Selections from Schröder’s “Titel und Text” – 4

One of the most useful elements of Schröder’s “Titel und Text” is the appendix.  This attempts to work out what words were used by the Romans for “work-title”, “book-title”, “table of contents”, “item in a table of contents”, “chapter”, “title”, and “poem heading”.

I would imagine that Dr Schröder compiled these references by a database search, but if so, it was done well.  It might bear repeating now, since Schröder did her search before 1998.

As it seems increasingly clear that nobody has read Schröder, I will place my own hasty translation of the appendix here.  She gave the quotations only in the original.  I appended existing translations wherever I had them, or thought them important; sadly I ran out of time to do them all.  I also broke up the format, indenting quotations rather than  giving them inline, and placed the footnotes inline as well.

I hope that it will be useful.

Appendix : Notes on the Latin  words for ‘Work- / Book-title’, ‘table of contents’, ‘element in the table of  contents’, / ‘chapter’ ‘title’ / ‘poem heading’.

‘Work title / book title’324

324. See also Moussy, Claude: Les appellations latines des titres de livres, in: Fredouille (Ed.), p. 1-7.

The term “nomen” is used for “title of a work” in Comedy, although at first personal names were used predominantly for titles (see above p.35):

(Plautus, Casina 30) comoediai nomen dare vobis volo; […I wish to give you the name of this comedy;]

(Plautus, Poenulus / The little Carthaginian 50f.) nomen dare vobis volo / Comoediai, 55 nomen iam habetis; […I wish to give you the name of this comedy, the name you already have;]

(Plautus, Asinaria / About the Asses 7) ut sciretis nomen huius fabulae, 10 huic nomen graece Onagost fabulae. [that you may know the name of these fables …  ]

The title of the work is given with the verbs vocare or nominare:

(Plautus, Casina 31 f.) Κληρούμενοι vocatur haec comoedia / graece; [this comedy is called Cleroumenoi in Greek]

(Plautus, Merc. 9) graece haec vocatur Emporos Philemonis;

(Plautus, Poenulus 53); (Ter. Phorm. 25f.) Epidicazomenon quam vocant comoediam / Graeci, Latini Phormionem nominant.

These nomina are sometimes supplemented by apposition, e.g.

(Cicero, Brutus 78), […] cum Thyesten fabulam docuisset,

but they can also be used alone as a matter of course:

(Ter.Andr.9) Menander fecit Andriam et Perinthiam;

(Ter. Haut. 5) sum acturus Hauton timorumenon; (also: Ter.Eun.9);

(Cic. Cato 50) Quam gaudebat bello suo Punico Naevius! Quam Truculento Plautus, quam Pseudolo!

Dialogue names are also used:

(Cic. de orat.3,122) ille in Gorgia Socrates;

or along with the author’s name, e.g.:

(Cicero, De finibus, 2,4) in Phaedro a Platone; [in Plato’s Phaedrus]

(Cicero, De finibus, 2,15) in Timaeo Platonis; [in Plato’s Timaeus]

(Cicero, de orat. 1,47) cuius […] legi Gorgiam.

Nomen is used elsewhere as well, as in Ovid, for example:

(trist. 1,1,109f.) Cetera turba palam titulos ostendet apertos / et sua detecta nomina fronte geret (see below on this) (The rest of the band will display their titles openly, bearing their names on their exposed edges,…)

and later, e.g. Ausonius:

(Technopaegnion, praef., S. 156,15 P.) Libello Technopaegnii nomen dedi.

But mainly nomen is clearly displaced by titulus and inscriptio; for “nomen”, in connection with books, the meaning “name of a work / book title” cannot override the meaning “proper name”, for a title of contents like ‘de titulis’ cannot be a nomen.

Cicero used “scribere de…” to write about a subject, or “liber qui est de…” and so it is not clear whether in each case he refers to the exact title of the work or not:

(Cato 54) Dixi in eo libro, quem de rebus rusticis scripsi; […] Hesiodus […], cum de cultura agri scriberet;

(Tusc. 1,24) evolve diligenter eius eum librum, qui est de animo.

Mention of the title of a work is referenced using inscribitur [it is inscribed] or inscriptioInscribere [to inscribe] is used for name- and content-titles, e.g.

