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AN editor whose knowledge of MSS. is almost entirely at second-hand owes some apology, at least to himself, for discussing questions of text; but he can hardly avoid such discussion. Even if he chooses an existing text as his guide throughout, he must by his choice virtually take a side in many intricate questions, and he does so in the way which is the least instructive to his reader, by appearing to settle without discussion questions which are really open. Happily the text of Horace is one in which, if some points must always remain in uncertainty, the uncertainty is of a very bearable kind. The worst result of a bad judgment will usually be only to prefer the least probable of two readings, either of which has much to say for itself, makes good sense, and has been supported by great scholars.

It will be seen that the MSS. of Horace, though very numerous, are not very ancient. There are none, like the uncial MSS. of Virgil, of palmary authority. There are a considerable number which are placed between the end of the 9th and 10th centuries; only one now extant which belongs undoubtedly to the 9th. In addition to these, we have the testimony of Cruquius (see below), at whatever value it is to be rated, to the readings of a MS. probably some two centuries earlier, and we have Scholia which are generally believed to date, at least in their original form, from the 3rd to the 5th century.

Occasionally, where doubt hangs over the form of some salient expression in Horace, we find light thrown upon it by more or less certain imitations of it in Ovid, or in the later Roman poets. Lastly,

we have numerous quotations, chiefly in the grammatical authors. of the first five centuries. These are rarely of any very high value; partly because quotations seem often to be made from memory, partly because the quotation is most commonly made for some metrical or grammatical reason which is not affected by the special word or form in respect of which the doubt exists, and therefore the testimony to the reading is not in truth older than the MSS. (not usually very ancient) of the grammatical author himself.

So far, then, as external testimony goes, it is clear that when a disputed reading occurs, the evidence to which we can appeal to determine it contains in every department some elements of uncertainty, and is not likely to be rated at the same relative value by all critics. Can the MSS. be made, by any process of comparison, to testify, through common readings, to sources of evidence older than themselves, older even than the Scholia? Has the value of any special MS. been unduly estimated? Is a particular Scholium genuine, or is it an interpolation to suit a late MS. reading? There will remain these and other previous questions upon which perfect agreement cannot always be obtained; and, in default of such agreement, an editor or a reader who approaches questions of text on this side, confessedly with only second-hand knowledge, can hardly form his judgments too modestly. It must not be supposed, however, that the criticism of Horace's text, any more than the criticism of other classical texts, turns by any means entirely upon the testimony of MSS. or Scholia. However far these carry us back, they leave us, on the one hand, with the certainty that varieties of reading existed, and that emendation on grammatical or other grounds had been at work, still earlier; and, on the other hand, they leave, if not very many blots which modern criticism has unanimously recognised and corrected, yet enough of these1 to make us feel that when the question lies between an i or an e, an e or an a, one or other expansion of an ambiguous abbreviation, and the like, MS. testimony cannot be held to settle it absolutely, without any appeal to grammar or sense. We must add that in the majority of really doubtful readings no theory with respect to the

Such as 'ter' in Epod. 4. 8, hic ut Mucius illi' in Epp. 2. 2. 89, which no editor would retain, though they are the unanimous reading of the MSS. The mistakes in proper names are notorious; e. g. the Scholiasts, by their quotation from Homer, show that they had the right name in Od. 3. 20. 15, Epod. 15.


22, but all the MSS. have Nereus,' 'Nerea. The certain form 'Alyattei,' in Od. 3. 16. 41, has had to be restored by modern scholars, the MSS. being utterly at sea, 'halyalyti,'' aliat thii,' etc. The unmetrical 'tricenis' in Od. 2. 14. 5, has overwhelming MS. support.

external testimony will elicit other than an ambiguous answer from it. In these, if to the end we must give full room to doubt, we can hardly help balancing in our minds the fitness on other grounds of the rival claimants.


1. As has been already said, no MS. of Horace is known to be in existence older than the 9th century. We have, however, in the edition of Cruquius (Antwerp, 1578), frequent testimony to the readings of at least one MS. of greater antiquity, the one, namely, which is known as the 'Vetus Blandinius.' In preparing his edition, Cruquius had the benefit of consulting four MSS. then extant in the Benedictine abbey of S. Peter, 'in monte Blandinio' (Blankenberg), near Ghent. These MSS. all perished, as he tells us (see his note on the Inscription to Sat. B. I, p. 308 of his Edition), in the sack of the abbey by a mob of 'iconoclasts,' in the outbreak of 1566. His own estimate of their date puts them all as early as the 9th century. One whose loss he specially laments, he distinguishes throughout from the rest as 'vetustissimus.' This is the MS. referred to in most editions as V.

