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New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection

Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines

Cassandra Borges

Publication Year: 2012

New texts from Greek antiquity continue to emerge on scraps of papyrus from the sands of Egypt, not only adding to the surviving corpus of classical and Hellenistic literature, but also occasionally offering a glimpse into how these poems were studied in antiquity. New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection: Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines presents three such new texts: an innovative lyric poem on the Trojan cycle, a scholarly anthology of lyric verses, and a brief but enigmatic third text. Cassandra Borges and C. Michael Sampson offer the original Greek text of these pieces, along with their scholarly commentary, analyzing their features in a variety of contexts—historical, cultural, poetic, mythological, religious, and scholarly. The fragments collected here are of considerable antiquity (late third to second century BCE) a fact that is significant inasmuch as it places them among the oldest Greek papyri, but all the more so because in this period, a scholarly community was thriving in Ptolemaic Alexandria, the political and cultural capital of Hellenistic Egypt. The fragments bear witness to that scholarly activity: not only is their anthology of poetic verses consistent with other scholarly selections, but the very survival of these texts may well be at least partially indebted to the work of the Alexandrians in studying and propagating Greek literature in Egypt. This edition supplements the 1970s work of Reinhold Merkelbach and Denys Page. Recent digitizing for the APIS project revealed a previously unsuspected join with other material, however, which alone warrants a new, comprehensive edition and analysis.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: New Texts from Ancient Cultures


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Title Page, Copyright

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Abbreviations and Primary Texts

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pp. xv-xvii

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Introduction: Institutional History from Egypt to Partial Publication

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pp. 1-8

The discipline of papyrology, where archaeology and philology jostle each other for attention, has had perhaps more than its share of serendipity. It offers an unparalleled source of new texts outside the main manuscript traditions for the literary scholars of Greco-Roman antiquity to analyze...

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Part 1. A List of Lyric and Tragic Incipits: P.Mich. inv. 3498+3250b recto, 3250a and c recto

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pp. 9-35

The first of the rectos in this group to be edited, P.Mich. inv. 3498 recto, has had an unexpected series of effects on our readings of Greek lyric. It was published in 1973 by the late Reinhold Merkelbach as a “Verzeichnis von Gedichtanfangen.” As the title suggests, it contains an unusual list...

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Part 2. New Fragments of Euripidean Lyric: P.Mich. inv. 3498+3250b verso and P.Mich. inv. 3250c verso

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pp. 36-129

The complicated history of the fragments (as a set) has already been treated, so I here focus my attention on the specific case of the versos in question. P.Mich. inv. 3498 verso was originally published by Denys Page as a text in “lyrical verse” but has since been joined to the unpublished...

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Part 3. P.Mich. inv. 3250a verso

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pp. 130-146

P.Mich. 3250a verso is a problematic fragment for several reasons, chief among which are the poor condition of the papyrus (and so, accordingly, of its readings) and a curious paleographical peculiarity. Multispectral imaging has assisted greatly in ameliorating the former...


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pp. 147-152

Index Locorum

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pp. 153-165

General Index

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pp. 167-171

Image Plates

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pp. 173-180

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028160
E-ISBN-10: 0472028162
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118076
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118072

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 9 illustrations
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: New Texts from Ancient Cultures
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OCLC Number: 820172760
MUSE Marc Record: Download for New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection

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Subject Headings

  • Classical literature -- Manuscripts -- Catalogs.
  • Manuscripts, Classical (Papyri) -- Michigan -- Catalogs.
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