I have encountered with apparatus fontium for example in this reference:

Gundissalinus, De divisione philosophiae, apparatus fontium ad pp. 36 –7

What is it and what is it's the literal meaning?

1 Answer 1


Apparātus is a very general-purpose word in Latin, but in classics and textual criticism, it refers to extra material that an editor has attached to a work; I'd translate it as "footnote". For example, an apparātus criticus explains how the primary sources differ for a given line.

An apparātus fontium, then, is a "footnote of sources". In other words, an editor has added a list of the sources that the original author refers to. If the author quotes Vergil, for instance, the apparātus fontium for that line will provide the book and line numbers.

  • Your answer is quite elucidating. According to the literal meaning of apparatus and regarding your answer, providing of sources may be a more accurate translation
    – Ali Nikzad
    May 3, 2019 at 19:05
  • @AliNikzad That would work too! I just try to use a noun for it, because in other phrases like apparātus criticus, "critical providing" sounds weird. "Provision", maybe, if people still used that word in its original sense?
    – Draconis
    May 3, 2019 at 19:11
  • Yes, "provision" is much better.
    – Ali Nikzad
    May 3, 2019 at 19:21

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