Transposition of syllables and letters
The transposition of syllables and of letters is usually an indication of an uneducated copyist. In
, for example, te nolo
was written te lono.
Forms like dixti,
2nd singular perfect indicative, being unfamiliar to
the scribe of the archetype (p. 9), often appear as dixit
etc., the scribe having regarded them as illiterate spellings
of this kind (cf. Capt. 155
Often the cause is to be found in the practice of writing letters like a, u above the line in early minuscule (cf.
Thompson Greek and Latin Palaeography
p. 228); at
thus become ta, tu
might become ut.
The letter h, especially
when added as a correction, was frequently written in the form of the Greek rough-breathing or "daseia" (as in ῾ο
) above the line (e.g.
Amph. 299 hercle,
in the original of BDEJ
); and an h
was in danger, not only of being overlooked by a copyist or mistaken for another letter, but also of being written before
instead of after the letter above which it stood. In a Bodleian fifteenth-century MS. of Virgil (Canon. Lat. 61),
written in Italy, the word Daphnim
in Ecl. v. 20
miscopied as dahpnim,
then corrected; and it is clear from various indications that in the original
the h was expressed by this suprascript sign.