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Book chapter

О природе латинского названия рыбы sargiacus (Arist. Hist. An. 610b6)

С. 333-345.

Latin translations of Aristotle’s Historia animalium had been an
important source of scientific animal names at least until the 18th c.
Theodore Gaza, the author of the most influential translation, made in the
3rd quarter of the 15th c., rendered many animal names using neologisms of
his own coinage. Thus, the word sargiacus was supposed to be his
translation of the Greek fish name σαργῖνος which appears only once in the
Aristotelian text (“ἀθερῖνοι, σαργῖνοι, βελόναι, τευθοί”, 610b6). Indeed, in
the posthumous editio princeps of Gaza’s translation prepared in 1476, as
well as in the later 15th-century editions, that passage is rendered as
“aristulae, sargiacus, lolii” (with an omission of the equivalent for
βελόναι). In his 1504 edition, Aldus Manutius replaced the word sargiacus
by a 2nd declension plural sargiaci. All the following editions apparently
preserved Aldus’ conjecture. Still, the manuscript Vat. lat. 2094, which is,
as John Monfasani has shown, the copy Gaza presented to the pope Sixtus
IV in the early 1470s, reads “aristulae, sargi, acus, lolii”. Sargus and acus
were regularly employed by Gaza elsewhere in the text for the fish names
σαργός and βελόνη respectively. He used to emend the Aristotelian text
extensively, so it is no wonder that he suggested reading the well-attested
fish name σαργός here instead of the extremely rare word σαργῖνος. Most
probably he was not aware of the only other occurrence of the latter,
namely in Ath. 7.117.10–16 (partially repeated in Ath. 7.93.6–8) and
considered σαργῖνος a scribal error. So, the text of the Vatican codex
makes it clear that the word sargiacus originated from the skipped
punctuation mark in the editio princeps (or in the manuscript underlying it).
Neither the correct spelling “sargi, acus” in Agostino Nifo’s commentary
on the Historia animalium (1546), nor Edward Wotton’s suggestion that
the word sargiacus might be a typo (1552) attracted attention of the
contemporaries. The word sargiacus is widely attested in scientific writings
of the 16th–18th centuries, as well as in some dictionaries, and appears in
print as late as in 1864.