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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter begins with an overview of the transmission of Plautus's comedies. In late antiquity, a codex with twenty-one plays became the ancestor of the two branches of transmission, (1) the Palatine tradition (with all the medieval manuscripts) and (2) the Ambrosian palimpsest. The second part of the chapter surveys previous studies on the palimpsest, from its discovery by A. Mai, whose aggressive reagents caused it terrible damage, up to the splendid publication of it in Studemund's apographum. Finally, the author's new computer-enhanced attempt to decipher the palimpsest is presented in detail: namely, the use of infrared photos, taken by Fotoscientifica-Parma with computer elaboration, of twelve pages of Cistellaria, followed by further work on the files with the help of specialists at Vienna; then a check of the results with Teresa de Robertis (Florence); ten examples of new readings, partly with photos, emerge. A list of the new readings is appended.

Keywords: transmission of Plautus, Palatine tradition, Ambrosian palimpsest, Mai’s discovery, Studemund’s apographum, Cistellaria, reagents for decipherment, infrared photography, Fotoscientifica—Parma, Teresa de Robertis

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