When collating manually the witnesses of a text, one needs to compare them all with one single witness, that is called the reference text or collation text (Trovato 2014, 52-54). The witness that is used as reference text is not necessarily the one that might possibly be chosen as the base text for the constitutio textus (even though there is some hesitation in the terminology), and the edited text will often be very different from the reference text. The reference text is often chosen on practical grounds: either an extant edition or a manuscript that is well legible and the most complete one will be often elected as reference text. In the example below (Fig. 1), witness C was taken as reference text.
Fig. 1. Macé 2015, 333 (Fig. 3.2.1)
– Macé, Caroline (ed.). 2015. “Chapter 3. Textual Criticism and Text Editing.” In Alessandro Bausi et al. (eds.) Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies. An Introduction. Hamburg: Tredition, 321-465.
– Trovato, Paolo. 2014. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lachmann’s Method: A Non-Standard Handbook of Genealogical Textual Criticism in the Age of Post-Structuralism, Cladistics, and Copy-Text. Foreword by Michael D. Reeve. Firenze: Libreriauniversitaria.it edizioni.
In other languages
FR: exemplaire de collation (texte de référence, texte de base)
IT: esemplare di collazione