COMMONEST ABBREVIATIONS, SIGNS, ETC.

USED IN THE APPARATUS TO A CLASSICAL TEXT

 

Karl Maurer, (office) 215 Carpenter, (972) 252-5289, (email) filokalos@aol.com

 

 

     When I was in graduate school and first starting to use the apparatus criticus, I could nowhere find any list explaining common abbreviations; often I just had to guess what they meant, and this used to madden me.  So for students I here offer a small list; it is certainly very incomplete, but includes all the abbreviations (etc.) that occur to me.  I include also some whole words, which in textual criticism have a specialized meaning (see e.g. "ex").

     If you cannot find an abbreviation here, you could try "Common Abbreviations in Latin Inscriptions Published in AE 1888-1993" which is online at http://asgle.classics.unc.edu/abbrev/latin/ .  (Only beware -- on that splendid, gigantic list, most abbreviations will be useless, and many misleading.)

       N.B.: when a Latin adj. is neuter -- e.g. 'alia' or  'alterum' -- it normally agrees with neuter 'verba' or 'verbum' that we supply in thought. 

 

dat/ ab + ablative abiud(icavit) abiud(icaverunt)    'judged that (these verses/words) were not written by so-and-so' e.g. 'Euripidi' / ab Euripide abiud. Page'

A B C (etc.) = the signs (sigla) of the "capital MSS", i.e. the most important MSS, usually described in the preface, & identified in a list that precedes the text.  E.g." δέ A B: τε C"   = "the capital MSS A and B have δέ and C has τε.  (" : " separates the readings).   But often a MS (in older editions, any; in recent editions, a rarely used MS, too unimportant to have a siglum) is represented not by a siglum but by an abbreviation of its name, e.g. Laur. = (codex) Laur(entianus), or Vat. 226 = codex Vaticanus 226.

a b c (etc.) = either (a) less important MSS, or else (b) families of MSS.  (In a "family", all its MSS tend to have the same or similar errors; so they seem descended from a common exemplar.)

α β γ (etc.) = (usually) lost "hyparchetypes" (alias "proarchetypes", alias "proexemplars"), i.e. conjectured lost MSS, from which the best ours seem to derive.   So e.g. perhaps A B D descend from α, F M from β -- etc.  (But sometimes--esp. in older editions--these Greek letters are also used for manuscript "families"; or every now and then even -- perversely! -- for extant MSS.  You have to read the editor's preface.)

A1 A2 A3 (etc.) = the main copyist's hand in A, a 2nd hand in A, a 3rd hand in A.  Such a 2nd or 3rd hand is usually that of a corrector; so A2 or A3 is sometimes called Acorr.. 

A1 A2 A3  (etc.)  Subscript numbers usually mean not mere correctors but actual copyists when there were more than one.  I.e. one can discern that A1 copied everything till a certain page; then A2  took over; etc.

Af   Bfm (etc.)  Superscript letters often refer to scholia (i.e. ancient notes on the passage: see below, "Σ"), and often they are named after the MSS in which they appear in their fullest form.  So e.g. "δέ codd.: τε Af" might mean that in this place all the MSS (including A) read δέ, but in A, the f scholia (i.e. the ancient notes which F has in their fullest form) quote our passage and have τε.  (But supersciript letters often have quite other meanings -- you have to read the editor's list of sigla carefully.)

a.c. = ante corr. = ante correctionem = before correction; e.g. "δέ] τε A a.c." means: "all copies (including A) have δέ, but A has τε before correction".

ad  = "at" or "on". Usually used in citing ancient or modern commentary; so e.g. "Porfyrio ad Hor. c.4.29" = "see Porfyrio's commentary on Horace, Ode 4.29; there Porfyrio quotes our passage".

add. = addidit = added (tends to mean the same as "suppl.", on which see below)

addub. = addubitavit = "has doubted"

al = alii or = alibi = elsewhere

alii = others, i.e. (usually) other editors, or other manuscripts.

alii alia = "here some (conjecture) some (words); others, other (words)"--us. written when no conjecture seems right.

alterum τε = "the other τε” = "the second of the two τε 's".  (For example, see under "del."  For its opposite see "prior".)

