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deficiencies, in scrutinizing the faults of that period with an exactness out of which no era whatever of ancient history could come scatheless. But, even morally and politically, it is not clear that imperial Rome stood so very still. Mr. Merivale tells us, that “a social transformation was already taking shape' in the reign of Hadrian; and also, that the same sovereign introduced a new idea of government, 'suddenly discarding, even in theory, the
tradition of a Roman municipality as the master and possessor of all the soil of the provinces. That very system itself, slavery, the existence of which is declared, somewhat too broadly, to have 'rendered political freedom and constitutional government impossible, found in the legislation of the empire certain checks and limitations, which no earlier or contemporary ancient pagan government had cared to devise.
The meagreness of authorities and facts on by far the largest portion, if not the whole, of this most interesting period of history, is the great drawback to the usefulness of its study. Any authoritative and sounding theory about its virtues or vices always has a tendency to collapse, and betray the exceeding scantiness of its skeleton of fact. Sometimes even a minute and laborious investigator, as we believe Mr. Merivale to be, may have touched a hidden causeway, as he felt his way along, or have had an instinct of a spark indicating that somewhere the protruding edge of a buried stratum had been caught by the heel of the passing explorer, and thence constructed a hypothesis, but without affording any means of demonstrating its truth, except a reference to his own subtle intuition of it. Thus, it is tantalizing to a student to be told of that bold idea of Hadrian's, already referred to, of governing the world as one homogeneous empire, without any details being adduced in proof of its existence ; or to read that Domitian 'was well
served by his ministers; and the course of our history will show conclusively that, of all the Cæsars, he held himself most free from their control and dictation,' when Mr. Merivale's pages contain scarcely the names of the statesmen, much less any details respecting either their services or the emperor's independence of them. But it is still more tantalizing, when we imagine, from the concurrence of evidence contemporary or nearly so, that at last we have some certainty on which to rest, to be informed, that the very uniformity of testimony shows its rottenness, and that no doubt it is the duty of the judge to ' lean against the weight of testimony so suspiciously har'monious. When the scanty springs of meagre facts are themselves represented as poisoned (for it is by senators, or by the clients of senators, that our history has been entirely written '), we are left to faint of inanition at the threshold of the history
of imperial Rome. When it is stated,
When it is stated, as a sign of the blindness of the contemporary historians, that, “if Vespasian, Trajan,
Hadrian, Antoninus, are the most virtuous, the most able, the most successful of the Cæsars, the secret, as our authorities intimate, of their eminence lay in the favour in which they
held the most august order of the citizens,' what test have we by which, amid the snares alleged to be laid for our credulity by partisanship, we may be able to assure ourselves that the same writers' pictures of the virtues and genius of these great sovereigns are not, equally with the alleged theory as to their source and secret cause, the delusion and snare of inveterate political prejudices ? Possibly, if we are not to rely on the descriptions given by the historians of the age, we may have been quite wrong in our conclusions : Domitian may, then, for all we know, have been an angel of light, the victim of a base faction of oligarchical slanderers; and Trajan and the Antonines servile trucklers to the passions and sordid interests of a corrupt noblesse.
In this poverty of materials for historical composition, Mr. Merivale may at all events find much ground for confidence that his work will not be quickly superseded. For cui bono? No after-writer could hope to surpass the vigour with which he has described the beginning of the fall of the Roman empire, such as our few authorities have portrayed it to us, or the ingenuity of his views on very many topics. It is certainly rather a hopeless theme for any but an antiquarian, when a bust, a coin, or inscription materials, themselves scarcely enough utilized by Mr. Merivale in the dearth of others), has to stand in the place of annalists and biographers. The very facts themselves here are, in a great measure, wanting. It is not merely a question how the lights and shadows are to play about the facts of a life, or the details of a policy, but how and whence the facts and details themselves can be extracted. If Mr. Merivale's theory be true, we must suspend our Tacitus and Suetonius, and all their fellows, till fresh evidence can be brought by which to test the honesty of their narratives ; while from no quarter whatever can we hope that such evidence is forthcoming, or likely to be. Such, at least, seems to be Mr. Merivale's view; and, although it is rather an exaggeration, we believe it to contain too much substantial truth for him to have reason to fear that any one will be tempted soon to reap after him in a field so barren of attainable grain, although, perhaps, for moderns, of all periods of history the most tempting and interesting.
ART. VI. -- 1. Bibliorum Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus.
Auspiciis augustissimis imperatoris Alexandri II. ex tenebris protraxit, in Europam transtulit ad juvandas atque illustrandas sacras litteras edidit CONSTANTINUS TISCHENDORF.
Petropoli. MDCCCLXII. 2. Aus dem heiligen Lande. Von CONSTANTIN TISCHENDORF.
Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1862.