(div.2,1) eo libro, qui est inscriptus Hortensius; [in that book, which is inscribed ‘Hortensius’]

(Tusculan disputations, 1,57) in illo libro, qui inscribitur Menon; [in that book, which is inscribed ‘Menon’]

(de officiis 2,31) Sed de amicitia alio libro dictum est, qui inscribitur Laelius; [But it was written in another book on friendship, which is inscribed ‘Laelius’]

(Cato 59) in eo libro, qui est de tuenda re familiari, qui Oeconomicus inscribitur,

(Letters ad familiares 15,20,1) Oratorem meum (sic enim inscripsi) […]; [my ‘Orator’ (for so I have inscribed it)]

(de natura deorum 1,41) in eo libro, qui inscribitur de Minerva; [in that book, which is inscribed ‘about Minerva’]

(de orat.2,61) deceptus indicibus librorum, quod sunt fere inscripti de rebus notis et inlustribus, de virtute, de iustitia, de honestate, de voluptate.

Inscriptio, with this meaning, is only used rarely by Cicero:

(top. 1) Aristotelis topica […] qua inscriptione commotus […];

(Att. 16,11,4) Quod de inscriptione quaeris [… ] inscriptio plenior de officiis. [If you look for the inscription … the full inscription ‘On duties’]

In comedy vocatur and nominatur are clearly opposite to inscribitur, where the focus is on the written word.325

325 According to LSJ ἐπιγράφω is used for the title of a book in Ath. 11,496; ἐπίγραμμα for the title of a book in Alexis Frg. 135, v.4+10; ἐπιγραγή for the title of a book in Polyb. 3,9,3; Lucian Hist.conscr.30 etc.

The title of the work was written (along with the author’s name, addressee, book number, see above p.20) on a small bit of writing material, in the same way as pages were commonly labelled:

e.g. Cicero Verr. II 2,127 in quibus omnibus <scil. sortibus> esset inscriptum nomen Theomnasti. [(He ordered three lots to be put in), on all of which was written the name of Theomnastus.]

and also the addressee was given above a letter, e.g.:

Att. 6,3,8 Q. Cicero puer legit […] epistulam inscriptam patri suo; (Q. Cicero the younger read … a letter inscribed to his father)

Att. 8,5,2 Tu fasciculum qui est ‘M. Curio’ inscriptus velim eures ad eum perferendum 326.

326 See also Lucian, Parasite, 10 εἴ γε ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς ἄνωθεν ὥσπερ ἔθος
ἐπιγράφομεν, Σίμωνι παρασίτῳ […]. [What if we should address you in due form at the top of our letters as “Simon the Parasite”?!]

Just as for an artwork or Christmas present, the name of the artist (Verr. II 4,93 signum Apollinis […], cuius in femore litteris minutis argenteis nomen Myronis erat inscriptum), the giver (e.g. Verr.II 2,150 inscriptum esse video quandam ex his statuis aratores dedisse), or the addressee (fam. 12,3,1 in statua […] inscripsit ‘parenti optime merito‘), was written on the item as an (informational or artistic) inscription, so would a literary work bear not only the name of the author (Tusc. 1,34 nostri philosophi nonne in iis libris ipsis quos scribunt de contemnenda gloria, sua nomina inscribunt) and the addressee (see above p.23), but also the title.

Inscriptio is common hereafter, and is not displaced by titulus; that the title by itself was as respectable as the old inscribere was already visible.

Nomen is not used by Cicero for the title of something specific, but only in the naming of a genre: (leg. 2,62 cantus cui nomen neniae), and titulus has not yet acquired that meaning (see below).

Ovid formulated in Rem. 1: Legerat huius Amor titulum nomenque libelli. (Love, read the name and title of this book). Henderson states on titulum nomenque (translating it as “the heading and title; the written words that give the title”) that titulus in connection with books in Ovid is always synonymous with index (but see below) but here is used synonymously with inscriptio.327

327. With reference to Ovid, Metamorphoses 9,793, where, however, the word is not used for books but about a titulus (inscription) over munera for a temple.

