Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.05.15
A. Moscadi, Il Festo farnesiano (Cod. Neapol. IV.A.3). Studi e Testi 19. Firenze: Università degli Studi di Firenze, 2001. Pp. xxiv, 177. ISBN 0-19-815284-1. L.45,000.
Reviewed by M.H. Crawford, UCL
Word count: 558 words
As a preparation for a new critical edition of the Lexicon of Festus, M. here offers a transcription of the unique, incomplete and damaged manuscript, now Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS IV.A.3. The apparatus indicates differences between what was legible to the scholars on whom Lindsay depended and what is visible in the facsimile of Thewrewk, and what is legible now; also the interventions of correctors of the Farnesianus. The absence of cross-references between related entries makes the volume unnecessarily difficult to use. I do not understand the logic of resolving, e.g., Bacchidib(us), but not p(opulus) R(omanus). There is a brief introduction, which offers some bibliography in passing.
From the comfortable Italy of the end of the twentieth century, M. is extraordinarily rude about Lindsay. Before the days of easy travel, everyone used the witness of a variety of fellow-scholars; of those used by Lindsay, at least Crönert and Loew (Lowe) were superb readers of difficult manuscripts. Nor does M. seem to have grasped that Lindsay's use of <> was perfectly normal for an edition of a literary text of the period; to suggest that Lindsay should have used the conventions in the course of being established for papyri (p. v), is about as sensible as to suggest that Mozart should have solved his financial problems by issuing CDs.
The acid test of an edition, or transcription, however, is its accuracy; I have lived almost daily with my copy of Lindsay's Festus for some thirty years, and it has very, very few pencil corrections. I give some examples of the inadequacy of M.'s transcription.
At Quatern. XV, col. 18, ll. 26-7, M. prints:
Capitoli · coniungi · [S
mine urbis Scaptiae [a
with the 'S' and the 'a' preceded by three vertical dots to show that they are treated as readable by Lindsay but are not visible in the facsimile. The 'S' is in fact visible on the MS, though for prudence' sake it should be underdotted; there is also a perceptible vacat after 'Scaptiae', which makes it unlikely that the 'a' was ever read; I suspect that it was wished into existence in the sixteenth century, because it was thought that the word that followed 'Scaptiae' was 'appellata'. Elsewhere in the same column, contra M., 'i' is perfectly visible in l. 4, part of 's' is visible in l. 23, 'poenae' is visible in l. 24. More seriously, in l. 8, M. prints:
Metellus pont[if]ex[ (with sublinear dots under ]ex[)
What the Farnesianus actually has is 'pont' with a supralineate bar over the 'nt', then nothing before the burnt edge; that is, of course, a perfectly reasonable abbreviation for 'pontifex', which is what Lindsay prints.
At Quatern. XII, col. 17, l. 21, M. transcribes 'antecedent' as 'antecedent', at Quatern. XIII, col. 19 l. 22, he transcribes 'serent' as 'serentur'; in both cases the large 'T', which ends the words, is a quirk at the end of a line, not an abbreviation.
It would also have been useful if M. had taken account of the work of Ribezzo, who had as he says 'codicis saepius versandi copiam', and did substantial work on Quatern. XII, col. 27, and IX, col. 1 (RIGI 2, 1918, 199-202; 6, 1922, 18): R.'s readings should also have appeared in M.'s apparatus.
One could go on; but there is no reason to trust anything M. prints.