Saturday, July 04, 2015


The Dead Hand of the Commentary

Holt N. Parker, "A Curiously Persistent Error: Satyricon 43.4," Classical Philology 89.2 (April, 1994) 162-166 (at 166):
Such is the power of the dead hand of the commentary. A suggestion first put forward in 1665 has been copied from book to book. It has caused subsequent generations to misread the sentence before them. It has caused them to ignore the facts that no other example of the accusative of price could be found for three hundred years and that the ablative and genitive of price were in use by other vulgar characters in the Satyricon. The persistent error over this little phrase serves as a reminder to read the text before the commentary.

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