THE LIVIAN REVIVAL
The most famous of all Latin subscriptions, familiar to everyone interested in the transmission of classical texts, are those that, in various forms and combinations, close each of the first nine books of Livy in a number of manuscripts:1
1. Victorianus v.c. emendabam domnis Symmachis (Bks 1–9).
2a. Nicomachus Dexter v.c. emendavi (3–4).
2b. Nicomachus Dexter v.c. emendavi ad exemplum parentis mei Clementiani (5).
3a. Nicomachus Flavianus v.c. III praefectus urbis emendavi (6).
3b. Emendavi Nicomachus Flavianus v.c. ter praef(ectus) urbis apud Hennam (7).
3c. Emendavi Nicomachus Flavianus v.c. ter praef(ectus) urbis apud Term(as) (8).
It has hitherto been taken for granted that these three names imply three separate revisions,2 and as a consequence it has come to be believed that the “editing” of Livy was a “family tradition” among the Symmachi and Nicomachi; that the job was done afresh in successive generations, with the aid of new manuscripts.3 Some write of a “text prepared by the Symmachi and Nicomachi,” or (even more anachronistically) a “programme promoted and financed by the Symmachi,”4 as though of a long-term collective project to improve the text of Livy.5 It is the prime (in effect the only) text for the view that the aristocrats of Rome devoted their leisure to editing the classics, in the case of Livy, aristocrats well known for their paganism. Not to mention many earlier studies, a recent essay on the “pagan historiography” of the fourth century has proclaimed Symmachus a leading figure in the “Livian revival” of the age.6 For
1. The basic study is Zetzel 1980, 38–59; see too Pecere 1986, 59–69 On the historical side, there is still much of value in de Rossi 1849. I am grateful to Stephen Oakley for helpful comments.
2. “At various times… three Roman aristocrats,” Zetzel 1980, 38; “tre nuclei distinti di sottoscrizioni,” Pecere 1986, 59; “plusieurs étapes,” Dain 1975, 119; most elaborately, J. Bayet, Tite-Live: Livre I (Paris 1954), xcii-c.
3. McGeachy 1942, 171; Chastagnol 1962, 244; PLRE ii. 357; Reynolds and Wilson 1991, 40.
4. Billanovich 1959, 108; Pecere 1986, 63.
5. “Symmachus not only wanted to procure a correct Livy for himself; his plan was to circulate it, to publish, so to speak, this emended text” (Bayet 1954, xciv).
6. Schiatti 1998, 259; so too Zecchini 1993, 46, 55, 156, 187.