Stichometry (measurement by στίχοι, or lines), a practice early resorted to in MSS. of the New. Test. in order to remedy the inconvenience of the continuous method of writing then employed in the absence of interpunction. About the year 462, Euthalius, a deacon at Alexandria, divided the text of the Pauline epistles into stichoi containing as many words as were to be read uninterruptedly. We know that the Gospels, too, were so separated, but we are unable to discover whether Euthalius himself arranged them in that manner. This mode of writing has survived in several MSS., such as the Codices Cantabrigiensis, Claromontanus, etc. This mode of division, however, was not a regular, universal system, but was adopted in some MSS., perhaps the majority, in different places. The following is a specimen from the Codex Coislinianus (H) at Tit 2:3
ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΑΣΝΗΦΑΛΙΟΥΣΕΙΝΑΙ ΣΕΜΝΟΥΣ ΣΩΦΡΟΝΑΣ ΥΓΙΑΙΝΟΝΤΑΣΤΗΠΙΣΤΕΙ ΤΗΑΓΑΠΗ ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΙΔΑΣΩΑΥΤΩΣ ΕΝΚΑΤΑΣΤΗΜΑΤΠΕΡΟΠΡΕΠΕΙΣ ΜΗΔΙΑΒΟΛΟΥΣ ΜΗΟΙΝΩΠΟΛΛΩΔΕΔΟΥΛΩΜΕΝΑΣ ΚΑΛΟΔΙΔΑΕΚΑΛΟΥΣ.
The entire number of stichoi is usually given at the end of each book; but it does not necessarily follow that every MS. having an enumeration of stichoi at the end was actually divided in that manner when first written.
They were sometimes very short, as in the Codex Laudensis (E), where each line generally contains but one word. The ῥήματα, which are also enumerated at the end of MSS. or books, may be the same as the στίχοι. Hug states (Einleitung, 1, 219, 4th ed.) that, so far as known, the ῥήματα are found only in MSS. containing the Gospels. If, therefore, a different person from Euthalius divided the Gospels, he may readily have given the divisions a different name from that applied to the Acts and Epistles. In order to save the space necessarily lost in stichometry, a point was afterwards put for the end of each stichos, and the text was written continuously as at first. This is observable in Codex Cyprius (K), according to Hug, yet the points in this MS. may be its interpunction marks without any reference to the stichoi, especially as they are similar to the interpunction of the Codex Boernerianus (Hupfeld, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1837, p. 859); or a large letter was placed at the beginning of a stichos, as in the Codex Boernerianus, where, however, there is also a corrupt and absurd interpunction. SEE MANUSCRIPTS.