Pinotti ad loc. sees a hendiadys, because both titulus and nomen are written in the index: 328 “nomen sará qui tutto ciò che è contenuto nell’ intestazione, compreso il titolo dell’opera” [nomen  will be everything contained in the heading, including the title of the work]

328. With reference to Ovid, Pont. 3,6,50 terrebar titulo nominis ipse mei (I was filled with dread by the superscription of my own name) and Res Gestae divi Augusti 20 basilicam […] sub titulo nominis filiorum meorum incohavi. (basilica … to be inscribed with the names of my sons)

Geisler understood this to mean (cited from Pinotti): ‘Love had read the title and (therein) his name (amoris).’ – Against these interpretations, the passage is easier to understand if one considers that both nomen and titulus are included in the meaning already given: the book receives a nomen and this nomen is positioned (among other places) on the titulus (= index, the slip of paper on the outside of the roll): ‘Love read the information on the titulus / index, which (next to the name of the author) contains the name of the book (nomen libelli).  Titulus still here does not have the meaning of “work- or book-title”.  The following passage should be understood similarly:

trist. 1,1, 109f.: Cetera turba palam titulos ostendet apertos / et sua detecta nomina fronte geret. (The rest of the band will display their titles openly, bearing their names on their exposed edges;)

In Ovid, titulus can also mean “book title”, by pars pro toto, (where the name of part of something is used to refer to the whole):

(ars. 3,343) deve tribus libris, titulo quos signat (i.e. the author) Amorum, elige; (or from the three books marked by the title of ‘Loves’)

(Pont. 1,1,17) rebus idem, titulo differt. (in theme the same, in title different)

titulus becomes quite common (without displacing inscriptio), e.g.

(Plin. nat., praef.24) Inscriptionis apud Graecos mira felicitas […] (There is a marvellous neatness in the titles given to books among the Greeks.); (26) me non paenitet nullum festiviorem excogitasse titulum; (For myself, I am not ashamed of not having invented any livelier title)

(Quint, inst. 2,14,4) cum M. Tullius etiam ipsis librorum quos hac de re primum scripserat titulis Graeco nomine utatur, (since Cicero gave a Greek title to the earlier works which he wrote on this subject,)

(Plin.epist.4,14,8) unum illud praedicendum videtur, cogitare me has meas nugas ita inscribere, hendecasyllabi, qui titulus sola metri lege constringitur (I will only therefore promise farther, that I design to call these trifles of mine Hendecasyllables, a title which will cover any sort of poem composed in that measure).

(Plin. epist. 5,6,42) primum ego officium scriptoris existimo, titulum suum legat atque identidem interroget se quid coeperit scribere;  (I hold it the first duty of an author to read his title, and frequently ask himself what he set out to write).

(Fronto, Laudes fumi et pulveris, p.215,6 v.d.H.) Plerique legentium forsan rem de titulo contemnant.

In Cicero titulus appears only with the meaning of ‘title of office’:

(Pis. 19) sustinere […] titulum consulatus;

(Tusc.5,30) quos si titulus hic (scil. sapientis) delectat insignis et pulcher.

The meaning titulus = index belongs to the group of meanings, ‘written pages’, tables, plates, (‘list’, ‘sign’, ‘table’, ‘table of honours’, ‘inscription’, ‘inscription of honour’, ‘grave inscription’), e.g.:

(Prop.3,4,16) titulis oppida capta legam; (I will read the names of captured cities,)

(Prop.4,5,51) quorum titulus per barbara colla pependit; (on whose barbarian necks the salesman’s bill has hung,)

(Horace.carm.4,14,3-5) virtutes in aevom / per titulos memoresque fastus / aeternet; (with titles and memorial plaques, O greatest of princes, wherever the sun shines)

(Liv. 28,46,16) aram condidit dedicavitque cum ingenti rerum ab se gestarum titulo; (he erected an altar and dedicated it together with a great record of his achievements)

(Mart. 10,71,2) brevem titulum marmoris huius; (on this stone’s brief legend) (also Mart. 1,93,4); titulo quod breviore legis; (you read in the shorter inscription)

(Plin.epist.6,10,3) cinerem sine titulo. (without an [grave-]inscription, or a name)

On the titulus / index there may be the author’s name, addressee, book title, or work title (see above p.20), e.g.:

