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Oxyrhynchus: A City and its Texts, Virtual Exhibition: Scribes and Scholars

Alcman, Partheneia: late first century BC or early first AD

Oxyrhynchus produced few literary papyri written as early as Ibycus’ encomium of Polycrates and this roll containing the ‘Second’ Partheneion (Maidens’ Song) of Alcman. Written in elegant upright capitals of medium size, the papyrus is equipped with punctuation, accents, apostrophes, tremata, and even marks of long and short quantities for use in scanning the lyric metre and reading it aloud. In the top margin, a scholar of the first century AD recorded a debate between the scholars Aristonicus and Ptolemy about the correct position of the poem in the official edition of the poems of Alcman:

‘This one (viz. poem) is inserted by editors in ... copies in the fifth [book of Alcman] ... and within that [book] it was marked by brackets in Aristonicus’ copy (as misplaced here), but not in Ptolemy’s’.

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri vol. XXIV no. 2387