The general opinion of Horatian scholars, from Bentley onwards, has attached the very highest value to Cruquius' MS. Keller and Holder, as will be seen, set less store by it. Its readings correspond very largely with those of B (the old Bernese MS: see below) where that is extant, and in the Satires and Epistles it is followed most closely (especially in the famous variation Sat. 1. 6. 126 campum lusumque trigonem,' where, with this one exception, it stands absolutely alone) by a Gotha MS. of the 15th century, known as g. That it was not free from interpolation, especially in the Odes, is allowed by those who rate it most highly; see e. g. Od. 4. 2. 6, where it reads cum. . saliere,' 4. 6. 21 'flexus.' In such a case as that noticed in Sat. 1. 6. 126, there seem only three theories possible; unless, with Ritter, we can suppose that we have actually a devrépa Opovrís of the poet, we must imagine a blotted half-line deliberately filled up either in V (or its original), or in some one archetype to which all the other MSS, and the copies which were interpreted in the Scholia, owe their reading.

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2. The oldest Bernese MS.1 (363 in the Public Library) was first used by Orelli in forming his text, and has since been re-collated

1 An interesting account of the history of this and of several other of the

older MSS. of Horace is given by Ritter in the Prolegomena to his edition. This

by Ritter for his edition, and by Usener for Keller and Holder. It is assigned by Ritter and by Usener to the 9th century. It forms part of a quarto volume, which contains also Servius' Commentary on Virgil, two Treatises on Rhetoric, Bede's History, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is imperfect, omitting all the Epistles and the Satires, with the exception of the first two and part of the third of Book I, besides large portions of the Odes. The Odes are not arranged in their usual order, the copyist having apparently started with the intention of an arrangement according to metres, for he begins with nineteen Sapphic Odes. These follow the common order, though the distinction of Books is not marked. They are succeeded by some of the Epodes, then by the Carm. Sec., then by the remaining Odes and Epodes, also in their usual order. The Ars Poet. 1-440 follows the Epodes, then Sat. 1. 1, 2 and part of 3. The omissions in the Odes and Epodes are as follows:-of whole Odes in Book I, Odes 3-7, 9, 11, 33 and 34; in Book III, Ode 3; and of Book IV, Odes 3 and 15, besides parts of twenty-one more Odes and Epodes, viz. Odes 1. 10. 14, I. 15. 20–32, 1. 16. 15–28, 1. 17. 15, 16, 1. 19. 11–13 and 15, I. 29. 7-16, 2. 7. 19–28, 2. 17. 7-9, 3. 2. 2, 5-12, 17-32, 3. 4. 17-28, 39-52, 3. 6. 11-13, 15-48, 3. 16. 7–27, 29-44, 3. 22. 5-8, 3. 23.12-20, 3. 24. 30-64, 4. 14. 5-52; Epodes 2. 37-70, 3. 9-22, 9. 13-38, 11. 13-28.

3. Of the 10th century the following MSS. have been collated for Keller's edition :


A. Paris, 7900. This has been held by Otto Jahn and others to belong to the century before. With it Holder closely connects (a) a MS. known as a, formerly belonging to Avignon, now in the Ambrosian Library at Milan (No. 136), which he has collated for the Satires and Epistles. I had the opportunity of inspecting it for a few hours, and have taken account of its readings in some of the more disputed passages in the Odes. Paris, 7971, like the old Bernese, a relic of the Fleury Library.

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MS. was originally in the Abbey of St. Benoit sur Loire, at Fleury near Orleans. When the abbey was sacked.by the Protestants in the Civil War in 1562, the MSS, in which it was rich, were saved, and found a home in the library of Pierre Daniel, an avocat' and literary man of Orleans, and bailli' of the abbey At his death his books were divided between two friends and fellow-townsmen, Paul

Petau and Jaques Bongars. The latter of the two died at Paris in 1612, and left his library, including his share of the Fleury MSS, to René de Graviset, a jeweller of Strasburg. De Graviset migrated subsequently to Switzerland, and his son became a leading citizen of Bern, founded a public library there, and placed in it his books, amongst them this MS.

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