The late antique edition of Livy by the Nicomachean family

Roger Pearse | 6/22/2019 | Staff
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The vast history Ab urbe condita by Livy was so enormous – well over 100 books – that it was transmitted in collections of 10 books. Most of these “decades” are lost. We possess only the first, third, fourth, and half of the fifth decade.

What is remarkable is that this work of correction, undertaken by the interlinked Symmachan and Nicomachean families, is attested in the colophons of surviving manuscripts of the First Decade. These are well-known to scholars. But it is wonderful to find that we can see an example online at the Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana in Florence, ms. Plutei 63.19, “M” to the editors. This was written sometime before 968 at the Cathedral of Verona. Tweeter GiorgiaV has extracted four pages with examples.

End - Book - VI - Fol138

Here’s the end of book VI (fol.138):


Titi - Livi - Nicomachus - VC - III

Titi Livi Nicomachus VC III prefect urbs emendavi ab urbe cond Victorianus VC. Emendabam Domnis Symmachis Liber VI Explicit.

Nichomachus, 3 times urban prefect, I have corrected the “Ab urbe condita” of Titus Livy. Victorianus, I corrected [it] for the noble Symmachi. Book 6 ends.


And the end of book V:

TITI - LIVI - Nicomachus - Dexter - VC

TITI LIVI Nicomachus Dexter V.C. emendavi ad exemplum parentis mei Clementiani; ab urbe condit. Victorianus VC emendabam domnis simmachis.

Nicomachus Dexter, I corrected against the copy of my Clementian parents; the “Ab urbe condita” of Titus Livy. Victorianus, I corrected [it] for the noble Symmachi.



At the end of book 8:

Emendavi - Nicomachus - F - Lavianus - Titi

Emendavi Nicomachus [F]lavianus Titi Livi ter praef. urb. apud hennam [i.e. terminam] ab urbe conditor. Victorianus VIC [i.e. VC] emendabam domnis Symmachis. lib. VIII. explicit.

I, Nicomachus Flavianus, 3 times urban prefect, have corrected the “Ab urbe condita” of Titus Livy at the end. Victorianus, I amended it for the noble Symmachi. Book 8 ends.

Fol172v - Colophon - Book

Fol.172v has the colophon for book 8.

VC is vir clarissimus, a member of the aristocracy. All these people engaged in textual criticism were...
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