Leiden Conventions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Leiden Conventions are an established set of rules, symbols, and brackets used to indicate the condition of an epigraphic or papyrological text in a modern edition. In previous centuries of classical scholarship, scholars who published texts from inscriptions, papyri, or manuscripts used divergent conventions to indicate the condition of the text and editorial corrections or restorations. The Leiden meeting was designed to help to redress this confusion.

The earliest form of the Conventions were agreed at a meeting of classical scholars at the University of Leiden in 1931, and published in an article shortly thereafter.[1][2] There are minor variations in the use of the Conventions between epigraphy and papyrology (and even between Greek and Latin epigraphy). More recently, scholars have published improvements and adjustments to the system.[3]

Most important sigla[edit]

siglum explanation
[...] a lacuna or gap in the original text, not restored by the editor (extent known)
[— — —] a lacuna or gap in the original text, not restored by the editor (extent unknown)
[abc] letters missing from the original text due to lacuna, restored by the editor
a(bc) abbreviation in the text, expanded by the editor
⟨ab⟩ characters erroneously omitted by the ancient scribe, restored or corrected by the editor
{ab} letters in the text considered erroneous and superfluous by the editor
ạḅ characters damaged or otherwise unclear in the text, ambiguous outside of their context
... traces of letters on the surface, insufficient for restoration by the editor (Greek and Papyrological usage)
+++ traces of letters on the surface, insufficient for restoration by the editor (Roman epigraphic practice)
ABC clear but incomprehensible letters
⟦abc⟧ deleted letters
vac. space left empty (vacat) on the stone or page

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Woodhead, Arthur Geoffrey (1981) [1959]. The Study of Greek Inscriptions (Second ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 6. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  2. ^ See Groningen (1932) and cf. Hunt (1932); these articles are part of the proceedings of the XVIIIe Congrès international des Orientalistes, Leiden, 7-12 septembre 1931, Section autonome des Papyrologues.
  3. ^ See e.g. Dow (1969) and Krummrey-Panciera (1980). Cf. Robert (1954), 9-11, who seemingly rejects Leiden.


  • Marcus Dohnicht, 'Zusammenstellung der diakritischen Zeichen zur Wiedergabe der lateinischen Inschrifttexte der Antike für den Unicode' (Entwurft Juli 2000), available: http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/varia/unicode/Dohnicht.pdf.
  • Sterling Dow, Conventions in editing: a suggested reformulation of the Leiden System, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies Scholarly Aids 2, Durham, 1969.
  • Tom Elliott et al. (2000-2008), 'All Transcription Guidelines' in EpiDoc Guidelines, available: http://www.stoa.org/epidoc/gl/dev/app-alltrans.html
  • Traianos Gagos (1996), 'Conventions', in A Select Bibliography of Papyrology, available: http://www.lib.umich.edu/papyrus-collection/select-bibliography-papyrology
  • B. A. van Groningen, 'De signis criticis in edendo adhibendis', Mnemosyne 59 (1932), pp. 362–365.
  • B. A. van Groningen, 'Projet d'unification des systèmes de signes critiques', Chronique d'Égypte 7 (1932), pp. 262–269.
  • J. J. E. Hondius, 'Praefatio', Suplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 7 (1934), p. i.
  • A.S. Hunt, 'A note on the transliteration of papyri', Chronique d'Égypte 7 (1932), pp. 272–274.
  • Hans Krummrey, Silvio Panciera, 'Criteri di edizione e segni diacritici', Tituli 2 (1980), pp. 205–215.
  • Silvio Panciera, 'Struttura dei supplementi e segni diacritici dieci anni dopo' in SupIt 8 (1991), pp. 9–21.
  • Louis Robert, Jeanne Robert, La Carie : histoire et géographie historique, II, Paris, 1954, pp. 9–11 on 'Signes critiques du corpus et édition'.
  • Onno van Nijf, 'Critical Signs: Leiden system plus additions', available: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~vannijf/epigraphy1.htm#_Toc492186643
  • Joshua D. Sosin et al. (2011), 'Papyrological Conventions used in Duke Databank texts', available: http://papyri.info/conventions.html
  • Ulrich Wilcken, 'Das Leydener Klammersystem', Archiv für Papyrusforschung 10 (1932), pp. 211–212.
Leiden usage in corpora
  • L'Année épigraphique, Presses Universitaires de France, (Revue archéologique. Supplément 1888-1964; autonomous 1965-). (See front matter)
  • Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Berlin: de Gruyter, 1853-. (Conventions at front)
  • Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Egypt Exploration Society, 1898-. (See preface)
  • Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Lugduni Batavorum : Sijthoff, 1923-. (See front matter)