(Ov.Pont.4,13,7) ipse quoque, ut titulum chartae de fronte revellas, / quod sit opus, videor dicere posse, tuum; (I, too, though you should tear the title from the head of your pages, could tell, I think, what work is yours)

(Plin.nat., praef.26) pendenti titulo inscripsisse ut ‘Apelles faciebat’. (with a provisional title such as “Worked on by Apelles”)

Ovid was not content merely to write the genre of the work on the titulus-slip, but gave his book a characteristic name:

(rem. 1) Legerat huius Amor titulum nomenque libelli; (Love, read the name and title of this book)

(trist. 1,1,109f.) Cetera turba palam titulos ostendet apertos / et sua detecta nomina fronte geret. (The rest of the band will display their titles openly, bearing their names on their exposed edges,…)

But in these passages nomen does not stand alone, but next to titulus; nomen by itself with the meaning of ‘a book-title which is not a proper name’ does not seem to establish itself, but titulus can stand alone, and can refer only to the title of the work:

(ars. 3,343) deve tribus libris, titulo quos signat (scil. the author) Amorum, elige; (or from the three books marked by the title of ‘Loves’) 329

329 See Ov. epist. her. 2,73 hoc tua … titulo signetur imago (following the grave inscription).

from which we infer that, as well as the meaning titulus = index, for a roll it may have held the meaning “honorific title”, “fame”.  This is also a familiar use in Ovid’s time, e.g.

(ars 1,692) tu titulos alia Palladis arte petis; (By another art of Pallas, do you seek fame [= titulos])

(met. 10,602) quid facilem titulum superando quaeris inertis; (Why do you seek an easily won renown by conquering sluggish youth?)

(met. 15,855) sic magnus cedit titulis Agamemnonis Atreus. (So does the great Atreus yield in honour to his son, Agamemnon)

Sometimes index assumes this meaning of “work title”:

(Ov. Pont. 1,1,15) invenies, quamvis non est miserabilis index […] (17) rebus idem, titulo differt; (You will find, though the title implies no sorrow, … in theme the same, in title different)

(Gell. 11,16,2) cum… Plutarchi… libri indicem legissemus, qui erat περὶ πολυπραγμοσύνης;

(Suet. Cal. 49,3) reperti sunt duo libelli diverso titulo, alteri gladius, alteri pugio index erat; (among his private papers were found two notebooks with different titles, one called “the sword”, and the other “the dagger”)

(Suet.Claud.38,3) liber editus […], cui index erat μωρῶν ἐπανάστασις, argumentum autem stultitiam neminem fingere. (a book was published, the title of which was ” The Elevation of Fools” and its thesis, that no one feigned folly.)

‘Table of contents’

The phenomenon of a ‘table of contents’ is first discussed without the use of any particular term for it:330

330. For details of the passages quoted, see part II.

(Scribonius Largus, praef. 15) ad quae vitia compositiones exquisitae et aptae sint, subiecimus et numeris notavimus, quo facilius quod quaeretur inveniatur, (First, then, I have added [a list] below of what problems the recipes are calibrated and fitted to, and have numbered it, so that it is easier to find what one seeks.)

(Plin.nat., praef. 33): quid singulis contineretur libris, huic epistulae subiunxi […] (I have appended to this letter what is contained in the individual books), ut quisque desiderabit aliquid, id tantum quaerat et sciat quo loco inveniat (but need only look for the particular point that each of them wants, and will know where to find it).

Different terms – referring, strictly speaking, to the elements of the table rather than the table as a whole – are then experimented with, but none prevails over the rest.

(Colum. 11,3,65) omnium librorum meorum argumenta subieci, ut cum res exegisset, facile reperiripossit, quid in quoque quaerendum; 331(I have added outlines of all my volumes, and when necessary, it will be easy to find what is to be sought in each one)

(Gell. praef. 25) capita rerum, quae cuique commentario insunt, exposuimus hic universa, ut iam statim declaretur, quid quo in libro quaeri invenirique possit. (Summaries of the material to be found in each book of my commentaries I have here placed all together, in order that it may at once be clear what is to be sought and found in every book)

331. See also Suetonius, Augustus 85,2 liber […] cuius et argumentum et titulus est Sicilia. (of which the subject and the title is ‘Sicily’)

