Sunday, April 17, 2005

Oxyrhynchus Update

A friend pointed me toward this expanded article on the latest developments. Here's an excerpt:

The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye - decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view. Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a "second Renaissance".

Get ready, kids. Looks like we up-and-comers will one day have our hands full editing new OCTS and commentaries. Whay intrigues me most is this lost epic of Archilochus. Is that a typo?

Here's someone's translation of the fragment of Sophocles' Epigonoi:

Speaker A: . . . gobbling the whole, sharpening the flashing iron.

Speaker B: And the helmets are shaking their purple-dyed crests, and for the wearers of breast-plates the weavers are striking up the wise shuttle's songs, that wakes up those who are asleep.

Speaker A: And he is gluing together the chariot's rail.

'In summation I have only one question: Is Latin dead?' -- Max Fisher

Well, maybe. But Greek is doing just fine.


Bret Mulligan said...

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume the "the epic Archilochus" is the narrative elegy on the Trojan War (the afore-posted P.Oxy. LXIX 4708).

Still, the potential rewards of applying these technologies to ancient texts is mind-blowingly cool.

eric said...

as a rejoinder to mr. fisher--if new excavations were permitted at the villa of the papyri, perhaps some more new latin texts (along many greek tomes) would be forthcoming, too!