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AMONG the minor incidents which attended the revival of learning in Italy, few perhaps are more interesting to scholars than the unexpected discovery at Lodi, in 1422, of a complete manuscript of the rhetorical works of Cicero, its rapid transcription by eager copyists, and its unaccountable disappearance three years later. The news of this discovery in the north of Italy was hailed with delight, even in distant England; but our only record of that delight is to be found in the letters of the distinguished Florentine, Poggio Bracciolini, who was invited to England after the council of Constance by Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, and who despondently lingered, for two years and more, in a land where he failed to find any of our ancient manuscripts, and where the lovers of learning, he complained, were but few in number. More than half a century had elapsed since Petrarch had lamented near the close of his life, that the copies of the de Oratore which he met with, were always imperfect (epistolae rerum senilium xv 1); but the fortunate discoverer and first transcriber of the complete Quintilian could now look forward to copying the Brutus, which had hitherto been quite unknown, and the de Oratore and Orator, which had only been current in a fragmentary form. His delight at the prospect could hardly have been shared by a statesman so absorbed in the affairs of the realm as his host, Henry Beaufort. It would have been more highly appreciated by one who was Beaufort's nephew, and, from this year forward, his unfortunate opponent,-Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, who, it will be remembered, was the earliest benefactor to the library of the University of Oxford. He is also known as the patron of that Italian scholar Lionardo Bruni, whose Latin rendering of the de Corona of Demosthenes, and the corresponding speech of Aeschines, may be seen in the library of the University of Cambridge, printed in place of Cicero's lost translation, in Linacre's copy of the editio princeps of the whole of Cicero (1498). It may be interesting to add that the only mss of the Orator in Cambridge, one in the University Library, and the other in that of St John's, still attest the far-reaching influence of Poggio's scholarship by the emended text which they ultimately owe to the emended copy which he made with his own hand from one of the earliest transcripts of the lost manuscript of Lodi.
To the skill and industry of German printers, settled at first among the Sabine hills, and afterwards established in Rome itself, we are indebted for the editio princeps of the Brutus and Orator (1469); and a copy of that volume, so rare that it was known by name alone to Ernesti, and was never seen by Orelli until after his second edition of the works in question, may be seen in the library of St John's, among the early printed Classics given us by Dr Newcome, about a century and a half ago. Less rare than this, but almost equal to it in interest, is the copy of the earliest commentary on the Orator, printed at Venice in 1492, which is preserved in the library of Trinity College.—It is curious to notice how different from one another, both in their early antecedents and in their latest fortunes, were those who, within the space of fifty years in all, were the first to expound this work in Italy, in Germany and in France. The first was a patrician of Venice, Victor Pisanus, who published some notes from the lectures of Giorgio Valla. Giorgio himself, a younger relation of the far better known Lorenzo Valla, was a writer on medicine and a professor of eloquence, who was imprisoned in 1499 at the instance of Ludovico Sforza, duke of Milan, for expressing his sympathy with the cause of the duke's opponent, Trivulzio, the lieutenant of Louis XII in the French advance upon Milan. Upon resuming his lectures on his release from prison, he was shortly afterwards missed one morning by his class, and was found by two of his devoted pupils, lying dead in his lodgings at his usual hour of lecture'. The next was none other than Melanchthon, whose services to scholarship are sometimes forgotten by those who duly remember him as a reformer of religion. The last was Strebaeus, the worthy tutor of the nephews of
1 Valeriano (1477-1558), de literatorum infelicitate, Venice, 1620; lib, i, p. 43, ed. Amsterdam, 1647.
a French Cardinal, and himself a professor of rhetoric at Rheims, who after a laborious life, in the course of which he produced, among many other works, a Latin translation of the Ethics and the Politics of Aristotle, was compelled near the end of his days to maintain himself as corrector of proofs for the press, and died in poverty about the year 1550. From the story of such unmerited misfortune it is a relief to turn for a moment to two recent names of happier memory in connexion with the Orator,—to Otto Jahn, the accomplished scholar and archaeologist, combining the study of ancient art and modern music, in his marvellous library beside the Rhine ; and to Piderit, expounding Cicero to his school-boys at Hanau on the Main, familiar in the annals of learning as the town where those dauntless explorers of fairy-land and of philology, the brothers Grimm were born, one hundred years ago.
