conjecture. They are, or should be, quoted in critical editions as the earliest known sources for readings, not as having independent authority.
In the last eight Books, however, the situation is different. Three other MSS, H of the eleventh century and DV of the fifteenth, together represent an independent tradition (χ) of value almost equal to M. For a full account, see the introduction to my Cambridge edition (1977).
The text of this edition is almost the same as my Teubner text (1988), differences being indicated by asterisks in the critical notes. In these I have not particularized the manuscript sources, but rather aimed to give warning where the reading in the text has little or no manuscript support (excluding some too obvious or generally accepted to need mention). The notes in such cases give the transmitted reading followed in parenthesis by the name of the corrector; if that does not follow, ҁ is to be assumed, the comprehensive siglum for inferior MS(S) or early editions(s).
The fullest apparatus criticus is in L. Mendelssohn’s edition of 1893, covering MGRDH and certain fragments, but for most purposes those of W. S. Watt (Oxford Text), myself, or J. Beaujeu (where available) will serve. The last named completed the Budé edition of the correspondence in vols. VI–XI, covering letters dated to 25 March 49 and after. These volumes are valuable not only for their admirable introductions and notes but also for a text which, if containing little in the way of convincing novelties, deserves praise for thorough scholarship and independent, open-minded judgment. I have reviewed the work volume by volume in Gnomon.
The only modern commentary on the entire correspondence
before my Cambridge edition, that of Tyrrell and Purser (1904–33), though highly readable, has not unfairly been described as a mine of honest misinformation.
It has, of course, been impossible here to argue controversial readings and interpretations, or the many difficult problems of dating. The arrangement and numbering of the letters is as in my Cambridge edition: partly chronological, partly by grouping according to correspondent or genre.
The translation that follows has been revised from my translation published as number 1 in the Classical Resources series of the American Philological Association (1988), a takeover from the two-volume edition that appeared in the Penguin Classics series (1978).
Throughout, all dates are b.c. unless otherwise specified.Abbreviations in Critical Notes
- Corr. = Corradus.
- Crat. = Cratander.
- Ern. = Ernesti.
- Gron. = Gronovius.
- Gul. = Gulielmius.
- Lamb. = Lambinus.
- Man. = Manutius.
- Mart. = Martyni-Laguna.
- Mend. = Mendelssohn.
- Or. = Orelli.
- SB = Shackleton Bailey.
- T.–P. = Tyrrell–Purser.
- Vict. = Victorius.
- Wes. = Wesenberg.