An honest editorial preface

Pieter Burman’s edition of the works of Ovid (1713, with many later versions) was the dominant edition of Ovid until the early nineteenth century. It was a variorum edition based on the text of the great Dutch poet and classical scholar Nicolaas Heinsius the Elder (1652) with notes in Latin by various scholars, especially the German humanist Jacob Micyllus

Burman’s preface begins with this charming bit of rueful indignation:

text of the beginning of Burman's introduction

“If I ever began a piece of work quickly and eagerly, it was certainly this edition of Ovid. At the same time, I cannot conceal the fact that in the process of completing it so many tedious annoyances arose for me that I cursed my plan of editing Ovid in the first place a thousand times, and I regretted naively trusting men who did nothing but delay and had no concern but their own financial profit.”

Burman’s Latin is just delightful, and I recommend this edition to those who want to understand Ovid’s Latin in Latin, that is, by reading explanatory notes in Latin:

Burman, Pieter. Publii Ovidii Nasonis Opera omnia, vol. 1. (Amsterdam: R. & J. Wetstenios & G. Smith, 1727) unpaginated preface.

 

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