ON ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS OF THE REPUBLIC BY MICHAEL HASLAM Thanks to the painstaking investigations of Gerard Boter, we now have a meticulous account of the textual tradition of the Republic; it is a big step forward 1). Understandably, it is the medieval manuscripts that get the lion's share of Boter's attention. He does not ignore the pre-medieval manuscripts, but no attempt is made to integrate them within an account of the history of the text. The medieval manuscripts get well over 200 pages, the ancient ones a bare six, trailing as an appendage (chap. 6, The Papyri, pp. 252-7). Of course this is theoretically the wrong way around, but the accidents of survival rob it of paradoxicality. We have only fragments of ancient manuscripts, and to say they are not very sizable fragments would be something of an understatement. What is more, the papyri are upstart accessions to the tradition. It is perhaps inevitable that they should be relegated to adjunct status, and anachronistically viewed against the background of the medieval manuscripts. But it is worth remembering that papyri are manuscripts too, and the only manuscripts that afford us direct access to the text in antiquity. When Boter
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1991
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