Jerome uses tituli, indices, and argumenta side-by-side, when describing his difficulty in organizing material which he wants to make clear:

( Ezech., Book 4, praef.): Vellem… explanationes in Hiezechiel per singulos libros propriis texere prophetiis, et quod vaticinatione coniunctum est nequaquam expositione dividere, ut facilior esset cursus dictantis pariter et legentis; longumque et immensum interpretationis iter certis spatiis separare, ut quasi titulis et indicibus, et, ut proprius loquar, argumentis ostenderem, quid libri singuli continerent. Sed quid faciam, cum aliae prophetiae breves sint, aliae longae, ut saepe necessitate cogamur et plures in unum librum coartare et unam in multos dividere? (I would like … to construct explanations for each set of prophecies in Ezekiel for individual books, both so that the prophecy is in no way divided from the exposition, and so that it is easier to run through, both for dictating and reading; to separate the long and immense road into fixed sections [spatiis], so that I may show, as if with titles and indexes, and, to be accurate, with argumenta, what individual books contain.  But what shall I do when some prophecies are long, and others short, so that often, by necessity I shall be obliged to pack many into one book, and to divide one into many?)

[RP: The preface to book 5 is also interesting: Ne librorum numerus confundatur, et per longa temporum spatia diuisorum inter se uoluminum ordo uitietur, praefatiunculas singulis libris praeposui, ut ex fronte tituli statim lector agnoscat quotus sibi liber legendus et quae nobis prophetia explananda sit. (Lest the number of the books is confounded and, over a long space of time or division, the order of the books is spoiled, I have prefixed small prefaces to individual books, so that the reader will at once know from the start of the titles the number of the book to be read, and which prophecy is to be explained by us.)]

Augustine writes on this:

(retract.2,52,1) adhibitis ad singula numeris, quibus inspectis quid cui loco responderim facile possit adverti; (by consulting the numbers which I have marked for individual topics, may read in the proceedings themselves at the right place whatever he may wish)

in another case, when handling different “quaestiones”, he sticks with the term “quaestiones” for the table of contents:

(retract. 1,26,1 f.) De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus […], sicut interrogabar a fratribus […] adhibitis numeris […] (2) harum quaestionum prima est […];


(retract.2,12,1) adnumeratis eisdem quaestionibus, ita ut quisque legere quod voluerit numeros secutus satis inveniat.

Palladius goes for tituli:

(vet. med.2,1): Ne quid deesset huic operi, armentorum medicinas omnium pecorumque collegi et sub uno libro titulis unamquamque causam designantibus explicare curavi, ipsis verbis Columellae et auctorum suorum, ut, cum necessitas vocaverit, facile remedia causae cogentis occurrant. (So there should be no omissions in this work, I have collected together the medical treatments for all kinds of livestock and farm animals and taken care to lay them out in a single book, with headings designating each and every medical situation, using the very words of Columella and his sources, so that when need arises the remedies for the pressing situation may easily be found.)

The elements of the table of contents are predominantly begun with “de”, so that in form and function they are very similar to the majority of book titles, and so the word ‘tituli’ is
easily transferred and becomes common for “table of contents”.

Capitula becomes used synonymously with tituli (for caput see above, p.104).332

332. On caput and capitula see also Petitmengin, Pierre, Capitula païens et chrétiens, in: Fredouille (ed.), p.491-509, esp. 493-495.

For capitula, τὰ κεφάλαια and caput are also used in the sense of ‘key points, key questions, the main subject’, e.g.

(Plat. leg. 811 a) ἐκ πάνψων κεφάλαια ἐκλέξαντες; (they collect select summaries [of the poets])

Polybius gives in the first two books a summary of previous history ἐπὶ βραχὺ καὶ κεφαλαιωδῶς (after a brief summary) (1,13,1; notes on the brevity of the presentation are common);

(Diodorus Sic. 1,37,1) […] περὶ ὧν ἐν κεφαλαίοις ἐροῦμεν, ἷνα μήτε μακρὰς ποιώμεθα τὰς παρεκβάσεις […];

(Cic.Att. 16,11,4) ut ad me τὰ κεφάλαια mitteret; (to send me an analysis of it)

