Marginalizing Homer: An Anomaly in the Venetus A, Iliad 5
Amy Koenig and Annalisa Quinn
While inventorying and creating a digital edition of pages from the Venetus A, we came across this odd bit of marginalia:
ὤμων μεσσηγὺς δια δὲ στήθεσφιν ἔλασσεν
[NB: the image inserted above is linked to an interactive view of folio 63 recto highlighting this area. Click to see the region in a fuller context.]
What at first glance looked like another scholion appears, upon closer inspection, to be the work of the same pen and hand as the original scribe, supplying a line omitted in the main body of the text (5.57). Slightly smaller than the main text, it spans nearly the entire width of the right margin, not confining itself to the area normally reserved for the main scholia.
The line is written in a minuscule script matching the body of the text, although the scribe employs majuscule forms in writing nu, eta, and one delta.
It is possible that the initial omission of the line was due to scribal error, but we could see no obvious reason for such a slip of the eye. (There are already 25 lines in the body of the text, consistent with the number of lines on other pages of the manuscript.) In fact, this line is omitted in a number of medieval manuscripts, such as the Venetus B, as well as in P.Oxy. 223 (3rd century C.E.). An identical line appears at 5.41, earlier on the same page of the Venetus A, and this may have been a reason for scribal or scholarly uncertainty, leading to its marginal placement here.