Martianus Capella

Institutiones de arte et metris

Martianus Capella’s Institutiones de arte et metris, a 5th-century grammatical text in Latin, was discovered by Mario De Nonno in the 1990s, but has still not been edited three decades later. Until an expert on the topic creates a proper edition, I am presenting my attempt at a transcript/uncritical (pre-)edition and a rough translation here, with some commentary. Caveat lector: both the Latin texts and the English translations are definitely works in progress! I would be grateful for any comments, suggestions or questions.

In the posts, I adopt De Nonno’s division into sections and the titles the Bodleian manuscript gives them. An alternative to this is the division into (unnumbered) paragraphs found in the Vatican manuscript; the chapter numbers given here represent those paragraphs divisions. However, neither is really satisfactory.


This work, hitherto known as De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (The Wedding of Philology and Mercury), should in my opinion now be referred to as Philologia, the title Martianus himself uses in the Institutiones, and which applies equally to books I & II, which describe the allegorical wedding, as well as to the subsequent seven books, which cover (and which canonized) the seven liberal arts.

[more coming…]

Sources and parallels…

Although Martianus is far from a household name among classicists, the earlier writings his presentation of the liberal arts is based on tend to receive even less attention. Yet works on grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music theory make up a large portion of the literature surviving from antiquity, and their contents often have a bearing on our understanding of subjects beyond their apparent scope.

…to the Institutiones

[more coming…]

…to the Philologia

[more coming…]