(Plin.epist. 6,22,2) carptim et κατὰ κεφάλαιον. (but in a summary way, and keeping closely to the articles of the charge)

(Cic.Mil. 53) videamus nunc id, quod caput est;

(Cic. Phil. 2,77) caput autem litterarum sibi cum illa mima posthac nihil futurum;

(Cic. Brut. 164) quibusdam capitibus expositis nec explicatis […] non est oratio, sed quasi capita rerum et orationis commentarium;

(Sidon.epist. 9,9,8) quaesitum volumen invenio produco lectito excerpo maxima ex magnis capita defrustrans. (discovered the volume I sought, dragged it forth in triumph, and began reading away and dismembering it by making lengthy excerpts from the important chapters.) —

(Plin.nat.2,55) breviter atque capitulatim (Now I will briefly and summarily touch on facts).

Capitulum has the meaning ‘important statement (which must be explained)’, e.g.

(Hier.epist.49,17,1f.) inquit apostolus “[…]” Quod capitulum nos sic interpretati sumus […];

(Hier.epist.49,6,1) interpretamur capitulum apostoli “[…]”;

and is connected to the meaning ‘questions to be discussed’, e.g.

(Julianus Pomerius 1, praef.3) Sed iam ipsa capitula, quae utcumque solvenda proposuistis, attexam. Itaque iubetis ut paucis edisseram quae sit vitae contemplativae proprietas et quid inter ipsam et activam vitam intersit […]. Haec sunt nimirum decem, quae a me voluistis enodari capitula […].  (ACW 4 p.14-15)

Finally the meanings of tituli and capitula are exchanged in the table of contents, e.g.:

( Pasch. 11) Indicia vero mirabilis vitae eius huic epistolae coniuncto praelatis capitulis commemoratorio recensita fient ut rogavi libri vestri magisterio clariora; (The testimonies concerning his marvellous life accompany this letter, arranged as a memoir, with a table of chapters prefixed. Grant my request, and let them gain greater fame through your editorial care.)

(Cassiod. inst. 1,1,10) in principiis librorum […] titulos eis credidimus imprimendos; (I thought that the chapter-headings … should be set down at the beginning of each book)

(Cassiod. inst. 1,5,7) Quibus libris iuvante Domino capitula insignire curavimus, ne in tam necessaria lectione, ut saepe dictum est, confusa tyronis novitas linqueretur. (With the Lord’s aid I have taken care to mark the chapter-headings on these books so that in such indispensable reading, as I have often said, the inexperienced beginner may not be left in confusion.)

(Cassiod. hist. 1, praef. 5) ne quemquam res indistincta turbaret, per universum textum huius operis titulos cognoscat appositos, ut suis locis exigere possit quod sub numero conpetenti praedictum esse cognoscit;

(Greg. Tur. Franc. 1, praef.): ab ipso mundi principio libri primi poniretur initium, cuius capitula deursum subieci; (the first book shall begin with the beginning of the world, and I have given its chapters below.)

(Prisc.gramm.II, praef. 4) titulos etiam universi operis per singulos supposui libros, quo facilius quicquid ex his quaeratur, discretis possit locis inveniri.

Also we find breviculus, brevis in use as names for the table of contents, referring to the appearance of the combined contents:

Augustin (epist.Divj. 1A,3,4): quantum autem collegerit viginti duorum librorum conscriptio missus breviculus indicabit; (but how large the collection of 22 books is, the breviculus enclosed will indicate).

Palladius (,2) Pigmentorum quoque omnium brevem redegi, ut apud se paterfamilias omnia ante necessitatem recondat, ne quid desit in tempore. (I have also made a short summary of all the drugs, so that the master can store them all in his house before they are needed, to avoid anything being unavailable when required)

The reason that this did not displace tituli / capitula may be that tituli / capitula could at the same time mean ‘chapter’ (see below).

‘Element in table of contents’ / ‘chapter’

Titulus can also mean ‘Chapter’:

(Pallad. 11,12,9) hoc mense poma condienda sunt atque servanda eo more quo in singulorum titulis continetur, (This month, or as they come ripe, fruits should be preserved and dried by the method covered in the section on each)

(Cassiod. inst. 2, praef 1) nunc tempus est ut aliis Septem titulis saecularium lectionum praesentis libri textum percurrere debeamus. (Now it is time for us to go through the text of the present book that has been arranged according to another seven headings of secular letters;)

The process starts with the use of tituli to mean table of contents,333 as is shown particularly by the following passage:

333. This does not mean, however, that the entries in the table of contents (tituli) also must have appeared as chapter headings (see above, p.99).

