Common Abbreviations

A Guide to Editorial Sigla

All Latin and Greek texts, even those inscribed on stone, began as handwritten copies (often damaged) of lost authorial originals and so contain errors, interpolations, and omissions. Editors use the surviving copies to recreate the original by choosing the variant readings likeliest to be correct and emending doubtful readings by conjecture. Loeb editors use sigla within the text and in notes beneath the text (usually in Latin, by convention) to flag variants and conjectures that significantly affect its translation or interpretation. The following list explains the sigla most frequently encountered; readers interested in more detail should consult the particular editor’s review of the history of the text in the work's introduction.

In continuous text

[ ] or { } words that the editor considers spurious. If the latter is used, the former encloses additional information such as references to other texts
*** missing or indecipherable letters or text
< > words added by the editor
[[ ]] words that the ancient or medieval copyist deleted
( ) parenthetical words / phrases or expanded abbreviations, e.g. M(arcus) Cicero s(alutem) d(ixit)
† † a †word or †words† that the editor considers corrupt but never satisfactorily emended
| or || section or page breaks in texts keyed to reference editions, e.g. Aristotle and Plato

In papyri

[β] or [β or β] mark off parts of the text lost through physical damage
⌊ ⌋ mark off parts of the text lost through physical damage but supplied from another source (thus not conjectural)
` ΄ enclose insertions made by a scribe after he wrote the original line
. . . a dot beneath a letter indicates that the letter is uncertainly deciphered, beneath a blank space that a letter is indecipherable

In textual notes

a.c. before correction
ad at or on, of someone citing a text
add. added
al. or alii or alia others
ante before or preceding
ap(ud) at or within
cett. other manuscripts
cf. or cp. compare
ci. or cj. or conj. conjectured
cod(d). manuscript(s)
corr. corrected
damn. considered corrupt
deest or desunt is / are missing
def. defended
del(evit) deleted
dub. doubtful / doubted
e(x) from or on the basis of
edd. editors
em. emended
exp. deleted
fere in general, virtually
fort. or fors. perhaps
gl. gloss (often a marginal or interlinear explanation that a scribe mistakenly inserted into the text)
γρ. identified as a variant by the scribe himself
h.v. this verse
iam already
marg. or mg. in the margin
ins. inserted
interl. or lin. interlinear
lac(una) a gap in the transmitted text
lect(io) a transmitted reading
ll. or litt. letters
loc. place
ms(s). manuscript(s)
nonnulli some editors
nota notation, e.g. of a speaker in drama
om(m). omit(s)
P(ap). or Π papyrus
p.c. after correction
(in) ras. on top of an erasure
recc. younger manuscripts
rell. the remaining manuscripts
Σ or Schol. scholium (marginal commentary)
ΣA scholium in manuscript A
scripsi(t) I have (he has) written
secl. has considered misplaced
sim. similar(ly)
s.l. above the line
sq(q). following word(s)
suppl. supplied
susp. suspect(ed) to be corrupt
s.v. under the word (in a lexicon) or heading
tent. conjectured tentatively
trai. transferred from one place in the text to another
transp. changed the word or line order
trib. attributed
v(v). verse(s)
vel sim. or something similar
vett. the older manuscripts
vide see or consult
v.l(l). variant reading(s)
vulg(o) commonly, in the ordinary manuscript tradition
: or | separate the variants or conjectures reported
] follows the word(s) printed in the text and separates them from variants and conjectures