Wednesday, October 20, 2004



Last night Mrs. Laudator and I watched a show on the telly about a palimpsest containing Archimedes' Method. L.D. Reynolds and N.G. Wilson, in Scribes and Scholars, 2nd edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), p. 76, define palimpsests as "manuscripts in which the original texts have been washed off to make way for works which at the time were in greater demand." The word comes from Greek palin (again, for a second time) and psestos (scraped, rubbed, from the verb psao).

Technological advances make it somewhat easier these days to recover the original writing from palimpsests. I think it was Wilhelm Studemund in the nineteenth century who ruined his eyesight trying to decipher the Ambrosian palimpsest of Plautus. As I recall, he prefixed the following motto from Catullus (14.1) to his transcription: Ni te plus oculis meis amarem... (Did I not love thee more than my eyes...).

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?