Looking for a quote

Allen Sparksy

New Member
I need help finding a Latin phrase. I was told that there is a phrase that sums up the following point: when you are faced with two versions of a text, the less probable version is probably the correct one, since the assumption is that scribes “correct” from the less probable to the more probable.


Vemortuicida strenuus
I think you're looking for lectio difficilior.

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
It's not 'the less probable' so much as 'the less straightforward/more difficult'.


Staff member
I have had this taught to me, but from a position of ignorance, can I ask if there are any studies supporting this theory?

We could, for example, argue that a scribe would alter to the form which seems closer to his mother tongue.


Staff member
I don't think we need to do any studies. The idea of lectio difficilior potior might be reasonable in specific cases, but as a working rule common sense tells you it's flawed.