"A New Fragment of Homer, from
Excavations on eBay"
by Robert A. Kraft, University of Pennsylvania
ἂν δ’ ἄρα Μηριόνης πελέκεας δέκα
Τεῦκρος δ’ ἡμιπέλεκκα φέρεν κοίλας ἐπὶ ν]ῆας.
Αὐτὰρ Πηλεΐδης κατὰ μὲν δολιχόσκιον ἔγχο]ς,
κὰδ δὲ λέβητ’ ἄπυρον βοὸς ἄξιον ἀνθεμόε]ντα
ἐς ἀγῶνα φέρων· καί ῥ’ ἥμονες ἄνδρ]ες
ἂν μὲν ἄρ’ Ἀτρεΐδης εὐρὺ κρείων Ἀγαμέμ]νων,
ἂν δ’ ἄρα Μηριόνης, θεράπων ἐῢς Ἰδομ]ενῆος.
τοῖσι δὲ καὶ μετέειπε ποδάρκης δῖος
text has been written in stichoi, against the fibers, which suggests
that it may have been placed on reused papyrus, perhaps as an excerpt
(classical Greek scroll texts such as Homer were normally written along
the fibers). No image of the other side was provided by the seller
(B.P.Ferrini, Akron OH), but the purchaser (see below) confirms that
there is a single line of writing on the other side, although I have
thus far been unable to make sense of it from the image he supplied
(see the third image above; perhaps it is Demotic?). In the original eBay image (first
image above), the top two lines are folded over on the right,
concealing any letters in that section. The owner has flattened that
area and supplied the above second image that confirms that the
expected letters are present.
The hand seems consistent with a
first or second century CE date, although this bears further
exploration. The text was purchased as part of a group of eleven
miscellaneous fragments by Alexander Mihaylovich (artist, Los Angeles
17 Nov 2005, item #7365384513
on eBay. Its original provenance is unknown.