Skip to main content

Full text of "An Epic Fragment from Oxyrhynchus"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 


A negative indication of the value of the recent discoveries at 
Oxyrhynchus may be seen in the fact that the interesting epic 
fragment No. CCXIV seems to have escaped notice in the mass 
of comments that the publication of the Oxyrhynchus papyri has 
called forth. The papyrus which is referred by the editors "with 
little hesitation to the third century," contains parts of forty-three 
hexameters, and is, unfortunately, much mutilated. The editors 
translate only vv. 1-5, though the restoration of 10-13 is a l so 

The editor's restoration of vv. 1-5 is sufficiently certain to 
permit the printing of the text in the usual manner, with indica- 
tions of only the chief supplements at the end of each line: 

I e^OTrtVi/r iirebr)iyev avat<rTo[i<Ti »cXd5oi(ri 

oi! Ktv en £<bovtcs is "iXtoy rjKBov f_ A^aioi " 
ev6a be Kfv Meve'Xaor ekc'kXii-o, tv\6 Ayapefivav 
<oXero, not rov apurrov ev 'ApyeLoic [ A^tX^a 

5 Tr/Xefas e£evapi£e irpXv "Ekto{j>os avriov e\6elv 

The remaining verses to v. 16 as published in The Oxyrhynchus 
Papyri, vol. II, p. 28, are as follows : 

aXX oirooov fiot km rf_o] ap.vvep.ev e[ 

Xpai<T/ir]<Tai 8e pot a[ J . af_ 

jj km cm apyeioi <o> \a\ev yev[os} ijpaxXtjoc 
[r]r)\€<pov ev $a\apoit iro\epa>v cmave[vde 

10 [xXji/re poi adavaroi [fjeur b[e ir]\eov ov yevert/pa 
8ap8avov rjperepoio km TjfjjaJieXijos aKovo 
km tovtwv (ppacroacrde pa\a>v \vo~iv icra be pvOois 
\jT]vv6eo-ir) Tpaeaai km a[py]eiouri ye[v]eo-da 
[ojvbe apyeiovs 6ave[e]tv [. .jr/a-opai auri; 

15 £av6ov <f>oivi£avrcs e[. . . ,]/xe . . x €v l xa kmkov 
TTi\e(pov ei(pi ro\_ ovjkcti 8a>prix&tvTcs 

For the first two of these lines I have no suggestion to make, 
except that perhaps we should read in v. 7 xpato-p/oai be pot 


*A[py«W] a[ . The supplement, if miswritten apyiovs — cf. ei<pi in 
v. 16 and the frequent interchange of « — t in the Homer papyrus 
No. CCXXIII "of the same period" — will contain exactly the 
number of letters required. The remainder I would restore as 
follows : 

el nal air Apyeioio Ad^ex yevos 'HpaieXijoj 

[Tr/Xefpov iv dakd/iaie no\ep.av dirdvevdev copra] 
IO k\vt( fioi dddvarot Zeiis 8c irXeov bv yeverrjpa 

Aapddvov r)p.erepoto xat 'H/jaxXijoj dfcova) 

Ka\ rovrav <ppdo-o-ao-de fia)(S>v \vaiv ' l<ra 8e /ivdois 

o~vv8eoit) Tpaeo-ai Kal Apyeioitri yeveo~da>. 

ov8i < , ya(>> Apyelovs daviuv dprjtropxu airf) 
15 %av6ov (poivi^avras iv atfian x^l 1 " Katxou 

Trjke(pov l<fii 8afji€VTas' or ovkcti da>prj)(8evres 

To this I would add the following commentary: — That the 
word at the beginning of line 8 means 'if admits of but little 
doubt. Merkel in his preface to the minor edition of Apollonius 
Rhodius, p. v, speaks of the use of rj for el, but it seems to me 
more probable that we have here merely a mistake of the scribe ; 
cf. the similar Homer papyrus No. CCXXIII, E 128, etpev for 
rjp.ev, and v. 64, !jo>t for j&j, though the latter may not be wholly due 
to phonetic causes. As long as vv. 6-7 are unrestored, it must 
remain uncertain whether v. 8 is to be connected with them or 
with vv. 10 ff.; but at present I prefer the latter alternative. For 
if Telephus is actually (xat) the descendant of Herakles, then the 
speaker, Astyoche, has a double claim upon Zeus : 6> yeverijpa \ 