an / anne...? 'perhaps', introducing the editor's tentative suggestion

ante = before (both in time and space), e.g. "τε ante corr." = τε before correction.

ap. = apud = at.  See "ad"

a.r. = ante rasuram, before erasure.

ca. = circa = about, approximately. 

cens(uit) / cens(uerunt)   'judged/considered'

cf. = confer = compare.  "Cf." is often followed by the number of a passage, in which you will find a usage similar to that which the editor posits here.  (In old editions you sometimes see "cp." = "compare")

ci. = cj. = conj. (q.v.)

cl. is sometimes used instead of coll. for collato

cod(d). = codex (codices) = mss. = manuscripts.  E.g. "τε codd." = all MSS have this, but it seems wrong.  Cf. "emend."

coll. = collato codice (pl. collatis codicibus) = lit. "with that MS collated" (i.e. after collating that MS); or else = collato loco (pl. collatis locis) = lit. "with that reading compared", (i.e. after comparing that place with this one -- for an example, see under "def.").

conj. = conicit (coniecit, conieci) = 'conjectures' ('conjectured', 'I conjecture').  So e.g. "te conj. Wil." = "Wilamowitz conjectured te".  Or e.g. "τε conieci" = "I have conjectured τε" (i.e. "τε is my conjecture").

cont(inuavit) / cont(inuaverunt) (or contin.)  'continued to' e.g. '10-12 El. cont. Smith' = 'Smith continued verses 10-12 to Electra', that is Smith judged that there is not a change of speaker at the beginning of verse 10, but that Electra, who has been speaking up to verse 9, speaks verse 10-12 as well.

cont. = contulit, compared.

corr. = correctio = correction.

deest or pl. desunt = (this word) is missing ([these words] are missing).  E.g. "τε deest L" = τε is missing in L.  (Compare "om."  "Om." is normally used when the modern editor feels certain that the omission was made in error; "deest", when he feels less certain of this.  Deest and desunt are used especially for inscriptions and papyri; see e.g. under "ll.")  'Deest' sometimes indicates that the evidence of a papyrus is unavailable for this letter/word/passage (because the papyrus is damaged or its reading for some other reason illegible)

def. = defendit = defends, or (perf.) has defended.  E.g. "τε def. Hude coll. 7.21.3" = "Hude defends τε here, comparing its use in that passage with its use here."  

del. = delevit = "deleted", or delevi = "I have deleted", e.g. "alterum τε del. Wil." = "Wil. deleted the 2nd τε"

dett. = deteriores (codices) = inferior MSS.

dist. = distinxit = has punctuated.  Often refers to a period; e.g. "post τε dist. Hude" = "Hude punctuates with a full stop after τε."

dub. = dubius = doubtful or dubiter = doubtfully.

e or ex = "from" or "on the basis of".  E.g. "ὅμως ὢν] ὁμοίως Leutsch e schol." = " the MSS have ὅμως ὢν.  Leutsch, unlike us, emends that to ὁμοίως on the basis of the scholium here" (i.e. because the scholium has, or implies, that reading here).  Or e.g. "-βρόντα ] -βρέντα conj. Snell e Pae. 12.9" = "Snell conjectures that -βρόντα , given by the MSS, is a corruption of the very rare form -βρέντα -- which occurs in Paean 12, line 9"

edd. = editores = editors.  edd. vett. = editores veteres = old (usually 15th or 16th-century, and Italian) editors or editions.  So e.g. "alterum τε del. edd.vett." = "earlier editors deleted the 2nd τε".  (These "edd. vett." are sometimes cited because they may have used good MSS now lost.)

em. = emend. = emendavit (emendat) = emended (emends).  Used when all the MSS are plainly wrong (see "codd.").  E.g. in his text an editor prints ... τε..., and in his apparatus says: "τε] δε codd. (emend. Wil.)" = "the best MSS have δε; the τε which I print is an emendation, probably right, by Wilanowitz".

exp. = expunxit: has deleted.

fere   'almost' or 'in general'

fort. or fors. = fortasse or forsan = perhaps; conceivably. (I.e. the editor stresses that he is guessing.)

