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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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Javier Velaza - Preface


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Javier Velaza


‘The last century has seen a great deal of labour successfully expended by classical scholars in investigating the history of manuscript texts. The MSS. of Virgil, Horace, Plautus, and other Latin authors, have been classified in ‘families’ and each ‘family’ or group traced to a parent MS., usually of the time of Charlemagne, occasionally of a still earlier age. It would seem that in this century the inquiry into the history of Latin texts will be pushed a stage further back. Scholars will have to ask, not from what Carolingian archetype this or that group of MSS. has come, but what ancient edition of the author has its text reflected in the Carolingian archetype. From the history of the text in the Mediaeval scriptoriums we must pass to its history at a far earlier time, in the second, third, and fourth centuries of the Roman Empire’.

These words are more than a century old and were written by Wallace Martin Lindsay in his introduction to the book Ancient Editions of Martial, published in Oxford in 1903. However, it can be said that the field of research set out by the Scottish scholar still has not been explored.

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