Epictetus, Discourses, Books 1-2

LCL 131: xxxii-xxxiii

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The editio princes of Epictetus was prepared by Victor Trincavelli at Venice, in 1535, from a singularly faulty MS., so that it is valueless for the purposes of textual criticism. The first substantial work of a critical character was done by Jacob Schegk, a distinguished professor of medicine at Tübingen, in the edition of Basel, 1554. Although few changes were made in the Greek text, Schegk employed his admirable Latin version as a medium for the correction of hundreds of passages. Even greater were the services of Hieronymus Wolf, whose edition, with translation and commentary, Basel, 1560, is perhaps the most important landmark in Epictetean studies, but for some reason failed to influence markedly the common tradition, which long thereafter continued to reproduce the inferior Greek text of Schegk (Trincavelli).

The next advance is connected with the name of John Upton, whose work appeared in parts, London, 1739–41. Upton had some knowledge of a number of MSS., and in particular a “codex,” which was a copy of the Trincavelli edition that contained in the margins numerous readings of a MS. now in Mutina, and possibly other MSS., together with notes and emendations from Wolf, Salmasius, and others, so that one cannot be certain always just what


“authority” is behind any particular reading whose source is otherwise not accounted for. He had, moreover, the annotations of Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, and the assistance of the learned James Harris, and his contributions to the interpretation of Epictetus in the elaborate commentary are numerous. Richard Bentley’s sagacious and often brilliant emendations entered in the margins of his copy of the Trincavelli edition remained unfortunately unknown until quite recently, as also the ingenious and stimulating, but on the whole less carefully considered, annotations of J. J. Reiske (in H. Schenkl’s edition).

Appropriately designated Monumenta (Epicteteae Philosophiae Monumenta) is the great work in five large volumes by Johannes Schweighäuser, Leipzig, 1799–1800, immediately following a notable edition, in fact the only really critical edition, of the Encheiridion (1798), which, despite its imperfections, subsequent editors have been content merely to reprint. Schweighäuser’s work is characterized by acumen, industry, and lucidity, and it will be long before it is entirely superseded. The edition by A. Koraes, Paris, 1826, although its author was a learned and ingenious scholar, is marred by a number of unnecessary rewritings.

A substantial critical edition we owe to the painstaking labours of Heinrich Schenkl (Leipzig, 1894; editio minor, 1898; second edition, 1916). This is based upon the Bodleian MS. Misc. Graec. 251, s. xi/xii, which Schenkl and, it would appear, J. L. G. Mowat before him (Journ. of Philol. 1877, 60 ff.; cf. J. B. Mayor, Cl. Rev. 1895, 31 f., and Schenkl, ed. minor, 1898, p. iv; ed. 1916, p. iv) have shown to be the archetype of all the numerous existing MSS. Of