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the undoubtedly correct reading Asiam. But illo in a ms would so closely resemble ilio, and ASIAM would so closely resemble ASIANI, that if Malaspina thought of Ilio or Asiam as an emendation, he could actually persuade himself that he read it in his ms. If F really has reiectus ub Ilio, the brilliant conjecture of Madvig (Adversaria Critica, vol. i. p. 145) has in my opinion been anticipated. It seems to me that Malaspina (or perhaps Gasparinus Barziza) may have made this conjecture and feared to put it forward unsupported.
But however this may be, this is not the sort of evidence on which the proof of superior authority in a ms should be founded. It would be far better proof of its value as a ms if F presented a tox nihili, or some reading which proved faithful transcription without a theory as to the meaning of the words. This is the great merit of M; it adheres to the words even though no meaning emerge: hence its error guides us to the truth; as for instance when for ieiuna tabellari legatio,* it gives ieiunata bella relegatio, or for an epuloni in the same passage a neptiloni, where A or F would probably present us with a nebuloni, as the marginal corrector does. To have the right reading is not such a proof of the talue of a ms as to have the wrong one, from which the right may be inferred.t
(é) Att. ii. 12, 3, si donatam M; Sidona tamen A: there is not much to choose between obviously corrupt words and an obviously futile attempt at correction, if one is seeking only to find out what Cicero wrote; but when one is estimating the comparative value of two mss, the difference becomes important. One looks for a clue for the real words not in the mistaken correction, but in the corrupt words. The ms which gives the corrupt words without any attempt at emendation is plainly the more valuable.
c) Att. iii. 14, 1, et scio M, etsi scio F and Y; see my commentary on this passage, where I have shown the complete futility of etsi. Yet this is just the correction which would recommend itself to an ambitious copyist. Indeed in this particular case etsi for et has been very generally received. But it is quite inconsistent with several other passages in the letters from exile. Etsi is quoted by Bosius as the reading of his pretended Y.
* Att. ü. 7, 3. † These observations, in my mind, apply to H and T as strongly as to A and T.
(g') Att.iv. 13,1, two clearly corrupt readings of M, are corrected substantially in the same manner by F and by the fictitious Bosian Y, ergo et si irata fuisse being in both given as ego ut sit rata, afuisse, and again vale sum being in both correctly given as valde sum.
(h') Att. iv. 1, 15, gratum si Utichidem tuam erga me benivolentiam cognossi iam M; cognosses suam Mạ; gratum si Utychides tua erga me benivolentia cognoscet iam suam F; cognoscet et suam Bos. and vulg. Here F is very much nearer than M to the Bosian correction, which has been generally accepted, but very much further from the words which Cicero most probably wrote, if, as I think, the emendation of Bücheler is certainly to be accepted-gratumst Utychidem tuam erga me benevolentiam cognosse et suam.
(i') Att. v. 12, 1, ab Ceo vicum deinde M; ad Cei vicum deinde F; ad Ceum vicum deinde A. Since ad Ceo is the right reading, it seems to me that M has the best of it. The passage was admirably emended by Bosius (who alleged the authority of X and Y) thus : ad Ceo iucunde; inde. It will be observed that F gave Cei as a genitive to suit vicum, and A made Ceum to agree or stand in apposition with vicum, thus editing the text which M gave in its native corruptness; the copyist of M forms no theory of the meaning of the sentence—an excellent thing in copyists.
It is not necessary to go through any of the passages in which Wesenberg accords the superiority to M over AF: most of them are queried as if to hint that the supremacy is doubtful; and, truth to say, it is hard to see on what principle Wesenberg has classed his examples under one head rather than another. Indeed his list is constructed with extreme carelessness, many passages appearing under two out of the three heads. The three heads being—(1) places where both A and F are superior to M; (2) where either A or F is superior to M; (3) where A and F are inferior : we find classed under both (2) and (3) Att. ï. 6,1; vi. 1, 25; so that in these two passages both A and F are worse than M, yet one of them is better. Again we find classed under (1) and (3) iv. 5, 1: x. 126, 2; so that in these places both A and F are both inferior and superior to M.
To sum up in a few words my opinion on A and F, I believe that Wesenberg has not at all succeeded in shaking the pre-eminence of M. I do not think we know enough about F and A to warrant such confidence as he places in them. Malaspina was
under a great temptation to support his own conjectures by appeals to them, and even he may have found them in a very interpolated state. In reference to an interpolation in F after existimabis in Att. xvi. 15, 3, Malaspina himself says, de quibus quid dicam aliud nisi eas videri mihi Gasparinum (Barzizam, Grammaticum Saec. xv.) redolere qui libris supplere consueverat ex suo. In this Gasparinus may have lain hidden, for all we know, many Bosii. Wesenberg would, I think, have done well to remember two sound maxims given by Orelli in his Historia Critica of the letters (vol. iii. ed 2), nec vero id magno opere nos commovebit, ubi Criticus aliquis Saec. xvi. antiquissimos Codices a se inspectos iactat (p. xvii.) and sic factum est ut ... pendeamus etiam nunc a solo Medico, QUONIAM IS SOLUS PENITUS EST NOTUS.
Except for his theory about the value of A and F, and for some flagrant instances of perverted acuteness (see for instance Ep. xxiv. $1), the edition of Wesenberg would be perhaps the best critical edition of the letters. It is a pity that a groundless theory should mislead one who as a rule shows so many of the highest qualities of a critic.
§ 2. CORRECTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS IN THIS EDITION.
In the following Table I include the most important among my own corrections, and such conjectures of others as are not usually received, but have been adopted by me or mentioned in my notes. I have also mentioned the cases in which I have defended the ms reading against most editors, or have accepted a similar defence made by others. This I have indicated by printing the ms reading in small capitals in its own column, and adding in the last column the name of the editor who has defended the ms reading. In these cases I have recorded the name of the editor who saw the alleged objections to the ms reading, but yet defended that reading; not those who have given the ms reading suspecting no difficulty. When the ms reading is obviously corrupt, I have printed it in italics. When a conjecture of one commentator is based mainly on that of another, I have added in parenthesis the name of the editor on whom the conjecture is based.
Of course my own suggestions must, from the nature of the case, preponderate in this list. Being now put forward for the
first time, they must all come under the category of corrections which have not been generally received into the text. An examination of the penultimate column will show that I have been very cautious in altering the received text, however plausible suggestions of myself or of others might seem.
The contractions used for the names of the editors are the same as those used in the Adn. Crit., except that I indicate myself by the initial T, not by ego, as in Adn. Crit. After the Adn. Crit. will be found an explantion of the abbreviations used in this edition, together with the titles and dates of publication of the various editions consulted. I here add an explanation of the abbreviations used in the following Table :
Alan. = Alanus (Henry Allen, Trin. Coll., Dub.).
quae tunc erit absoluta
sane facile ; eò libenter
quieris . . . commoveris. parta.
quos . . . quod poteris,
summa cura elaborato.