Specimens of Theocritus.

  • Theocritus
  • [Oxford?]: [n. pr.] 1760


SKU: 4496 Category: Tag:


4to, pp. [8] (numbered [1], 91-94, 94, 93, 42). Stitched as issued, sometime folded horizontally. Toned in places (final page browned), some spots and light soiling, edges a little creased. ‘Thick’ in a small contemporary hand to top corner of first page.


An unrecorded specimen for an unspecified edition of Theocritus, but probably Warton's highly regarded version issued in 1770 by the Clarendon Press. The cover title reads simply 'Specimens of Theocritus' but no other quarto edition of the author was published in Great Britain in the 18th century. The arrangement is unusual: the first page is the section title. The second prints the introduction and first ten lines of Idyll VI, while the third page begins Idyll VI again but prints the first twelve lines, this time without accents. The fourth page follows on from the text on the second, now with a Latin translation at the foot in a single column. The fifth page starts Idyll VI again, printing the first 12 lines (without accents) but omitting the scholiast's introduction, adding instead a Latin translation in two columns. The sixth page is just a Latin translation of the first thirty or so lines, in one column, and the seventh page contains scholia and the eighth variorum notes.
Warton's edition uses a layout similar to that on the third page here, though in the published book Idyll VI appears on p. 31 and other details of typography vary; the type itself is similarly very close but with considerable variation in use of ligatures between the specimen and the published text. On the other hand, Warton's edition also does not include variorium notes and the text of the scholia there is significantly different to the specimen page. The crucial element is that Warton's edition was notable for the absence of accents in its Greek text - testing whether such a change would work may make sense of the variations in this specimen, and the variorum notes may have been cut along with portions of the scholia by the time the edition was in the press. Letters between Toup and Warton indicate that printing was underway as early as May 1768, so this specimen would likely predate that.

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