Day By Day

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Oxyrhynchus Papyri Update

Oxford Scholars using high tech imaging techniques have recovered some more fragments of original text from the papyri. This time it's seventy lines from Sophocles and thirty from Archilochos. Interesting, if not particularly important, stuff.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

A relatively new technology called multispectral imaging is turning a pile of ancient garbage into a gold mine of classical knowledge, bringing to light the lost texts of Sophocles and Euripides as well as some early Christian gospels that do not appear in the New Testament....

In the past few weeks alone, researchers have succeeded in deciphering a 70-line fragment from a lost tragedy by Sophocles and a 30-line fragment from Archilochos, a Greek soldier-poet who chronicled the Trojan Wars.

The Archilochos fragment confirms what scholars have long suspected: that the Greeks got lost on their way to invade Troy and mistakenly landed at place called Mysia. There they fought a battle, lost and had to regroup before heading off again for Troy.

The Archilochos fragment will be published later this month. The newly discovered lines from Sophocles are scheduled for publication in August.

For earlier reports on the Papyri see here, here and here.


Jim Davila over at Paleojudaica has a scathing post on journalists mis-reporting matters dealing with the Papyri [I think he may be a little too hard on the writer of the article cited above]. He also links to information from Oxford that clears up some of the problems in interpretation. Check out his post here and follow his links.

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