Aapddvov rjprrcpoio Ka\ 'HpaicKrjos anoxia. For the thought cf. QuintUS 
Smymaeus, IO. 40, 319, and 8. 431 ff.: ZeO wdrep, el ereov ye rerjs ?£ 

elfu yeveSXijs . . . rffl (iev vvv io-aKovo-ov, which affords also a parallel 
for the arrangement of the clauses — contrast, e. g., the prayer 
of the Cyclops, t 528 ff. In this connection it may be noted 
that the author shows a similar unconventionality in his treat- 
ment of the unreal conditional sentence. In Homer, in unreal 
conditions of the past, the apodosis frequently, though not 
invariably (e. g. *• 526) precedes ; cf. the examples cited GMT., 
§§435, 440. However, this is not the case in the present 
unreal condition; cf. GMT., §438, for the examples. This 
order seems to have impressed the later imitators of Homeric 
poetry as characteristic, and they have imitated it with great 
consistency, just as they show a marked tendency to employ 
n-ort as far as possible for np6s; cf. La Roche, Wiener Studien, 


XXII 49. So in Apollonius Rhodius the apodosis precedes 
in I 1298; II 284, 626, 866, 987-995; III 584, 1139; IV 20, 
901. The only exception is III 377 ff., which is practically 
an unreal condition of the present, and so conforms to the 
Homeric usage. So in the first seven books of Quintus we have 
this order: in I 447, 689, 775; II 507; III 26, 366, 514, 752; IV 
3°i. 329, 563; V 359; VI 503, 542, 570, 644; VII 28, 142, as 
opposed to but two exceptions: III 444; V 583. Another 
departure from epic conventions is to be found in the use of the 
plural k\vtc in a prayer for which I know of no parallel, the 
citing of II. 8. 5 by Liddell and Scott being a blunder. Besides, 
the singular when used in prayer, and the plural in addresses to 
men, is almost (cf. Quintus, 9. 9) invariably the first word of the 
speech. For the phrase Xaxw yivos cf. Musaios 30 &wrpe(ph at/ia 

Xa^ov<ra and Quintus 2. 434 Zi/voy v7rep8vp.oto Xa;ja>p dpibeiKerov alpa. 

But whether v. 8 be connected with what precedes or what 
follows, in neither case can v. 9 stand in its present position unless 
indeed r^Xe^or be emended to Trj\e(pos, in which case I do not see 
how a satisfactory close for the line can be obtained. The resti- 
tution suggested follows P 426 ftdxis dirdvevdev eovres \ a possible but 

less probable ending would have been cmdvevSe y.ivovra. The 
occurrence of interpolated lines in the Homeric papyri is not 
uncommon, and the present instance is no more absurd than, e. g., 
the insertion after E 83 (O. P., vol. II, p. 101). I would offer the 
following explanation of its origin. The legend tells how the 
Greeks were at first successful, while Telephus was absent from 
the battle, but how he afterwards appeared and swept all before 
him, until finally he was wounded by Achilles. This crisis may 
very well have been introduced by some such lines as 

ov8 '"X 1 ? Kp"T€polo \d0cv yivos 'HpaxXfjoj 
Trjke<pov iv 8ak.dp.01s n-oXe/ww dttdvtvdev iovra 

For the general situation compare the opening of the fourteenth 
book of the Iliad ; for the concrete use of yeVor, Apoll. Rhod. 4. 

14 1 2, and QuintUS 6. I20 ~E.vp(mvkov Kparepov yevos 'Hpaicktjos. If this 

line is an interpolation coming from a source of this sort, it follows 
that the speech before us is embedded in a narrative of the land- 
ing of the Greeks in Mysia. And if this is the case, there can 

1 Of course I do not mean to insist on the verbal exactness of the first half 
of this line. Another possibility would be, cf. A 456 : ovS' \axfi re novoc re. 


hardly be any doubt that the poem was a working over of the 
material of the Kiirpia, bearing a relation to that poem similar to 
that which the Ta ped' "Opjfpov of Quintus bear to the rest of the 
epic cycle. A further consequence is that the time of the delivery 
of this speech must be anterior to the situation in the Iliad. 
Now, this is in direct opposition to the conclusion which the 
editors draw from their translation of vv. 1-5. "The situation is 
therefore posterior to that in the Iliad," and as my restitution of 
vv. 14-16 turns in part on the same point, it is necessary to 
inquire into the cogency of this conclusion. 

