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.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Last Pagans of Rome


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 878

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?