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It is more easy, perhaps, to account for the neglect, of which we speak, from the want of a suitable and convenient edition, than it is for the existence of such a desideratum. Now that the attention of
. English students is becoming more and more drawn to these primitive records of Christian Theology, and an increasing interest is manifested in them, the fulfilment of such a requirement will probably be more acceptable than it would have been some years ago. I think, we may safely conclude that, regarded as a mere literary composition, the pure Latinity of the Octavius, reminding us perhaps, more than any other Ecclesiastical writing, of the golden days of Latin Prose, will serve to make any attempt at illustrating it welcome to the classical Scholar, while its attractive form will secure for it the attention of the general reader. But the Theological Student will see that it possesses still further and higher claims to his attention : for besides these acknowledged merits, it has the advantage of containing an admirably clear and condensed Summary of the arguments for and against Christianity, which were current in
tra nos negatum eant, e re scholarum fore et Christianorum, si amotis impudicis libris, et amorum fabulis illecebrosis, sæculares auctores optimi retineantur, iisque ex ecclesia jungantur qui purioris sermonis
amantes, elegantia non minus rem
illius imitatorem com-
the beginning of the third Century: and therefore it serves as an excellent introduction to the study of the writings of the other Apologists both Greek and Latin.
But, taking for granted the superior value of this dialogue, additional testimony to which, if needed, might easily be adduced, I proceed to offer a few remarks on the plan which has been pursued by me in the present edition.
It is unfortunate that there is only one known MS. of Minucius extant. This is now in the Bibliothèque du Roi at Paris, where, by the kind permission and assistance of M. Hase, Keeper of the MSS., I made a careful examination of it; a task rendered necessary by the variance existing between the collations hitherto made. Further observations on this MS. are reserved for the Introduction. I have now only to say that in my text I have adhered as closely as was possible to it, except in the matter of orthography. In the few passages which seemed to bid defiance to all construing, I have substituted such conjectural emendations, as appeared most probable; in others, to
captu adolescentiæ videatur, Mi. NUCIUM FELICEM, nihil Lactantio nitore stili concedentem, argumento parem, brevitate multum complexa juventuti gratiorem, quæ brevia sectetur, ne longitudine et copia ætati
nondum confirmatæ aliquod tædium suboriatur."
Ernesti, in his Preface to Lind. ner's edition, writes in a similar strain.
which some meaning, though doubtful, could be attached, I have contented myself with mentioning various readings and critical suggestions in the notes, my desire being to avoid as much as possible tampering with the text of my author, which, I believe, is not so corrupt as previous Editors assume it to be. For, as Schönemann justly observes, 'tot emendatores nactus est Octavius, quam editores.'
The Commentary is intended to explain the text; but, as this Edition is designed for the use of younger as well as more advanced students, I have not omitted to explain the most obvious allusions, historical, mythological or others, besides elucidating the construction where difficult, and occasionally remarking upon verbal or phraseological peculiarities.
But my main object has been to give assistance to the reader by copious illustration from authors of the nearest age, or of the same country and profession, from the Greek Apologists, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Origen, as well as from the Latin writers Cyprian, Arnobius, Augustine, and Lactantius; more especially from Tertullian, whose Apologetic treatise is in itself a commentary upon our dialogue.
2 Bibliotheca Historico-Literaria Patrum Latinorum, Vol. 1. p. 63.
Mere references to the most ordinary authors are too often neglected by students: and perhaps more so in the case of writers not easily accessible. I have taken care therefore to give the more important citations in full.
To conclude with one more remark concerning the notes. There is preserved in the Library of the British Museum a copy of the Variorum Edition by Ouzelius, published in 1672, with marginal and other observations by JAMES GRONOVIUS. Many of these are mere rough sketches of notes, subsequently expanded in his own edition. The most important of them are noted down in the present edition, enclosed between brackets, and distinguished by the letters J. GR.
I do not wish to conceal, therefore acknowledge once for all, whatever obligations I owe to the labours of preceding Editors and Commentators, whose quotations, I may be allowed to state, I have
I not appropriated without a faithful verification of them.
Further aids to the student are given in the Dissertation of the celebrated Jurist Baudouin on the Age of Minucius, whose authorship of this Dialogue he was the first to discover, as will be seen hereafter; in the Analysis Logica drawn up by Lindner and prefixed to his scarce and valuable edition; in my own marginal Analysis, and in the copious Indices which will be found occasionally to supply the deficiencies and correct the oversights that occur in the foot-notes.
Concerning the Treatise of Cyprian de Vanitate Idolorum, which, being for the most part an abridged transcript of the Octavius, forms a proper Appendix to it, little is known either of the persons to whom it was addressed or of the occasion which called it forth. The text, wbich I have given, is that of Routh with very few alterations. The marginal numbers refer to the corresponding chapters in Minucius.
Η. Α. Η.
1852, November 18.