(Cassiod. inst. 1,2,10) in libro civitatis Dei septimo decimo, titulo IIII, (St. Augustine in ‘The City of God’, Book 17, titu1us 4)

‘under the numbered element in the table of contents / = in chapter with the number’


(Cassiod. inst. 2,3,22) Scire autem debemus Ioseppum Hebreorum doctissimum in primo libro Antiquitatum, titulo nono, dicere […]. (Josephus, the most learned of the Hebrews, in the first book of his ‘Antiquities’, chapter nine, says)

Capitulum is also used with the same meaning:

(Anon. de mach. bell., praef. 2) [=De rebus bellicis] unde pro ingenii facultate unum capitulum de largitionum utilitate in hoc libello composui.

Here the meaning ‘section’, ‘chapter’ is added, from caput (see above p.104), e.g.

(Gellius 11,10,1) Quod in capite superiore […] diximus […].

Tituli and capitula are synonymous:

(Cassiod. inst. 1,1,7) Sanctus quoque Prosper sedula cura legendus est, qui tres libros totius auctoritatis divinae in centum quinquaginta tribus titulis comprehendit (We ought also to read St Prosper eagerly for he has dealt with the entire divine authority in three books in 153 chapters,) (i.e. ‘153 entries in the table of contents and the same number of chapters’)


(Cassiod. inst. 1,23,1) <sc.Eugippius> ex operibus sancti Augustini valde altissimas quaestiones ac sententias diversasque res deflorans in uno corpore necessaria nimis dispensatione collegit et in trecentis triginta octo capitulis collocavit. (he excerpted from the works of St Augustine profound problems and opinions on a variety of topics that he collected, compiled, and organized into a collection of 338 chapters)

The words tituli and capitula must be examined in each individual case, not only because they are present in modern languages and therefore seem obvious, but because at the same time and at different times they have different meanings in antiquity, in late
antiquity, and in the middle ages, so that misunderstandings can arise very easily.  For example Alcuin wrote in an introductory poem on the bible,

(MG Poet.Aev.Carol.I, Nr.69, 183-186): Quisque legat huius sacrato in corpore libri / lector in ecclesia verba superna Dei / Distinguens sensus, titulos, cola, commata voce / Dicat, ut accentus ore sonare sciat.

We find the following translation of the last verse:334

“…distinguishing the meanings, titles, cola and commata with his voice.”

334.  Ganz, p.56.

In the bibles there are two Capitula-lists, but no titles in the body of the text, where the reader must particularly look for them.  Rather he must look out for the ‘sections’.  – In the following example the glossator has not properly understood tituli.  On Bede’s text:

(De natura rerum liber, praef.v. 1 f.): Naturas rerum varias, labentis et aevi / Perstrinxi titulis, tempora lata, citis,…

we find the gloss:335

Titulis, id est, praefatiunculis ita inchoantibus: De quadrifario Dei opere, etc.

335. There we also find the following gloss: Titulus autem dicitur a Titane, id est sole, quia sicut sol sua praesentia mundum illuminat, ita et titulus sequentem paginam illustrat; nam si titulum frontis eraseris, muta pagina remanebit, ut ait quidam: Titulum frontis erade, ut muta sit pagina […].

Although we do indeed find such summaries of content, in the text quoted we must understand ‘section’, ‘chapter’; see also the following passage from Alcuin:

(MG Poet. Med. I, S.207, Vita Sancti Willibrordi, pr. 4) percurrens titulis inclyta gesta citis;

this also (as far as can be seen in the edition) precedes a numbered table of contents, and in the poem the chapters are numbered.

‘Heading’ / ‘Poem heading’

The first indication of a heading (the name of an addressee) appears in Vergil in the text of the Bucolica:

(buc.6,11f.) nec Phoebo gratior ulla est / quam sibi quae Vari praescripsit pagina nomen.

