The significance of marginal 'K' in Latin manuscripts

Post date: Jan 14, 2016 9:46:03 AM

On page 202, note 60, I mention "the use of the marginal K to denote chapters in classical texts" and "to indicate corrections in manuscripts copied per cola et commata", with reference to Parkes 1992.

I have just come across an excellent illustrated treatment of this with regard to the Cologne manuscript of Fortunatianus of Aquileia by Lukas Dorfbauer (Dorfbauer 2014c: 57–64). He refers to works by Traube (1902), Weber (1955), Schröder (1999), and a dissertation by Michael Shane Butler (Columbia Univ. NY, 2000) to confirm that the 'K' symbol was employed in late antiquity to show where new chapters should begin, especially in works laid out per cola et commata (or in 'capitulation'). Its reproduction in medieval manuscripts, proving that its significance was not understood, is an indication that they are, at most, a few removes from a late antique exemplar.

An example of the layout in 'capitulation' may be seen in the left-hand column of fol. 3r of Cologne, Dombibliothek 17 (at Codices Electroni Colonienses).

Dorfbauer, Lukas J. (2014c), ‘Der Codex Köln, Erzbischöfliche Diözesan- und Dombibl. 17. Ein Beitrag zur Überlieferung des Evangelienkommentars des Bischofs Fortunatian von Aquileia.’ In Mittelalterliche Handschriften der Kölner Dombibliothek. Fünftes Symposion, (Libelli Rhenani 51) ed. Heinz Finger & Harald Horst, Cologne: Dombibliothek, 21–68.

Schröder, Bianca-Jeanette (1999). Titel und Text. Zur Entwicklung lateinischer Gedichtüberschriften. Mit Untersuchungen zu lateinischen Buchtiteln, Inhaltsverzeichnissen und anderen Gliederungsmitteln. (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 54.) Berlin & New York: De Gruyter. (PDF here)