Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 48 (2011) 271-272
H. Maehler, C.E. Romer, and R. Hatzilambrou (eds.), The Oxyrhyn chus Papyri 75. Graeco-Roman Memoirs 96. London: The Egypt
Exploration Society, 2010. 164 pages + 12 plates. ISBN 978-0-85698 - 196-8.
P Oxy. 75 includes the work of graduate students at the University of
London and of participants in a Summer School in Papyrology at the same
university as well as the work of the editors themselves. The documentary texts
date from the first to the ninth century CE and encompass a wide variety of
types, including financial and legal documents, letters, party invitations, and
a list of names that is probably a school exercise.
This group of papyri contains a number of uncommon items worthy of
note. 5049 preserves first century CE prices for a number of items. 5050 dates
to the reign of Otho; there are very few texts from his short time in office.
A personal letter (5054) contains a rough breathing mark above an initial
omicron, a rarity in documentary papyri. A sixth century sale of wine (5069)
describes a party as a "black man and freedman"; sixth century references to
slaves occur infrequently, as do references to Africans (the editor presumes
that the freedman in question was a Nubian).
A third-century letter concerning a debtor (5062) is interesting for its
tone. In the letter, the creditors, a group of family members, are shocked by
the audacity of the debtor, as they claim that he is trying to evade his obligations by making false statements to various officials. Their exasperation with
the situation is evident in the papyrus' colorful vocabulary.
The editor of 5054 includes a long note on the meaning of the word rottov;
on this word, see also my article in BASP 45 (2008) 244-245, note to lines 9-10
(neither papyrus provides enough context for an authoritative definition of
This volume also contains several theological texts, including hymns written on parchment (5023-5024) and a rare late antique fragment of the book
of Judith (5020). Known literary texts include epic, lyric, and prose. 5029 preserves a passage of the Argonautica not otherwise attested on papyrus. 5032,
a second/third century fragment of the Iliad, preserves fragmentary marginalia. There are also two substantial fragments of oratorical prose by unknown
authors. 5025 is an Attic oration which seems to address historical events of
the fourth century BCE. The editor was unable to determine whether it is a
declamation or the account of an oration in a historical source.
The volume contains meticulous editions with full physical descriptions of
nearly all of the papyri themselves. While not all the texts are included in the
plates, high-resolution, color photographs are available at http://www.papyrol