Monday, February 3, 2014

The Sappho Papyrus

It would be interesting to know the full and authenticated collecting history of the new Sappho Papyrus fragment that is due to be published in ZPE by Professor Dirk Obbink from Oxford (see press release from Christ Church). A news report (James Romm, "Scholars Discover New Poems from Ancient Greek Poetess Sappho", Daily Beast January 28, 2014) suggests:
The new Sappho papyrus probably came from Egypt and perhaps from Oxyrynchus, but its provenance may never be known. A thriving black market for papyri means that many of them emerge not from archaeological digs but from souks, bazaars and antiquities shops.
Part of the collecting history is known (but not made public): it is owned by an anonymous collector. Where and when did this anonymous collector acquire the fragment? When did it leave Egypt?

The online preprint (to ZPE 189 [2014]) is no longer available. However a translation by Tim Whitmarsh is available from The Guardian and another by Steve Dodson.

ZPE was also due to be the place of publication for the Fordham mosaics apparently derived from a Christian church in Syria. In 2012 there was debate about a new papyrus fragment from a German collection.

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David Gill said...

See also the discussion on "Bread and Circuses" here.

Francesca Tronchin said...

Thank you so much for adding your voice to the (slowly) mounting level of concern over this publication of "new fragments."


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