Most of the commentaries on Greek authors which circulated in the towns of Egypt during the late Ptolemaic and early Imperial periods ignored the critical and colometrical problems which had engaged the attention of the great Alexandrian grammarians. A few, however, based themselves on texts equipped with signs, included the signs in their lemmata and offered explanations. Such commentaries must be the source of the scattered references to signs in the older marginal scholia in Byzantine manuscripts of Homer, Hesiod, Pindar and the Attic dramatists. The only Byzantine manuscript to transmit a pagan text still equipped with a large number and a variety of signs, namely cod. Venice, Bibl. Marc. gr. 454, is also the only one to transmit scholia with lemmata retaining prefixed signs. Just as texts and scholium-lemmata lost their signs in the course of transmission, so too did references to signs within scholia either disappear or become garbled. At best, a statement about the reasons for affixing a sign would turn into one about the content or style of the verse in question. The few mentions made of the great Alexandrians give no cause for thinking that we ever have a verbatim quotation of an ὑπόμνημα written by one of them in order to explain his own signs. Time and again it is demonstrable that an explanation of a sign's presence against a particular verse goes back to some writer like Aristonicus.
What survives of the ancient discussion of Latin literature is exiguous in comparison with the Greek material.