Heinsius' Edition

The edition of Daniel Heinsius came out at the end of April or beginning of May 1627. According to a letter of André Rivet the letters were collected ‘from various places’. We do not know from which manuscripts Heinsius actually worked. He made so many changes to the original text that he probably made his own copies to hand over to a typesetter. However, no such copies survive.

Many of the letters in Heinsius were already printed in either Scaliger’s Opuscula of 1610, the Opuscula of 1612, or in both of them. Heinsius took into account both editions of theOpuscula, as is clear from the letter Ad lectorem in the edition itself, and confirmed by theapparatus criticus of our edition. Of the 485 letters which were printed in Heinsius’ edition, 122 letters, that is, one quarter, had been printed before.

Heinsius did not rely on the Opuscula exclusively if other sources were available.  Many manuscript letters, either autographs or copies, survive as well. These manuscripts allow us to track the changes Heinsius made in his edition.

Heinsius revised the orthography and style of his sources, censored passages and corrected obvious mistakes. Among the orthographical changes, Heinsius’ archaisms stand out. Maybe because Scaliger in his youth had a special love for archaic Latin. Maybe also because Scaliger, judging from his autographs, tended to use the conjunction quum in stead cum.

After orthographical changes, Heinsius’s most frequent changes are to word order. In almost every letter, he places the verb at the end of the sentense. One example will suffice to show the burden this lays on our critical apparatus:

Heinsius’ source:

quo fidem tibi faciam me semper meminisse tui, neque ullius rei memoriam mihi iucundiorem esse, quam tui, tuorumque laborum, quibus nos beas quotidie. Scripsi alteris literis quid sentirem de conditione Lutetiana. Omnia candida equidem censeo. Si vel res tibi non sit cum Thesauriis vel si tanta gratia vales apud eos, vt tui maioremrationem habeant, quam magnatum quos quotidie frustrantur et ludificantur.

Heinsius’ text:

quo, me semper meminisse tui, neque ullius rei memoriam jucundiorem mihi quam tui, tuorumque laborum, quibus nos beas quotidie, fidem tibi faciam. Scripsi alteris literis quid de conditione Lutetiana sentirem. Omnia candida equidem censeo. Si vel res tibi cum thesauriis non sit, vel si tanta vales apud eos gratia, ut majorem tui rationem, quam magnatum, quos quotidie frustrantur et ludificantur, habeant.

Many small words deemed redundant are removed from Heinsius’ text (‘et praeterea’ becomes ‘praeterea’; ‘tuas literas accepi’ becomes ‘tuas accepi’).

Heinsius also censored his author. Scaliger could be gentle and patient with his friends and even with their lack of talent, but if they began to criticise him, he could become furious, as is shown by the glossary of abusive languageon this website. When Scaliger’s criticism (and sometimes derision) was directed towards Heinsius’ own milieu, or contained information potentially harmful, Heinsius was in the habit of replacing names with asterisks or with a bland paraphrase. A famous and much cited example is Scaliger’s critique of his colleague Francis Junius the Elder, professor of theology at Leiden University . Although Heinsius left out Junius’ name, he did not completely conceal the identity of the victim. Junius’s son in law Gerard Vossius complained on several occasions that Heinsius had not sufficiently censored the titles of the works published by Junius: any one familiar with the professors of Leiden University and their works could guess whom Scaliger was calling an ass.

Heinsius also corrected obvious mistakes made by the typesetters of the editions he used as his sources or by the scribes of the manuscript copies he worked from.

The Heinsius-edition of 1627 stands out as a tribute from a student to his respected master. However, its publishers, the Elzevirs, complained that it had not been a commercial success. Some of their potential customers in Germany would have purchased the reprint of the edition which emerged at Frankfurt the following year. Editions of letters of other scholars would prove to be far more popular: the letters of Dominicus Baudius were printed no less than 14 times in the seventeenth century and the correspondence of Casaubon saw two different editions, incorporating first 85 and then 300 new letters. May be Scaliger’s language was just not salonfähig in the seventeenth century and his style too colloquial. As such, his correspondence also testifies to the exceptional frankness of his character.