Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1896-1897

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Egypt Exploration Fund.

disagreement to record alternatives. The other variants, which may bo
regarded rather as corrections, seem to be due to a second (probably
rather later) hand, which however is in type very similar to the first and
with difficulty distinguishable from it. To this second hand I should
attribute the additions in I. 10, III. 3, and the insertion, where it has
occurred, of final v. Possibly II. 22, 43, and III. 2 should be included
in the same class, but this cannot be done with any approach to

So much for the technical preliminaries. We may now pass on to a
brief consideration of the importance for textual criticism of the recovery
of this fragment. In the first place, it contains a few original readings
which may be accepted as distinct improvements upon those of pre-
viously known manuscripts : e.g. the omission of ort at the beginning of
ch. 37, whereby the anacoluthon is removed, and the insertion of ti<s
after otto? in ch. 39. There are, further, some interesting variations of
spelling which are no doubt more consistent with classical Attic
orthography than are our mediaeval versions. But it will be observed
that all these peculiar variants are comparatively slight in character:
there is no case of a really startling difference between the papyrus
and the text to which we are accustomed. And this fact leads directly
to a second reason for attaching especial value to this discovery.
It has been maintained by some critics, and with no little plausibility,
that Thucydides has suffered in a peculiar degree at the hands of scribes
and annotators. Our MSS. have been characterized as utterly bad,
presenting a text which has reached the last stage of corruption. Wo
now possess for the first time sufficient proof that the text of the
historian in the first century a.d. was in essential respects identical with
what has been handed down to us by the MSS. of the middle ages. It
cannot be contended that this fragment is too small to be really con-
clusive, for it fortunately comprises a number of passages where inter-
polation had been suspected. If, therefore, the supposed vitiation took
place at all, it must have been confined to a much shorter period than
could be postulated hitherto. And is it not somewhat remarkable that
the alleged process of accretion and corruption, after proceeding to such
lengths during the first three centuries of transmission, should have
suddenly stopped short, or nearly short, in the fourth ?

This evidence for the text of Thucydides is quite in accordance with
our evidence for those of other classical Greek writers. As the number of
early papyri on which these are represented increases, the clearer does
it become in how small a degree the tradition has suffered since the
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