Latin collatio ("comparison"), from the verb conferre.

In the Lachmannian method, collatio is part of recensio. It can be defined as the comparative examination of the witnesses in order to determine the variant readings in all witnesses.

If the collation is done manually, a collation exemplar or reference text (sometimes referred to as a base text for collation which is distinguished from a base text used for an edition) is chosen, against which the other witnesses are compared. Especially with broad textual traditions collation can be very exacting. A traditional method to cope with this difficulty is to proceed by singling out and then collating a limited number of variant locations or loci critici (selecti). This is for example the method carried out by Federico Sanguineti in his edition of Dantis Alagherii Comedia (2001).

It is possible nowadays to collate the witnesses in a semi-automated way, but this requires that every witness is first transcribed (see the explanation of the procedure by Tara Andrews in Macé 2015, 332-335).  A number of collation software programs have been developed over the past years, see for example CollateX.


– Fadda, Anna Maria Luiselli. 1994. Tradizioni manoscritte e critica del testo nel Medioevo germanico. Roma: Laterza.
– Maas, Paul. 1960. Textkritik. 4th ed. Leipzig: Teubner. – First ed. 1927.
– 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.
– Montanari, Elio. 2003. La critica del testo secondo Paul Maas: Testo e commento. Firenze: Edizioni del Galluzzo.
– Pasquali, Giorgio. 1952. Storia della tradizione e critica del testo. 2nd ed. Firenze: Le Monnier. – 1st ed., Firenze: Le Monnier, 1934.
– Sanguineti, Federico, ed. 2001. Dantis Alagherii Comedia. Firenze: Edizioni del Galluzzo.
– Stussi, Alfredo, ed. 2006. Fondamenti di critica testuale. Bologna: il Mulino. – First ed. 1998.
– Timpanaro, Sebastiano. 1981. La genesi del metodo del Lachmann. 2nd ed. Padova: Liviana. – 1st ed., Firenze: Le Monnier, 1963.
– ———. 2005. The Genesis of Lachmann’s Method. Translated by Glenn W. Most. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. – Translated from Timpanaro 1981.

In other languages

DE: Kollationierung
FR: collation
IT: collazione

Often the Latin term collatio is also used.


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