Introduction
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Introduction 1 Vt in principiis quedam occurrunt inquirenda, . . . ita et huius libri principio quedam inquirere debemus, ut per ea bene et sapienter exquisita totum subsequens opus nobis clarius appareat. (Accessus to Ovid’s Remedia amoris, Clm 19475, fol. 6ra25–6rb4) Just as in introductions a number of things come up to be examined, . . . so too in the introduction to this book we should examine a number of things, so that through their proper and wise examination the whole of the following work may appear more clearly to us. edieval grammarians and schoolmasters typically began their commen- taries on classical authors with a standard type of introduction called an accessus.1 In the twelfth century, such introductions were excerpted and collected into anthologies that served as the first handbooks of literary criticism .Modern scholars refer to these collections as accessus ad auctores (“introductions to the authors”).2 The earliest and most comprehensive example is preserved in the twelfth-century manuscript Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek , Clm 19475, saec. XII, which was copied at the Benedictine abbey of Tegernsee, a leading center of classical learning in southern Germany.3 The purpose of this volume is to present for the first time a faithful critical edition of the anthology in Clm 19475, known by the modern title Accessus ad auctores, and to provide an accurate translation of it together with explanatory notes addressing different aspects of the text.4 Origins of the Accessus ad auctores As the epigraph to this introduction reminds us, an introduction is supposed to facilitate the understanding of the work that follows. Unfortunately, the Accessus ad auctores in Clm 19475 does not have its own introduction explaining by whom, when, where, from what sources, and for what purpose it was put together. In order to understand better the aims of the collection, it may be helpful to consider the institutional setting and educational practices that produced it. M Throughout the Middle Ages, students began their formal education by learning Latin through the art of grammar (grammatica), which was commonly defined as the science of interpreting the poets and historians, on the one hand, and as the theory of writing and speaking correctly, on the other.5 Latin grammar provided not only a foundation for the pursuit of rhetoric and logic—the other liberal arts in the triuium—but also “the point of access to all of the orders of textual knowledge” including, above all, the Christian truth in the Vulgate Bible.6 Schoolmasters taught the grammatical minutiae of Latin morphology, syntax, and prosody, as well as the basics of rhetorical style (tropes and figures), through the communal reading of classical authors.7 Within this context, they wrote glosses and commentaries on canonical works in order to help students understand the letter and meaning of the texts they read.8 Medieval commentaries were usually headed by an accessus that introduced the author or book to be explained.9 This preliminary section raised and answered a set of standard questions presented in the form of headings.10 The number, phrasing, and arrangement of these headings were variable and changed over time. Four classic schemes of introduction, however, will have been encountered in medieval schools at the beginning of the twelfth century ; for convenience, these may be identified as Servian, rhetorical, philosophical , and modern.11 The Servian scheme is exemplified by the prologue to Virgil’s Aeneid written by Servius, the fourth-century grammarian. It consists of seven headings: life of the poet, title of the work, genre of poem, intention of the writer, number of books, order of books, and explanation.12 The rhetorical scheme, which was favored by the influential Carolingian grammarian and commentator Remigius of Auxerre (ca. 841–908), likewise presents seven headings, but these are based on the seven circumstances or questions that classical orators use as topics for invention: who, what, where, by what means, why, how, and when.13 The philosophical scheme can be traced back to Boethius’s introduction to his commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge and is articulated into six headings: intention of the work, utility, order of the work, name of the author, title, and part of philosophy under which it is classified.14 Finally, the modern scheme of introduction, which appears frequently in the Accessus ad auctores, is a modified version of the philosophical scheme, deploying three or four headings: subject matter, intention, utility (optional), and part of philosophy under which it is classified. Schoolmasters such as Conrad of Hirsau who were self-declared...



Subject Headings

  • Latin literature, Medieval and modern.
  • Criticism -- History -- To 1500.
  • Classical literature -- Study and teaching -- History -- To 1500.
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