Within the increasingly complex picture which has emerged in recent years of the manuscript tradition of Ovid's Amores the relationship of the two earliest MSS appears to remain firm: cod. P or Puteaneus (Par. Lat. 8242) of the 9th or early 10th century, which begins at Am. 1.2.51, was copied, probably directly, from the second half of the 9th-century cod. R or Regius (Par. Lat. 7311), whose first half now ends at Am. 1.2.50. This view, which originates in S. Tafel's dissertation of 1910 and lies behind the stemma constructed by E. J. Kenney for his OCT edition of 1961 (p. vi), has come to be taken by Ovidian scholars (with the exception, however, of Munari, who left the question open) to be the truth. My purpose in this first section is to show that this idea is unlikely to be the truth and, in the form in which it has most strongly been put forward, cannot be the truth. In the second section consequences for the manuscript tradition as a whole are explored.
First we shall need some details. P, the slightly later manuscript, consists in all of 99 folia, of which 1–54 contain most, but not all, of the Heroides — not all, because they are in a lacunose state, a point to which we shall return in greater detail later. Foll. 55–6 are blank sheets of paper, not parchment, clearly inserted at a much later date during rebinding.