The editors evidently can not have based their conclusion upon 
the unreal condition in v. 2 ov *«• ?™ foioir*? e'$ "iKtov rj\6ov 'Axaioi, 
for the most that it could have been cited to prove would have 
been that the Greeks had landed in the Troas — a time ten years 
before the situation in the Iliad. As a fact, however, it does not 
prove even that much, for it is merely a case — of a type familiar 
to us all in English — where the speaker, under the stress of 
emotion, regards as already accomplished that which now seems 
certain to happen when, had it not been for something, it might 
have been placed once for all beyond the bounds of possibility. 
The editors must therefore have drawn their inference from 
their translation of vv. 4-5 : " and Telephus would have slain 
Achilles, the best warrior among the Argives before he met 
Hector." "Before he met Hector" in English warrants the 
conclusion, but ny>ie "Exropoj avrlov i\6elv in Greek does not. This 
doctrine should at the present time need no proof, as it has long 
since been distinctly stated ; cf. e. g. Foerster apud Sturm, Die 
Entwickelung der Constructionen mit IIPIN, p. 7: "dass der 
Infinitiv nach npiv den Begriff einer reinen Handlung bezeichne 
ohne weitere Angabe, ob eine solche wirklich eingetreten sei 
oder nicht"; and especially Gildersleeve, A. J. P. 2. 468, n.: 
"Tiplv is an oSjto). The 'not yet' may come later, may never 
come. As I have said of antequam with the subjunctive, the 
antecedence is necessary, not so the consequence, 'Aire&pao-av vp\v 
Kptdijvat, Xen. Hell. 1, 7, 35. They never came to trial." And p. 
474: "In Attic it [n-piV with inf.] ... is necessary . . . when the 
action does not take place or is not to take place (= Sio-tc pff)." 
After this it seems unnecessary to cite examples, but Apollonius 
Rhodius, III 374, 660 (vapoS), 800, 1395 are all instructive, and 
Eur. Rhesos 59 ff. (cf. Ale. 362) may be quoted in full : « yap 

(paevpoi prj £vv£<tx ov rj\lov j Xapinrjpes, ovk av eax ov €vtvxovv &6pv, | irplv 


vavs lrvpmaaL kcu hta crKrjvS>v fio\elv j ktcivgw A)(aiovs TjjBt iro\v<p6va> X e P'° 

So that the only inference that can be drawn is that the situation 
is anterior to the first meeting of Hector and Achilles and anterior 
to the landing of the Greeks in Troy, i. e. that the author followed 
a version of the legend different from that of the source of 
Tzetzes ; cf. his Ta irpo 'orfpov, 260 ff. 

Since this is the case, no objection can be brought to bear on 
the restitution of dp]>Jo-o(xai in line 14. At the beginning of this 
line the editors suggest ovoe <k*v>, I prefer, however, ol8c 
<yap>, not only because it makes a better connection with what 
precedes, but also because the omission of yap before 'Apytwvs is 
more easily explained. 

In line 15, (potpigavres must, as the syntax shows, be either a 
misreading or miswriting for <poivl£avras. Against «[" <"]/* a [™ ma Y 
be brought objections of both a palaeographical and syntactical 
nature. In the first place the editors indicate that the lacuna is 
large enough to hold four letters ; but N and A are letters that 
take a great deal of space, and, in the absence of a facsimile of 
this fragment, a comparison of the space occupied by NAl in to* 
8' l&ev Atvfias — No. CCXXIII, plate I, 1. 13 — which is equal to 
that sometimes occupied by four letters, will show that these 
letters may probably be considered as sufficient to fill the gap. 
The editors give the next two letters as jue, which forces the 
assumption of a mistake on the part of the scribe, a difficulty that 
is lessened by his other mistakes — ij, apyewi, omission of <ydp> 
and e«f>i — and to my mind is outweighed by the fact that the 
proposed reading fits both metre and sense, if it be admitted that 
the author would use e* with the dative as the equivalent of the 

