Thursday, March 7, 2019


Response: Osmond and Ulery on Malloch on Osmond and Ulery, Bolton, Edmund: Averrunci or the Skowrers. Response to 2019.02.19

Response by Patricia J. Osmond and Robert W. Ulery (;

Version at BMCR home site

We thank Prof. Malloch for his comprehensive review of our edition and perceptive comments. Following are a few responses to points he raised.

Regarding Bolton's likely use of the Paris 1608 edition of Tacitus and Velleius, our judgment was based on evidence from his notebook (London, Harley ms. 6521), in which the text of passages quoted from the Annals and their page references agree, as far as we have compared them, with those of the 1608 edition, as do the same passages in The Skowrers. The choice of Loeb editions for the references to classical literature was out of consideration for a wide readership such as that of the Renaissance English Text Society, who would benefit from an accessible bilingual edition for further study of particular passages. But this should, as Malloch notes, have been accompanied with more careful attention to the Latin text in passages where there are problems of transmission. In the passage he cites (Ann. 4.33, on Bolton's p. 71), it is notable how much Bolton resorts to alternatives in his English rendering of Tacitean brevitas: sic converso statu neque alia rerum < > quam si unus imperitet becoming "things turning counter, or from the way in which they had been, there was not otherwise any being, or subsistance for them, then as one did rule, or imperiallie govern all"; but of course he had translated part of the passage more closely, and presumably from the text as emended by Lipsius, on the previous page: neque alia re Rom<ana> quam si unus imperitet becoming "that the Roman affaires could not subsist, but by the authoritie of a Prince"; one could in fact argue that in the first instance "for them" is intended to translate Lipsius' conjectured Romana. We agree that this is more of a loose attempt to render this faulty text than it is a slight misunderstanding of it. As Malloch notes, both the transmitted text with alia rerum and Lipsius' emendation alia re Rom<ana> were available in the 1608 edition.

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