the 12th century (Φ). This is the sole source of the correct reading in four passages (in 4.1, 4.27, 13.1 ad fin., and 14.31), and while these points do not earn a mention in my limited apparatus, there is a further passage (6.12) where the epitome offers F an extra clause that is worth recording. For further details see Dilts’ paper in Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 96 (1965): 57–72.
In a number of passages I have deviated from Dilts’ text, either in introducing emendations published after his work had gone to press or preferring different solutions to problems indicated in his apparatus criticus.
Though the text presents few if any unintelligible passages, it cannot be said that it is very well preserved. Even chapters which have not been abbreviated are sometimes obscure. Apart from the hazards that affect all ancient texts there were three other factors at work in this case: Aelian’s modest intellectual capacity, the unrevised state of his draft, and not least his use of an archaising language in which he was less at home than he imagined.
Some notes on textual difficulties are therefore a necessity; but the conventions of the Loeb Classical Library require that they should be restricted and not on the scale that one expects to find in an Oxford Classical Text or a Teubner edition. For detailed information the user of this book is referred to Dilts. Nevertheless I have tried to ensure that the reader is not misled into thinking of the Varia Historia as a text without problems. Necessary emendations are recorded in all but trivial cases, and a number of other attractive suggestions have been included if they have a bearing on the meaning of the Greek. In a number of passages it has been possible to trace emendations back
to an earlier source than that recorded in Dilts. As to the so-called “anonymus” of 1733, this is my way of referring to proposals made in a series of articles in the journal Miscellaneae observationes, volumes 2 and 3, and attributed to “Thom. S.,” “D.C.,” and “C.D.” In his 1780 edition C. G. Kühn conjectured that the first of these was Thomas Smith, of whom I can find no other trace.
By way of appendix I have added a few short fragments of text ascribed to Aelian, in all cases except one attributed to the Varia Historia. If such ascriptions are correct, it would appear to follow that the original text extended beyond 14.48 or that in the process of epitomisation some chapters were completely omitted. There is a recent Teubner edition of the fragments by D. Domingo- Forasté (Stuttgart-Leipzig, 1994).
In the notes to the translation sources are mentioned when they are identifiable with certainty or a high degree of probability. But it did not seem feasible to record all the numerous passages in other authors which furnish much the same information or anecdotal material, and I have limited myself to noting a few that are particularly illuminating. Nor have I listed passages in later authors who cite or are dependent upon Aelian.15
In my critical notes Kühn refers to the editor who published his text in 1685, not his more recent namesake. I have abbreviated the names of the three scholars who have contributed most to the improvement of the text: Per(izonius), Kor(ais), and Her(cher).