This construction originates in the fact that frequently the same 
object may be considered either as the instrument or as the place 
in which an action happens. Hence we find, e. g., both nvpl ndtiv 
and in irvpl Kauv, the consequence of which is to efface the distinc- 
tion that originally existed, and to extend the same duality of 
construction to other verbs where it is no longer logically justified. 
The beginnings of this encroachment of iv with the dative upon 
the instrumental dative go back to classical times; cf. Kiihner- 
Gerth 3 , II 1, p. 464 f.; Lutz, Die Praepositionen bei den attischen 
Rednern, p. 36; Sobolewski, De praepositionum usu Aristoph., 
p. 26 f.; that it spread in post-classical times is recognized ; cf. 
Jannaris, Hist. Gr. Gram., §1562, and for Polybius, Krebs, Schanz, 


Beitrage, I, p. 71 f.; but the extent of its use in late epic poetry, 
in the absence of a monograph, is difficult to determine. From 
Apollonius I have noted: 2. 44 cpaidpbs iv Sppao-iv, rendered by 
Lehrs alacer oculis; contrast Arist. Knights 550 <pai&p6s \apnovu 

peT&irq ', 4- 9°4 *"' X'P ^" *°' y <f>6pfuyya ravixraas = manibus SU1S 

citharam intendens. Compare also Musaios 159 6vpbv iparoroKoio-i 
■napaifkay^as ivl pvBots = animum amorem-parientibus seducens (in) 

Verbis ; QuintUS 1 . 343 ofipipov iv aripvousiv avarrveiovTcs *Apj)a = pec- 

tore spirantes ; 1. 400 to 8' iv woo-\v t)pd\8wev = alias pedibus con- 
culcat ; 4. 18 tov 8' iv rrvpl hyaBevra = igni consumptum ; contrast 

Soph. O. C. I3I9 "<""" Sr/axrfiv irvpl', 4- 225 <rvvipap^r(v iv) (TTljiapijai 

xe/jfo-o-t (?) = corripuit robustis manibus ; and especially 4. 341 
(u£<u iv alport ^etpar drtipias = ut-tingerent sanguine manus invictas. 
Furthermore, it may be noted that the MSS read in Eur. El. 1172 

dXX' oT8« firjTpos veo<povots iv atfiaai \ 7re<pvpp.evot . . . iroha, and that the 

Laurentianus reads in Soph. O. T. 821 Xe'xi 8e tov 8av6vros iv xepolv 
ipalv I xp a ' iva >- Both passages have been corrected, but the errors, 
if errors they be, are not without significance for the later Greek 
usage. The above facts may, I think, warrant us in accepting for 
this poem the construction of cpuvio-o-eiv iv a'jxan instead of the 
usual <potvio-o-6iv cupari, for which compare the examples cited in 
Liddell and Scott, and Quintus 9. 179. 

The use of l(pi in 1. 16 in a periphrasis is without parallel, in 
Homer or Apollonius, nor do I know of an example from Quintus. 
The restitution of the next word is suggested by the frequent 
combination of l<pi 8apijvai; cf. also Quintus 6. 251 0en pcmaKoio 
bapivra — 0hj : is = pig : 2<pi. The supplement proposed has exactly 
the number of letters indicated by the editors and accounts, 
besides, for the change to the nominative in daprixSivres. For it 
to have been miswritten rapevras would have been nothing unusual, 
as the interchange of t and 8 in Egypt is very frequent ; cf. No. 
CCXXIII, passim ; Blass, Aussprache, p. 106. 

In general style the poem seems to stand much nearer to the 
level of Quintus than of Apollonius, and I should not for that 
reason be inclined to place the time of its composition much 
before that of the writing of the papyrus. 

A correspondence in mythology with Quintus remains to be 
noticed. The speaker is Astyoche, the wife of Telephus and 
daughter or granddaughter of Dardanus ; the time is between 
the wounding of Telephus and the departure of the Greeks; 
everything would indicate also a time of truce, and hence there 


can be little doubt that this poet's version of the healing of Tele- 
phus was the same as that followed by Quintus 4. 172 ff.: 

ylmrovs) tovs 7rp6(r&(v eviipeXlg A\iKrji 
Trj\e<f>os &ira<re 8£>poi> iiri irpo\ojjai Kaixov 
(drc € po\6i^ovTa Kaicw wepl (Xkii dvfiov 
TjKtactT iyx f 'V T V P 1 " P<&* htjpioaivTa 
avros iaa pjrjpoio. 

which Welcker, Kleine Schriften, III, p. 30, n., regarded as an 
invention of the Smyrnaean poet. 

George Melville Bolling. 

Catholic University of America, Feb. 4, 1901.