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A codex descriptus (plural codices descripti) is a copy of another manuscript. Given two witnesses, A and B, if recensio demonstrates that B is a direct descendant of A, which means that it contains all the errors of A plus at least one more error (cf. Maas 1960, § 8) – of a kind that does not imply a different filiation than A (cf. Timpanaro 1981, p. 120), B is a codex descriptus and therefore useless in a reconstructive perspective. Yet, such a codex can provide important information as far as the history of textual transmission is concerned.

In Latin descriptus means 'copied, transcribed' from the verb de-scribō.


– Maas, Paul. 1960. Textkritik. 4th ed. Leipzig: Teubner. – First ed. 1927.
– Timpanaro, Sebastiano. 1981. La genesi del metodo del Lachmann. 2nd ed. Torino: Liviana. – First ed., Firenze: Le Monnier, 1963.

In other languages

The Latin term is used throughout.


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