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  • John Sellars (a1)


In the late nineteenth century J.L.G. Mowat published a short note in the Journal of Philology pointing out that in the Bodleian's MS of the Dissertationes of Epictetus there is an ink smudge (on fol. 25r) where all the other MSS have lacunae in several lines, leading to the conclusion that the Bodleian MS is the archetype for all other surviving copies.


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1 Mowat, J.L.G., ‘A lacuna in Arrian’, Journal of Philology 7 (1877), 60–3.

2 See H.O. Coxe, Bodleian Quarto Catalogues I: Greek Manuscripts (Oxford, [1853] 1969), col. 804, no. 251, and F. Madan, A Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (Oxford, 1897), 4.422–3, no. 20531. As well as Epictetus the MS also contains Porphyry's De Vita Pythagorae and the latter is discussed in Rose, V., ‘Porphyrius’, Hermes 5 (1871), 360–70. Rose reports readings from the MS made by Ingram Bywater, 362–8, presented as supplements to Nauck's text of the De Vita Pythagorae in his Porphyrii Philosophi Platonici Opuscula Tria (Leipzig, 1860).

3 The purchase is described in Madan (n. 2), 422. The fifty MSS are described in Coxe (n. 2), cols 774–812.

4 See S. Maffei, Verona Illustrata: Parte Terza (Verona, 1732), cols 241–4. Maffei mentions ‘mille trecento manuscritti’ in col. 242. In cols 242–4 he lists the 80 Greek manuscripts in the collection. ‘Arriano sopra Epitteto’ is no. 59.

5 For further discussion of the Saibante MSS and their fate see E.M. Jeffreys, ‘The Greek manuscripts of the Saibante collection’, in K. Treu (ed.), Studia Codicologica (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 124) (Berlin, 1977), 249–62. The Epictetus MS is discussed at 259 and is no. 59 in Jeffreys’ list. This follows the numeration of Maffei. Of the 30 Greek MSS not acquired by the Bodleian in 1820, Jeffreys traces their current locations where known, and Saibante MSS can now be found in Florence, Paris and London.

6 Jeffreys (n. 5) reports what is known of the provenance.

7 H. Schenkl, Epicteti Dissertationes ab Arriano Digestae (Leipzig, 1894). This editio maior was followed by an editio minor in 1898 and second editions of both were issued in 1916. See W.A. Oldfather, Contributions Toward a Bibliography of Epictetus (Urbana, 1927), 6–7.

8 In the 1916 edition the facsimile plate is mistakenly identified as ‘fol. 52a’ instead of 25a.

9 See the review by J.B. Mayor, CR 9 (1895), 31–7, supplemented with corrections by W.M. Lindsay, ibid., 37–9. Schenkl replied to what he considered to be a grossly unfair review in CR 9 (1895), 231–4, to which Mayor responded in the same issue, 234–5.

10 J. Souilhé, Épictète, Entretiens Livre I (Paris, 1943). A second revised edition was published in 1975. On the status of the Bodleian MS, see lxxii-lxxiii.

11 The occasion for this was a small exhibition of Stoic-related texts, including the Epictetus MS, at the Bodleian Library under the title ‘Stoicism and its Legacy’, displayed at the Proscholium in May-June 2013. Digital images of the MS (along with prints of the same) were made possible by a small grant from the Lorne Thyssen Research Fund of the Ancient World Research Cluster at Wolfson College, Oxford, very gratefully acknowledged here.

12 W.A. Oldfather, Epictetus, The Discourses as Reported by Arrian, the Manual, and Fragments, 2 vols. (London, 1925–8).

13 All of the following observations are by Nigel Wilson, who very generously agreed to examine enlarged images of the MS.

14 In a note Oldfather reports that μωροῖς was ‘supplied by Capps’, presumably Edward Capps (1866–1950), the first American editor of the Loeb Classical Library.

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