From one of the miracle stories of St Nicholas (BHL 6164), appended to John the Deacon. The story so far. St Nicholas has sneaked up on a gang of robbers who have looted a customs-house, which was left under the saint’s protection.
Tunc dixit ad eos Sanctus Nicolaus, “O infelices et miseri, quid agitis? Numquid ignoratis, quoniam ego ipse ibidem eram, quando hoc malum perpetrastis? Nam oculi mei conspexerunt, quando has et illas res abstulistis.” Quantitatem et numerum etiam cunctarum rerum, quae de theloneo abstulerunt, singillatim eis exponens, addidit dicens, …
Then Saint Nicholas said to them, “O unfortunate and wretched ones, what are you doing? Do you not know that I myself was there when you committed this evil? For my eyes saw when you took away these things and those things.” Then he gave the quantity, and also the number of all the things which they had taken from the toll-house, listing one by one to them, saying, , …
He tells them, “All is known!” and they panic and take the stuff back. The Latin text here is what I now think the author wrote.
But I was working from the Falconius edition (1751) here, and when I got to this bit, I was a bit puzzled. Here it is:
Which is a bit weird. How is “quanti autem” the accusative for “exponens”?
Well I happened to have a manuscript open (BNF lat. 989, 10th c.), and I saw this:
That made more sense. “Quantitatem” rather than “Quanti”. The etiam has moved up, so we end up with “etiam &”, a phrase not uncommon in John the Deacon. But the “etiam”‘s do move around in the manuscripts. It’s probably just a copyist error in this particular manuscript.
Next I looked at the Mombritius, the first edition, published before 1480, and I got this:
This confirmed the “quantitatem”, but left the “etiam” alone. Only “numerum” has now become “munerum”, “the quantity and value also of all the stuff…”. Nobody else has “munerum”, so this suggests to me that the Mombritius edition was based on a manuscript in Gothic hand, where such slips can be rather easy…
I do love that cartoon!
Next I opened another manuscript, Wien ONB 416 (12th c.), which belongs to a separate family from the other manuscripts:
Here again we have “Quantitatem & numerum etiam”, rather abbreviated.
Then I looked at the Lippoman edition (1515), and all became clear.
Here is our “Quanti”, as Falconius gives it! And here also is his “autem”, or rather “tatem”!! The silly fool was copying Lippomanus, clearly in a great hurry, and didn’t notice the hyphen. So he gave two words, “Quanti autem”, where the nice clear printed copy before him read “Quantitatem”.
It’s hard to believe that Falconius did this, so I would tend to think that his compositor/typesetter did it. Which means that when Falconius sent his edition to the press, he sent a marked-up copy of Lippomanus to the press, rather than writing out his own copy first.
We get an awful lot of information here about these early editions.
- The editio princeps, Mombritius, ca. 1480, was printed from a manuscript in Gothic hand, and misread.
- The second edition, of Lippomanus, ca. 1515, may have used Mombritius but certainly did not copy it. Instead it gives the manuscript reading.
- The third edition, of Falconius, 1751, was done carelessly and quite possibly by writing changes into a copy of the Lippomanus edition. There was no change at this point, but the typesetter misread the exemplar before him and got it wrong.
That’s rather nice, really. I’ve learned a lot from a little. Once again, I’ve learned not to rely on Falconius.