The exemplar from which the first split originated we call the archetype. The text of this archetype is free from all errors arising after the split and is therefore closer to the original than the text of any of the witnesses. If we succeed then in establishing the text of this, the constitutio (reconstruction of the original) is considerably advanced.

The special importance of the exemplar which I have termed the archetype is not contested, and there is no other name available. For this reason we should be careful not to use the term archetype of other connecting links between the original and the surviving witnesses, however important they may be at times.

(Maas 1958, 2-3)

Contributed by Elisa. View changelog.