fr. = fragmentum = fragment

γρ. or gr. = γράφεται (pl. γράφονται) = (lit.) "is written" ("are written") -- applies to variant readings which are labelled as such in the MS itself, usually by this same abbreviation."  So e.g. "δέ] τε γρ. Α2" means that next to δέ, the second hand in A (e.g. a corrector) has written "γρ. τε" (or "τε γράφεται"), meaning that he has seen that variant reading in another MS.  (When the variant is not thus labelled in the MS itself, our apparatus has not  "γρ."but  "v.l.", for which see below.)  Often the nature of these additions is discussed in the modern editor's Preface.

h.v. = hunc versum 'this verse'

iam   'already', usually with the name of a scholar whose emendation is very nearly the same as, or has the same essential virtues as, but was later somewhat improved (e.g. orthographically) by, the emendation of a later scholar (cf. praeeunte below)

i.m. = in margine (see 'marg.')

indic(avit)  indic(averunt) 'indicated', especially of a lacuna, e.g 'post h. v. lac. indic. Smith', Smith marked a lacuna after this verse'

inf. = infra = below.

inf. = inferior = inferior, lower, later; or = infra = below.

init. = initium or ad initium = "near the beginning" (of the line, of the word, etc.)

ins. = inseruit = inserted

inscr. = inscriptum (or -a) = written into

interl. = inter lineas = "this word is interlinear", written between the lines.

i.r. = in rasura (see "ras")

i.t. = in textu = in the text, in the text itself.

lac. = lacuna = lacuna, i.e. a gap in the transmitted text.

lect. = lectio = reading, i.e. (usually) the word(s) that a MS has in this place.

loc. = loco citato = in the passage cited

lit. or in lit. = in litura = "on top of an erasure", or a blot (see "ras.")

ll. = litt. = litterae = letters.  E.g. "desunt ca. 15 ll.", "about 15 letters are missing".

loc. = locum or locus = place (in a work), e.g. "ad locum" = "at (that) place", or loc. coll. = (lit.) "with (that) place compared".

malim ='I would prefer', expressing the editor's at least somewhat tentative preference

m. = manus = hand, i.e. copyist

marg. or mg. = margen = margin.  "τε in mg." = "τε (was written) in the margin".

m.r. = manus recentior = a more recent copyist

ms(s) = manuscripts (no difference between this and "codd.")

mut. = mutavit = has changed

nonnulli = nonnulli editores = some editors

nota  'indication of speaker', in dramatic texts, e.g. 'Chor. trib. A: nulla nota B' = "manuscript A marks this line as the Chorus's but manuscript B does not contain an indication of speaker'

numeri = 'meter'

olim = 'once', of a suggestion later withdrawn, or regarded as superceded, by its author

om. = omittit or omisit = omits or omitted.  E.g. "τε om. A" = τε is missing in A (lit. "A omits τε" -- but probably not deliberately). 

P. (PP.) = Π (pl. ΠΠ)  = Pap. (pl. papp.)  = papyrus.  E.g. "τε P. Berol." = "the Berlin papyrus has τε here", or e.g. "τε P.Oxy. 1356" = the Oxyrrhynchus papyrus 1356 has τε,  or "τε Πcorr " = "in the papyrus τε was written by the corrector".  (Good libraries have editions of all the papyri; and if a reading is important to you, it is sometimes worthwhile to look these up.  For a papyrus is usually an ancient copy of the text, usually 3rd c. B.C. to 3rd c. A.D.; and its modern edition usually has a commentary, in which the editor may give you his expert impression of what that copy is worth generally, and perhaps also offer his own, very acute opinions about the reading in question.)

p.c. = post correctionem = after correction (see under "a.c.").

pler. = plerique = very many or most (editors or MSS).

plur. = plures = most (editors or MSS).

possis 'you could', that is 'you could consider' / 'one might suggest' / 'would be possible', of a tentative suggestion

post = after

pot. qu. = potius quam =; '(is) more likely than', 'rather than' e.g. (re a papyrus reading) "Ν] pot. qu. Λ" = "the letter seems to be a nu, but it is more likely a lambda."  (This abbreviation is often used by Snell.) 