In the Xenia or Apophoreta, Martial names the labels for each object written over each epigram as lemmata or, synonymously, tituli:

(Mart. 14,2,3f.) Lemmata si quaeris cur sint adscripta, docebo: / Ut, si malueris, lemmata sola legas.

Lemma also has the meaning of “theme for a poem”:

(Mart. 11,42,1 f.) Vivida cum poscas epigrammata, mortua ponis / Lemmata;

(Mart. 10,59,1 f.) Consumpta est uno si lemmate pagina, transis, / Et breviora tibi, non meliora placent,

(Plin.epist. 4,27,3) lemma sibi sumpsit, quod ego interdum versibus ludo.  Atque adeo iudicii mei te iudicem faciam, si mihi ex hoc ipso lemmate secundus versus occurrerit. (For he has taken for a theme, that I sometimes amuse myself with writing verses. If I can remember the second line of this epigram…)

But the meaning “poem heading” for lemma has no further success.336

336.  It is occasionally used this way in late antique authors:

(Auson. Parentalia, praef.S.28,3 P.): aliquotiens fortasse lectorem solum lemma sollicitat tituli [see apparatus], ut festivitate persuasus et ineptiam ferre contentus sit. hoc opusculum nec materia amoenum est nec appellatione iucundum;

(Sidon.epist. 8,9,3) interim tu videris, quam tibi sit epigrammatis flagitati lemma placiturum.

The information in the relevant article ‘Lemma’ in the “Historischen Wörterbuch zur Philosophie” [Historical dictionary of philosophy] (Ritter/Gründer) gives the impression of frequent use in the sense of ‘heading’ and ‘title’.

Martial’s variant, titulus, appears (as also in Ovid, rem. 1, see above p.321) in conjunction with nomen:

(Mart. 13,3,7) Addita per titulos sua nomina rebus habebis.

Titulus is generally used for heading, e.g.:

(Gaius inst.4,46) ceterae quoque formulae, quae sub titulo De in ius vocando propositae sunt […];

(Suet.Tib. 70,2) composuit et Carmen lyricum, cuius est titulus conquestio de morte L. Caesaris;

(Hier. tract. in psalm. I, p. 19,1, zu Psalm 7): Singulis rebus inponuntur nomina, ut ex nominibus et res cognoscantur: sie et psalmi titulis praenotati sunt, ut ex titulis intellegantur et psalmi;

(Prosper, epigr., praef.3-6) Quosdam ceu prato libuit decerpere flores / distinetisque ipsos texere versiculis, / ut proprias canerent epigrammata singula causas / et pars quaeque suo congrueret titulo;

(Luxur. 287 R.) 13: <scil. versus> discretos titulis quibus tenentur.

Rubrica in antiquity and late antiquity is not a word in competition with titulus.  Only in
connection with laws is there mention of the red colour of headings:

(Quint, inst. 12,3,11) alii se ad album ac rubricas transtulerunt et formularii vel […] legulei quidam esse maluerunt, (Some of these transfer their attention to the praetor’s edicts or the civil law, and have preferred to become specialists in formulae, or legalists, as Cicero calls them)

(Pers. 5,89f.) cur mihi non liceat, iussit quodeumque voluntas, excepto siquid Masuri rubrica vetabit?

See Kissel ad loc.;

(Juv. 14,192f.) causas age, perlege rubras / maiorum leges (mit perlege rubras: rubricas iuris);

(Prud. c. Symm. 2,461 f.) dicant cur condita sit lex I bis sex in tabulis aut cur rubrica minetur […].

On bronze legal tablets (Lex Malacitana and Lex Salpensana) the abbreviation R(ubrica) is used to indicate which portions should be coloured as a heading.  This abbreviation can be found in papyri with legal content (e.g. P.Oxy. 1814, 6th c., Cod.Just.), in the Florence Gaius fragment following the text of a heading (see Nelson, p.27), and rarely in manuscripts containing collections of poetry, especially in the mss. of Tibullus, all descended from a single lost exemplar; I have also seen it in 8212 (Horace, 12th c.).

In the Church Fathers superscriptio is also found for the headings of the Psalms (e.g. Hilarius psalm.instr.3; in psalm.passim); superscriptionum tituli (Hilarius, in psalm. 55,1).


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