ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 29-32
Hexameters from Late Antiquity
with a Homeric Allusion
Chris Eckerman University of Oregon
Edition of a sixth-century fragment of a poem with an allusion to
Homer, Iliad 2.489. The hexameter poem was likely an encomium
from Late Antiquity.
P.Vindob. G. 42.850 H x W = ca. 29 x 7 cm VI AD
Written on the recto with the fibers. Three lines of tachygraphy on the
verso, also written with the fibers, in different hands, to judge from the ink. The
recto preserves legible fragments of seven hexameters and illegible fragments
of five more. For most of the top half of the papyrus only the vertical fibers are
intact, and one more hexameter is completely gone. There is a large blank space
at the bottom (ca. half the height of the sheet; not in the photo). It is unclear
whether the top is preserved. The provenance is unknown.
The text does not come from a codex since there is tachygraphy on the
back. Since the recto has a large bottom margin and the text contains lectional
aids, the preserved passage may be from a school exercise. The hand is too
fluent for a pupil, however; perhaps it was a copy made by a master. The hand
is sloping and roughly comparable to the hands of plates 32 and 33 (mid to
late sixth century) in G. Cavallo and H. Maehler, Greek Bookhands of the Early
Byzantine Period (London 1987).
Given morphological forms noted in the line commentary below, the text
should be classified as late antique.1 The fragment edited here makes a modest
contribution to our knowledge of late antique hexametric poetry. Of particular interest are the sporadic lectional aids in the text.2 The text is likely to be
1 On late antique poetry in Egypt, see most recently L. Migudlez Cavero, Poems in
Context: Greek Poetry in the Egyptian Thebaid (Berlin and New York 2008).
2 Cf. E.G. Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World, 2nd ed. (Oxford 1987)