Codex Berinensis, a Florentine copy of an ancient Roman medical treatise, is undated but contains clues to when it was produced. Its first 80 pages are by a single copyist, but the remaining 20 pages are by three different copyists, which indicates some significant disruption. Since a letter in handwriting identified as that of the fourth copyist mentions a plague that killed many people in Florence in 1148, Codex Berinensis was probably produced in that year.
Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the hypothesis that Codex Berinensis was produced in 1148?
A.Other than Codex Berinensis, there are no known samples of the handwriting of the first three copyists.
B.According to the account by the fourth copyist, the plague went on for 10 months.
C.A scribe would be able to copy a page of text the size and style of Codex Berinensis in a day.
D.There was only one outbreak of plague in Florence in the 1100s.
E.The number of pages of Codex Berinensis produced by a single scribe becomes smaller with each successive change of copyist.
Edit: by carcass
Codex Berinensis is undated but contains clues to when it was produced.
Its first 80 pages are by a single copyist, but the remaining 20 pages are by three different copyists, which indicates some significant disruption.
A letter written by fourth copyist mentions a plague that killed many people in Florence in 1148
Conclusion: Codex Berinensis was probably produced in 1148.
We are looking for some major disruption to explain the frequent change of copyists. A letter written by fourth copyist talks of a plague in 1148. So the conclusion drawn is that Codex Berinensis was produced in 1148. Notice that it is a very weak conclusion. All we know is that one person who worked on the codex also wrote a letter talking about a plague 1148. To conclude that the codex was written in 1148, we need more info - e.g. was there a plague in another year around that time? what about war or some other disruption? etc
Option (D) says that there was only one outbreak of plague in 1100s. This strengthens the conclusion. Of course, we still cannot establish the conclusion without doubt, but it does strengthen it. Hence (D) is the answer.
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