FAITHFUL to his promise, Tischendorf the Indefatigable has brought out his fac-simile edition of the Codex Sinaiticus, in the tenth century from the first rise of the now gigantic Russian empire. In less than three years from the time when the MS. was discovered in the closet of the skeuophylax at the monastery of S. Catherine, it has been printed in a type which rivals Baber's edition of the Septuagint from the Codex Alexandrinus, or Kipling's edition of the Codex Bezæ. This wonderful piece of typography is now before the world, ‘labore multorum annorum intra triennium absoluto,' as the Professor states in his dedication to Alexander II., most august Emperor of all the Russians. The MS. was first discovered February 4, 1859. On February 13, the Professor arrived at Cairo from Mount Sinai; on February 24, the MS. was sent to him at Cairo, and the work of transcription was immediately commenced, with the assistance of two fellow-countrymen, one a doctor of medicine, the other an apothecary. On September 28, 1859, the MS. was finally placed in the hands of the Professor, that he might offer it to the Emperor of Russia. The Professor arrived, with his precious parchments, at S. Petersburgh in November, 1859, and in the following month he went with half of them to Leipzig, where he immediately took measures for printing the MS. in fac-simile. At the end of March, 1860, he again repaired to S. Petersburgh 'per nives septentrionales,' and in May he returned to Leipzig, bringing with him the whole of the MS. except twenty leaves, which were left to be photographed. Not till July, 1860, were the first sheets in the press. The result is four large and handsome volumes,
1 While the work of transcription was going on, it seems that a young Englishman actually made a bid for the document. See • Aus dem heiligen Lande,'
30 Augt. 11 Sept.
the first containing prolegomena, commentary, and twenty-one photo-lithographed plates, the second and third containing portions of the Old Testament and Apocrypha, the fourth containing the New Testament, with the epistle of Barnabas and a fragment of the Shepherd of Hermas. The printing of the last three volumes (those containing the text) was finished in July, 1861. Specimen sheets of these were sent to the International Exhibition in London, May, 1862, and obtained prize. The dedication to the Emperor is dated Leipzig,
1862, and the Professor there says, ' ut . . . hodie in Tuas manus tradere possem.' On January 7, 1863, Bodley's librarian at Oxford had received the copy for which he had privately subscribed; and his kindness in allowing us to have immediate and free access to the publication has enabled us to gather the materials for this article. We gladly seize this opportunity of thanking him for this and very many other instances of ready attention and uniform courtesy. Now, really, when we consider that Baber's fac-simile edition of the LXX. occupied him with Herculean labours (it is his own phrase) between the years 1812 and 1828, we may indeed be astonished at the rapidity with which the Codex Sinaiticus has been committed to type and carried through the press. It seems as if steam had introduced an accelerating power into learned pursuits; we only hope (may we be pardoned for venturing to say so that the present work may not exemplify the old proverb, 'The more haste, the worse speed.' 8
It is only due to the Czar to mention, that under his auspices and by his munificence the work has been executed. He may well be proud of such a bloodless trophy to grace the millenary of his empire; glad shall we be if the event show (in spite of Polish troubles) that with him, at all events, L'Empire c'est la paix, and that we may hail the publication of an additional most ancient witness to the genuineness of the Gospel text, as a proof that he is not unmindful of what the Gospel is intended to promote, επί γης ειρήνη εν ανθρώποις ευδοκίας, if we may venture to adopt the reading (a prima manu) in the Codex Sinaiticus. Of the original discovery and general character of the Codex Sinaiticus, we endeavoured to give some account in the Christian Remembrancer, January, 1861. Professor
1 Seventeen plates represent actual pages in the MS., the other four represent passages selected from different parts of the MS. and from other MSS.
· The Prince Regent authorized the commencement of the work in 1814, The Prolegomena are dated Kal. July, 1828. Mr. Baber had published the Psalms from the Codex Alexandrinus in 1812. 3 One instance we may perhaps be able to produce. NO. CXX,N.S.
Tischendorf repeats in his prolegomena some of the details which he had given in his previously published ‘Notitia,' but as these have in various ways been brought before the public, we will pass on at once to the fresh information conveyed in the prolegomena to the edition.
I. THE TYPOGRAPHICAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE IMPERIAL EDITION.Two alphabets were engraved in brass, one in characters of a size to correspond as nearly as possible to the average appearance of the letters in the text, the other in smaller characters, to correspond to the letters employed in the notes. A third alphabet, in still smaller characters, was also cut to represent the small characters which occur at the end of a line, or where, from want of space, the letters are written more closely together.
cases two letters were cut together on one block, as AY and oY; in other cases single letters were so cut, that two could be placed close to each other, as AT, Y, AYo, 1w. As the work went on, and from time to time new forms or new combinations of letters made their appearance, the Professor again had recourse to the engravers, who supplied fresh modifications of shape or size in the letters T, w, 0, &, Q for M, R for KAI, joined letters, as NH, MI, TH, MNH; abbreviations iii ; and even different lengths of super-written lines, as in OY, OY, o, ā, . But what appears to have involved more labour than anything else, is this; the spaces between the letters in the MS. are by no means uniform. Determined that his fac-simile should, in this respect also, be faithful to the original, the Professor ordered brass spacing-lines to be cut, so that the different breadths of blank between each letter might be correctly represented.
Of these he says
that more than 100,000 different spacings were required for the New Testament alone. When we bear in mind that in the process of printing not only the letters but the spaces had to be corrected, and are told further, that thirty columns of quadruple text had to be copied out, set up, corrected, and printed per week, we may well be astonished at these truly · Herculean labours.'
The printing was put into the hands of Giesecke and Devrient, duumvirorum excolenda arte typographica clarorum.' The Professor adds, · Nihil autem unquam operis typographicis traditum est, nisi quod ipsi e codice, quem nunquam de inanibus emisimus, transcripsimus, variisque signis ad imitandam veterem scripturam auximus.' If we understand rightly the statement made in the prolegomena, it would appear