DOI: 10.1515/phil-2023-0117 ISSN: 2196-7008

New Evidence on Nicanor’s Theory of Punctuation

René Nünlist
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Classics


A concise summary of Nicanor’s theory of punctuation that has recently been discovered in a codex mixtus of the 15th century throws precious new light on a topic of some complexity. The general picture that emerges from the new extract does not substantially differ from that of the other known summary, which has been the starting point for all modern reconstructions of Nicanor’s theory. Therefore, these reconstructions need not be rewritten on a larger scale. The two summaries nevertheless display some telling differences in how they explain and present the details, not least when read against the backdrop of Nicanor’s actual practice that can be derived from the relevant scholia to Homer. The purpose of the present article is to assess the new discovery especially with regard to these differences and their effects on how Nicanor’s theory is to be reconstructed.