FACTS, FANCIES, AND RECOLLECTIONS
Trival, fond records." - Shakspeare.
Literary Discovery. - There has been discovered in the Ambrosian Library, at
Milan, a manuscript copy of the Iliad of Homer, which has singularly attracted
the attention of the learned; first, for its antiquity, which appears to
border on the fourth century; and by sixty pictures in it equally ancient.
We know that the first manuscript upon which all the editions of Homer
have been founded is posterior to the tenth century; the newley discovered on
bears a text more ancient by about six ages.
The characters are square capitals according to the uses of the best
ages, without distinction of words, without accents, or the aspirates; that is
to say, without any sign of the modern greek orthography. The pictures are
upon vellum, and represent the principle circumstances mention in the Iliad.
These pictures being antique and rare, copies of them have been engraved with the
greatess exactness. They are not perfect in the execution; but they possess a
certain degree of merit; for they are curious inasmuch as they present exact
representations of the vestments, the furniture, the usage, the edifices, the
arms, the vessels, the sacrifices, the games, the banquets, and the trades of
the time, with precise characters of the gods and heroes, and other
infallible and numerous marks of their antiquity. M. Angelo MAIO, a Professor of the
Ambrosian College, has caused the manuscript to be printed in one volume, with
the engravings from the pictures, and the numerous scholia attached to the
These new scholia fill more than 36 pages in a large folio; they are
all of a very ancient period, and the greater part of them are by authors
anterior to the Christian era, and to the school of Alexandria. The authors quoted
are 140 in number, whose writings have been lost, or are entirely unknown.
There are among them titles of works which have not come down to us, unedited
fragments of poets and Historians; they quote the most celebrated manuscripts of
Homer, such as the two of Aristarchos, those of Antimachus, of Argolichus, the
common one; in short, all the best of them; but no authorities are so often
quoted as those of Aristarchus, Aristophanes and Zenodotus; that is to say,
the learned men to whom the Poems of Homer are indebted for the most ingenious
corrections. The manuscript, however, does not contain the Iliad entire, but
only the fragments which relate to the pictures.