p.r. = post rasuram, after an erasure

praeeunte / praemonente so-and-so 'leading the way / preceding', or 'with prior warning / guidance from' so-and-so, indicating that one scholar's textual suggestion relied importantly on some prior observation, suggestion, warning, or objection by another scholar

prius (or prior) = the earlier (of the two); e.g. "prius τε" = the first τε (for its opposite, see "alterum").

pro = instead of, in place of, e.g. "δε pro τε A" = "A has δε instead of τε".

prob. = (ad)probavit = has agreed, has approved (or = the present participle probante); e.g. "τε coni. Hude prob. Wil." = "Hude conjectured τε ; Wilamowitz agreed" (or abl. 'with Wil. agreeing').

quo servato... = 'retaining which, ...', indicating a reading to be adopted or a suggestion to be considered elsewhere in the passage if one retains the present reading in the text

ras. = in ras. = in rasura = on, on top of, an erasure, e.g. "τε in ras. A" = "A has τε (written) over an erasure".

recc. = recentiores, lit. "later (MSS)".  For Latin MSS this usually means 15th, 16th-century Italian; for Gk. it means late Byzantine.  The recc. are usually derivative (all copied from copies of the capital MSS), yet sometimes they alone preserve some ancient readings, which they got by collation (i.e. they took readings from good ancient MSS now lost).

recte = rightly.  Usually used when the editor is citing someone else's conjecture, which he thinks right.

rell. = reliqui = the other (MSS), the remaining (MSS)

s. = saec. = saeculum = century.

sc. = scil. = scilicet = no doubt, certainly.

schol. (pl. scholl.) = scholium (scholia), or (sometimes) scholiast.  (See below under Σ). 

scripsi = "I have written"; e.g. "τε scripsi: de codd." -- i.e. "τε is my emendation; the MSS have δε “.

secl. = seclusit = has bracketed as corrupt (usually, but not always, refers to actual square brackets which an editor has put round a corrupt place)

sim. = similia = similar (words); see "vel sim."

s.l. = supra lineam = above the line (in effect, means the same as "s.s.")

sq. = sequens (pl. sequentia) = following; e.g. (a note by Snell, referring to a blank space in line 3 of a papyrus): "3 sq. fort. ς" = "the following letter perhaps is ς."

s.s. = sscr. = suprascr. = suprascriptum (pl. suprascripta) = this word (or words) written above the line.

stat(uit) stat(uerunt) = 'fixed / set up / ordained', usually of a lacuna, cf. indic. above

subscr. = subscriptum (pl. subscripta) = this word (or words) is written below the line.

sup. = supra = above, or superior.

suppl. = supplevit (or supplet) = in effect "supplied".  E.g. in my text I print in diamond brackets a word that the MSS omitted, e.g. "<τε>", and my apparatus says "τε  suppl. Wil." = "τε supplied by Wil."

suprascr. -- see "s.s."

susp(icatus est) = 'suspected' or 'doubted' the authenticity of a reading or passage

s.v. = sub voce = under the word or heading; e.g "τε Suda s.v. Ἀρχέλαος", i.e. the Suda (a Byzantine encyclopedia) has τε where it quotes this passage in its entry for Archelaos.

tent. = tentavit = (lit.) attempted, tried.  "tent." marks a conjecture that  could be right, but is very uncertain.

trai(ecit) trai(ecerunt) ='transferred' a passage to another, specified location in the text

transp. & transt. = transposuit & transtulit = transposed (i.e. changed the word order or line order).

trib(uit) trib(uerunt) ='attributed / ascribed / assigned' to an author, interpolator vel sim., or to a character in a drama

tum ='then', usually introducing a reading that should be adopted or considered as a consequence of the adoption of a reading mentioned previously

v. (pl. vv.) = versus = verse(s).  Often used not for "verse" in our sense but just for a "line" of writing.

vel = or.

vel sim. = vel simile, pl. uel similia (or -es) = "or some similar word(s)"; "or some similar conjecture(s)" (usually applied to mere conjectures that are plainly not worth much).

vett. = veteres (codices | editores | editiones)  = old (MSS | editors | editions)  (See above under "edd.")

