols, an apparatus criticus. In the third a few simple directions are given to any one making his first collation of a Latin MS.

I cannot conclude without an expression of gratitude to my friend, Mr. Falconer Madan, the University Lecturer on Mediaeval Palaeography, for the generous help which I have received from him in the preparation of this manual.

W. M. LINDSAY. Jesus College, Oxford September 1896.

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