Four centuries have now elapsed since an almost complete collection of Cicero's rhetorical works was printed at Venice (1485); and three since the important edition of the whole of Cicero by Lambinus, was simultaneously reprinted in Lyons and in London (1585). Meanwhile, though much has been done by English scholars for his speeches, his letters, and his philosophical writings, little has been accomplished by them, either in English or in Latin, for his rhetorical works. While, comparatively speaking, considerable attention has been deservedly bestowed on the de Oratore,--the Oxford press having printed a critical edition in 1696, and the Cambridge press the first of four editions by Zachary Pearce in 1716, and the former having recently published the first two books, with an excellent commentary by a Cambridge scholar ;-while the Brutus, again, has reached a third edition at Cambridge across the Atlantic; the Orator, although confessedly a master-piece of rhetorical criticism, has been almost completely neglected. A pocket edition of the text, printed with the Brutus at Glasgow; two reprints, in Oxford and London, of the elementary Latin notes in usum Delphini ; two or three far from adequate translations; a single note in Dobree's Adversaria, and a single article in the Fournal of Philology (both of them on § 160), represent, so far as I am aware, all that has been published in our own country. Yet, in France, within the last twenty years alone, there have been five separate editions, which although almost obtrusively unpretentious in their scope, nevertheless imply a wide appreciation of the value of the work in itself. In Germany, again, not to mention several earlier commentaries, and numbers of dissertations, there are two editions of special excellence, for use in schools, while the single year between the autumn of 1884 and that of 1885 is marked by the appearance of two important critical recensions.
The present edition, which happens to be the first that has been published with an English commentary, is the result of a long delayed endeavour to repair a neglect which has been little deserved. In the autumn of last year when my commentary was already in type, the textual criticism of the Orator, which had remained comparatively dormant since the publication of Kayser's text in 1860, received an important impulse by the publication of a new recension by Heerdegen. The appearance of this work led to my recasting and rewriting my critical notes, disencumbering them of many useless readings recorded by the earlier editors, while retaining the more valuable emendations suggested by recent scholars. But it did not discourage me from carrying out my resolve to examine for myself our oldest manuscript, now in the public library at Avranches. Accordingly, my critical notes include the results of a fresh examination of that ms, while they also record the readings of three early transcripts of the lost ms of Lodi, as collated by Heerdegen. The general accuracy of that collation has been publicly acknowledged by a scholar who has recently been traversing the same ground. I refer to Dr Stangl, who has kindly allowed me to see the proof-sheets of his own recension of the text, and has repeatedly answered my enquiries as to the readings of those of the MSS which he has himself collated. However great may have been the debt, which (as already remarked) was due long ago to German printers settled on Italian soil, it is more than equalled by what the Orator owes at the present day to the learning and patience of German scholars working in Italian libraries,-to Dr Heerdegen of Erlangen and Dr Stangl of Würzburg, whose interest in their investigations, was, if I mistake not, first inspired by the admirable paper on the mediaeval libraries of northern Italy, contributed by Dr Detlefsen of Glückstadt to the philological congress held in 1869 at Kiel, near the northern frontier of Germany.
In the explanatory notes, in the preparation of which I have had before me the editions of Jahn and Piderit, besides constantly consulting other works, I have had regard to the requirements of students, whether at the Universities, or in the highest forms of the Public Schools; but it is hoped that the volume may also prove useful, in some respects, to more advanced scholars. In accordance with the principle dwelt upon in the preface to my first edition of the Bacchae, parallel passages have as a general rule been printed in full, after having been examined and verified, in almost every instance, in their original context. Throughout the work, special attention has been given to the elucidation of the subject-matter, as well as to illustrative quotations from the orators and rhetoricians of Greece and Rome. In the intricate sections on Latin euphony and other cognate topics (SS 149—164), I have followed the example of a careful dissertation by Eckstein, by incorporating in my notes whatever evidence I could find, with the help of Hübner's admirable index, in the truly monumental work of Mommsen which comprises the inscriptions of the Roman republic.
In the year in which the Orator was composed, Cicero, in writing to the most learned of his correspondents, speaks of himself as reconciled once more to his books, which he gratefully describes as his veteres amici. In attempting to edit, at the present day, a work which was originally composed amid such congenial surroundings, I feel that, whatever I may owe to books whether old or new, of which there is good store in Cambridge, I have also much reason to be grateful, for all kinds of help, to those who, in no merely metaphorical sense, are among the most valued of my veteres amici. In the first place, I have to thank the Reverend John E. B. Mayor, Senior Fellow of St John's College and Professor of Latin, for a number of references to parallel passages, and for the loan of many volumes in his extensive library. In the next, I am very deeply indebted to Dr J. S. Reid for going through the proof-sheets of nearly all my critical and explanatory notes, and for contributing many most valuable additions to both. I am also specially obliged to Mr Nixon, Gresham Professor of Rhetoric in London, for similarly favouring me with many interesting and suggestive criticisms, and to Mr Postgate, Professor of Comparative Philology at University College, London, for revising the notes on philological points in the