vd. = vide = see (imperative).

vid. = videtur = seems; usually in the form "ut vid." = as it seems; apparently.

v.l. (pl. vv.ll.) = varia lectio (variae lectiones) = variant reading(s) in the MSS.  Usually they are rather unimpressive variants that look like mere conjectures, perhaps ancient, perhaps Italian renaissance.  (There is a difference between this and "γρ." on that see "γρ.").

vit. = vita = life, referring to an ancient biography; e.g. "vit. Thuc. 3" referring to the third paragraph of the ancient life of Thucydides.

vox (pl. voces) = word(s).  (In classical Latin, this is the normal word for "word".)

vulg. = vulgo = commonly.  Often refers to the corrupt, and much contaminated, 'vulgate' text of the rennaissance.

X sometimes = Σ.

Σ (pl. ΣΣ) = scholium (pl. scholia), i.e. Hellenistic or Byzantine note(s) on this passage.  Many of these notes originated in ancient commentaries, which were published separately from the text and resembled modern commentaries.  In the early middle ages, they ceased to be copied (so that hardly any survive, except in a few papyrus fragments); but in the early middle ages, many remarks taken from them were written in the margins of the texts themselves.  So modern editors always scrutinize the scholia, because some quote or reflect the text as it was in ancient times, perhaps in a purer state. 

Σabc (Capital Sigmaabc) = the scholion/scholia on this passage in manuscripts A, B, C

:   colon in the apparatus separates different variants and / or conjectures

]   single square bracket in the apparatus separates the reading printed in the text (= usually that given by most MSS) from the variants and conjectures.  For examples, see under "e or ex" and "emend."

~   The 'swung dash' is used by some editors (e.g. Barrett, Diggle) to mean 'but not', e.g. nonne] non A (~Ac) = ms. A has the incorrect non in the text, but this has been corrected in A to nonne

 

S I G N S  I N  T H E  T E X T  I T S E L F

[...]  Square brackets, or in recent editions wavy brackets "{...}", enclose words etc. that an editor thinks should be deleted (see "del.").

[...]    Square brackets in a papyrus text, or in an inscription, enclose places where words have been lost through physical damage.  If this happens in mid-line, editors use "[...]".  If only the end of the line is missing, they use a single bracket "[..."   If the line's beginning is missing, they use "...]"  Within the brackets, often each dot represents one missing letter.

[[...]] Double brackets enclose letters or words deleted by the medieval copyist himself.

(...) Round brackets are used to supplement words abbreviated by the original copyist; e.g. in an inscription: "trib(unus) milit(tum) leg(ionis) III"

<...> diamond brackets enclose words etc. that an editor has added (see "suppl.")

  An obelus (pl. obeli) means that the word(s etc.) is very plainly corrrupt, but the editor cannot see how to emend.  If only one word is corrupt, there is only one obelus, which precedes the word; if two or more words are corrupt, two obeli enclose them.  (Such at least is the rule--but that rule is often broken, especially in older editions, which sometimes dagger several words using only one obelus.)  To dagger words in this way is to "obelize" them.

A dot under a letter (used for papyrus texts, inscriptions) means that  an "a", for example, seems to be an "a", but the traces are very faint and it could conceivably be some other letter.

 

POSTSCRIPT: Why even today is an apparatus usually written in Latin?  Mainly for brevity.  Latin can be made more laconic than any modern language; and over the centuries, the abbreviations themselves have evolved into a sort of sign-language, extremely clear yet of great subtlety.

 

But why should one ever look at the apparatus?  I have known full professors at "major research institutions" who never did, and even in hard places, seemed hostile to all speculations about the text.  But the truth is that every classical text (even the soundest, like that of Vergil, for example) is to some extent a construction by modern editors.  Often, at any given place, each particular MS has actually nothing but gibberish; and modern editors could construct a text only because each seemed to show part of the truth.  And though, on the whole, they often did a splendid job, and arrived at a text that really must be very close to what Thucydides, or Vergil, or Cicero wrote, not one is perfect; and every now and then the lost truth, hidden in the gibberish offered by the MSS, is still recoverable.