Studies on the Text of Macrobius' Saturnalia

Studies on the Text of Macrobius' Saturnalia

Studies on the Text of Macrobius' Saturnalia

Studies on the Text of Macrobius' Saturnalia

Synopsis

Studies on the Text of Macrobius' Saturnalia is a companion to new editions of Macrobius' encyclopedic dialogue that are to appear in the Loeb Classical Library and the Oxford Classical Texts series. The first chapter reports the results of a new survey of all the extant manuscripts of the work written before the 13th century and provides the first detailed stemma, which allows the early medieval archetype to be reconstructed more reliably than previously. Chapter 2 discusses some of the nearly 300 passages in which the new text differs from the standard edition of James Willis (Teubner 1963); the critical discussions then continue in Chapter 3, which considers some questions of editorial practice posed by a text whose author was not just the author but also, to a very extensive degree, a copyist himself. Three appendixes supplement the arguments in the body of the monograph.

Excerpt

It might seem an odd thing to say, but this is a book I had no intention of writing. When I set out to prepare a Loeb Classical Library edition of the Saturnalia, I assumed, happily, that I could proceed as Nino Marinone had done when he produced his fine bilingual edition for the series Classici latini (1967, 2nd ed. 1977), basing himself on the standard critical edition—James Willis’ Teubner (1963, 3rd ed. 1994)—and incorporating any improvements in the Latin text that might be necessary; I also assumed that the needed improvements would be relatively few, especially since Marinone had already introduced scores of them himself. Of course, I would familiarize myself with any work on the text’s history that had been done since Willis’ edition was published and do “due diligence” by securing copies of the manuscripts he had used, to test his reports, and by examining a few other manuscripts that he had not used; but all that could not amount to much. Well, no. One damned thing (ut fit) led to another, as I came to discover, with sinking heart, the full scope of the Teubner’s multiple inadequacies—its poorly judged documentary basis, its irresponsible apparatus, its erratic choice of readings. These discoveries both provided the material on which the present studies are based and made plain the need for a new critical edition, which will follow in the Oxford Classical Texts series.

But now it remains only to offer thanks. I am indebted once again to Princeton University for a sabbatical semester, and to the university’s Humanities Council, which allowed me to extend that semester to a full academic year by naming me an Old Dominion Professor for 2008–2009 I am also very grateful to the institutions that provided the microfilms and digitized images without which this study would . . .

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