aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Anonymous, Excerpta Valesiana 79

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igitur rex Theodericus illiteratus erat et sic obtuso sensu ut in decem annos regni sui quattuor litteras subscriptionis edicti sui discere nullatenus potuisset. de qua re laminam auream iussit interrasilem fieri, quattuor litteras LEGI habentem; unde si subscribere voluisset, posita lamina super chartam, per eam pennam ducebat, ut subscriptio eius tantum videretur.

King Theodoric, then, was illiterate and so dull of understanding that for ten years of his reign he had been completely unable to learn the four letters which made up the endorsement for each of his edicts. For this reason he ordered that a golden plate be made, with holes cut out making the four letters LEGI [‘I have read it’]. Then, if he wanted to write the endorsement, he would put the plate over the paper and move his pen through it, so that only his endorsement could be seen.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 12, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi

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