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From the Protohistory to the History of the Text


Javier Velaza

This volume contains the papers of the colloquium Protohistory of the Text, which took place on 28 and 29 November 2013 at the Universitat de Barcelona. Each paper is devoted to the transmission of a major classical Latin text. The contributors are distinguished scholars from around the world such as Paolo Fedeli, Peter Kruschwitz, Marc Mayer, Stephen Oakley, Oronzo Pecere, Antonio Ramírez de Verger and Richard Tarrant. They discuss texts ranging from the comedies of Plautus and Terence through the writings of Cicero, Livy and Virgil to the Historia Augusta. Their papers review existing scholarship and offer new insights into the transmission of these texts and especially into their protohistory, the phase of their history that precedes the earliest surviving manuscripts.
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Peter Kruschwitz - Ne cum poeta scriptura evanesceret. Exploring the protohistory of Terence’s dramatic scripts


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Peter Kruschwitz

Ne cum poeta scriptura evanesceret. Exploring the protohistory of Terence’s dramatic scripts*

1. Some Initial Considerations

The very concept of the ‘protohistory of a text’, stricto sensu, has the potential to create a challenging intellectual paradox: how can one go about retrieving, arranging, and analysing the evidence for a text (or a collection of texts) that pre-dates the evidence for the same text’s existence? Certainly, one can easily think of cases in which there is no such paradox at all: for example, authors may announce their plans to write a certain text in letters or their diaries (even though one ought to be careful as regards the truthfulness of such claims)1. In other cases, the existence of an autograph may be revealing with a view on the processes that led to the completion of a given work. Then there are instances in which texts exist in a revised edition, and the use of an earlier edition, if available, may be instructive in terms of an author’s intentions and aesthetic considerations2. As far as the ancient world is concerned, however, such cases are not the majority: in fact, they are quite exceptional, and that is where the paradox begins.

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