A Sixth-Century Fragment of the Letters of Pliny the Younger
by Elias Avery Lowe and Edward Kennard Rand
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[Footnote 76: P. 33.]

[Footnote 77: P. 30.]

[Sidenote: The Morgan fragment the best criterion of Aldus]

With the discovery of the Morgan fragment, a new criterion of Aldus is offered. I believe that it is the surest starting-point from which to investigate Aldus's relation to his ancient manuscript. I admit that for Book X, Avantius and the Bodleian volume in its added parts are better authorities for the Parisinus than is Aldus. I admit that Aldus resorted throughout the text of the Letters—in some cases unhappily—to the customary editorial privilege of emendation. But I nevertheless maintain that for the entire text he is a much better authority than the Bodleian volume as a whole, and that he should be given, not absolute confidence, but far more confidence than editors have thus far allowed him. Nor is the section of text preserved in the fragment of small significance for our purpose. Indeed, both for Aldus and in general, I think it even more valuable than a corresponding amount of Book X would be. We could wish that it were longer, but at least it includes a number of crucial readings and above all vouches for the existence of the indices some two hundred years before the date previously assigned for their compilation. It also supplies a final confirmation of the value of Class I; indeed, B and F, the manuscripts of this class, appear to have descended from the very manuscript of which {Pi} was a part. We see still more clearly than before that BF can be used elsewhere in the Letters as a test of Aldus, and we also note that these manuscripts contain errors not in the Parisinus. This is a highly important factor for forming a true estimate of Aldus and one that we could not deduce from a fragment of Book X, which BF do not contain.

[Sidenote: Conclusion]

I conclude, then, that the Morgan fragment is a piece of the Parisinus, and that we may compare with Aldus's text the very words which he studied out, carefully collated, and treated with a decent respect. On the basis of the new information furnished us by the fragment, I shall endeavor, at some future time, to confirm my present judgement of Aldus by testing him in the entire text of Pliny's Letters. Further, despite Merrill's researches and his brilliant analysis, I am not convinced that the last word has been spoken on the nature of the transcript made for Budaeus and incorporated in the Bodleian volume. I will not, however, venture on this broad field until Professor Merrill, who has the first right to speak, is enabled to give to the world his long-expected edition. Meanwhile, if my view is right, we owe to the acquisition of the ancient fragment by the Pierpont Morgan Library a new confidence in the integrity of Aldus, a clearer understanding of the history of the Letters in the early Middle Ages, and a surer method of editing their text.


Nos. I-XII. New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, MS. M. 462. A fragment of 12 pages of an uncial manuscript of the early sixth century. The fragment contains Pliny's Letters, Book II, xx. 13—Book III, v. 4. For a detailed description, see above, pp. 3 ff. The entire fragment is here given, very slightly reduced. The exact size of the script is shown in Plate XX.

XIII-XIV. Florence, Laurentian Library MS. Ashburnham R 98, known as Codex Bellovacensis (B) or Riccardianus (R), written in Caroline minuscule of the ninth century. See above, p. 44. Our plates reproduce fols. 9 and 9v (slightly reduced), containing the end of Book II and the beginning of Book III.

XV-XVI. Florence, Laurentian Library MS. San Marco 284, written in Caroline minuscule of the tenth century. See above, pp. 44 f. Our plates reproduce fols. 56v and 57r, containing the end of Book II and the beginning of Book III.

XVII-XVIII. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. L 4. 3. See above, pp. 39 f. The lacuna in Book VIII (216, 27-227, 10 Keil) is indicated by a cross (+) on fol. 136v (plate XVIIa). The missing text is supplied on added leaves by the hand shown on plate XVIIb (= fol. 144). The variants are in the hand of Budaeus. Plate XVIII contains fols. 32v and 33, showing the end of Book II and the beginning of Book III.

XIX. Aldine edition of Pliny's Letters, Venice 1508. Our plate reproduces the end of Book II and the beginning of Book III.

XX. Specimens of three uncial manuscripts:

(a) Berlin, Koenigl. Bibl. Lat. 4 298, circa a. 447.

(b) New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, MS. M. 462, circa a. 500 (exact size).

(c) Fulda, Codex Bonifatianus 1, ante a. 547.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

{Transcriber's Corrections:


Footnote 29: Steffens, Lateinische Palaeographie{2} text reads Palaographie

Oldest group of uncial manuscripts B.5 ...Ueber den Aeltesten... text reads uber den altesten

Oldest group of uncial manuscripts B.9 Les manuscrits latins du Ve au XIIIe siecle conserves... text reads conserves

Footnote 32: Recueil de Fac-similes text reads Receuil


Footnote 28: Briefe des Plinius text reads Plinus }


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