When Margaret Roper (née More) read Erasmus’ edition of St Cyprian’s works – Opera divi Caecilii Cypriani episcope Carthaginensis (first printed at Basel in 1520) –, she came across a passage which did not make much sense. And so, says Nicholas Harpsfield in his biography of Thomas More, she corrected it “without any helpe of other sample, or any instruction” (Harpsfield, 1963: 81). Almost 25 years after Margaret’s death (1544), Jacobus Pamelius acknowledged Margaret’s emendation in his 1568 edition of St Cyprian's works.
This paper presents unnoticed evidence of the editorial impact of Margaret’s correction, together with a careful revision of all the sources of this episode. It will also deal with an issue that (surprisingly) has not aroused the curiosity of scholars: why did Erasmus –who had praised Margaret as Britanniae decus– not include her correction at once in his later editions of St Cyprian’s Opera?