The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

The Leyden Manuscript of Tacitus

R.H. Martina1

a1 The University of Leeds

From the beginning of the seventeenth century it has generally been held that the second Medicean is the parent of all the other extant manuscripts. In two articles C. W. Mendell has demonstrated that Leidensis B.P.L. 16. B is the manuscript once owned by Rudolphus Agricola (d. 1485) and later by Th. Ryck, whose edition (Lugd. Batav. 1687) makes frequent allusion to its readings. Mendell's attempt to show further that L (= Leidensis) represents a tradition independent of the Medicean has found little support until recently, when E. Koestermann, in the course of preparing the latest Teubner edition of Annals (1960) and Histories (1961) became convinced from his own study of L that Mendell's view—in spite of some arguments of dubious validity—was essentially correct. In an article in Philologus (civ [i960], 92–115) and in the preface to his edition of Histories Koestermann has marshalled the arguments which he believes prove L's independence of the Medicean line of descent. Since the new valuation that Koestermann puts upon L has produced a drastic revision of both text and apparatus criticus in his new editions, it may be worth while to examine the evidence that Koestermann adduces in support of his belief in L's independence.