What punctuation was used in Classical Latin? was very insightful, but it doesn't go into specifics. Wikipedia says we don't have any original sources of Ovid's Metamorphoses until the 9th or 10th centuries. But how did Ovid most likely write it down? Or would it have been entirely oral?

I am wondering how it was formatted/punctuated. Did it or would it have used all capital letters? Would it use whitespace between words or interpuncts of some kind. Again, most likely as we probably don't have much direct evidence, but who knows. Was it really divided into lines like you find it today? Or was it just one long mass of text? Did sentences have boundaries? Were there actually books, or was that a more modern invention (i.e. was it just one big block of text)?

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    For informal First Century Latin communication (spacing, punctuation, lettering) see Vindolanda, Vindolanda tablets online search.
    – Hugh
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


I suspect you're more interested in the punctuation in Classical Latin rather than Ovid's mss per se and their transmission.

With Ovid, we don’t have anything extant really until the High Middle Ages anyway, e.g. https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/11403193

However, we do have a much earlier manuscript of Virgil’s Aeneas and Georgica (fragmentary, ca. 4th. century AD) - see for yourself

Fully digitized by the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana https://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.lat.3225/0001

no spaces, written in the Roman rustic capitals, some interpuncts, no chapter/book division etc.

There's even a Wikipedia page about this manuscript https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergilius_Vaticanus

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