POxy logo fish POxy: Oxyrhynchus Online

Oxyrhynchus City

The Papyri

Search Papyri by P.Oxy. number
(e.g. 0854)

Search Papyri by P.Oxy. author, title, or editor



Location Lists


Contact Us

Image Requests


Copyright and Credits

Search entire site

P.Oxy. LXIX 4708

A papyrus from Oxryhynchus in Middle Egypt now in the Sackler Library, University of Oxford has now been identified as containing elegiac verses of the seventh century BC poet Archilochus. The fragments, uncovered in 1897, came from the same papyrus roll as two other previously published papyri (P.Oxy. VI 854 and XXX 2507) both of which also contain elegiac verses by Archilochus. This text, which narrates a pre-Trojan War battle between the Greeks and and Telephus king of Mysia, is the first known instance of a mythical narrative in elegiac verses from the Archaic period.

View the document   IMAGE OF FR.1 BACK

View the document   IMAGE OF FR.1 FRONT

View the document   GREEK TEXT of Fr.1

(A new reconstruction by Dirk Obbink of the critical text in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri vol. LXIX (2005) pp. 28-30)


'One doesn't have to call it weakness and cowardice, having to retreat, if it's under the compulsion of a god: no, we turned our backs to flee quickly: there exists a proper time for flight. Even once Telephus from Arcadia put to flight the great army of Argives, and they fled--indeed, so greatly was the fate of the gods routing them--powerful spear-men though they were. The fair-flowing river Kaikos and the plain of Mysia were stuffed with corpses as they fell. And being slain at the hands of the relentless man (Telephus), the well-greaved Achaeans turned-off with headlong speed to the shore of the much-resounding sea. Gladly did the sons of the immortals and brothers, whom Agamemnon was leading to holy Ilium to wage war, embark on their swift ships. On that occasion, because they had lost their way, they arrived at that shore. They set upon the lovely city of Teuthras, and there, snorting fury along with their horses, came in distress of spirit. For they thought they were attacking the high-gated city of Troy, but in fact they had their feet on wheat-bearing Mysia. And Heracles encountered them (the Argives), as he shouted to his brave-hearted son of Telephus, fierce and pitiless in cruel battle, who, inciting unfortunate flight in the Danaans, strove along on that occasion to gratify his father.'
Anatomy of a Book-roll
The new fragments have the same hand and format as: P.Oxy. XXX 2507 (Adesp. Eleg. 61 W.), elegiacs hesitantly ascribed by Lobel to Archilochus (line 10 could be restored as Archil. fr. 1.2, but the preceding line is different from fr. 1.1) and P.Oxy. VI 854, containing line-beginnings overlapping (at vv. 6-9) a passage ascribed by Athenaeus 483d to Archilochos en elegeiois (fr. 4 W.).

The hand was identified by W. B. Henry (see Bibliography). All three fragments have on their fronts the same cursive writing (accounts). Thus it may be concluded that:

  1. Adesp. Eleg. 61 W. is by Archilochus, who used line 10 = fr. 1.2 (or a variation thereof) over again in that poem.
  2. P.Oxy. VI 854, XXX 2507 and the new fragment belong to a single book consisting of poems by Archilochus in the elegiac metre, according to the attested ancient grouping of his poems into books by metres, and that it was coextensive with an edition of Archilochus cited by ancient authors as en tois elegeiois (Athen. 483d, Orion Etym. col. 55.22 Sturz, and Et. Gen. s.v. epirhesis I all cite from it in this form).
  3. This was an extensive critical edition equipped with coronides, paragraphoi, accents, variant readings, and critical marginal signs.

[click here for image of P.Oxy. XXX 2507 Back]
[click here for image of P.Oxy. XXX 2507 Front]
[movable image of XXX 2507 (Back) [may not be available in certain browsers]]
[movable image of XXX 2507 (Front) [may not be available in certain browsers]]

[click here for Applet displaying Greek Text of XXX 2507]

Browser requirements for Applets: Mac: Mozilla Firefox; Safari (1.20 or better); Windows: Internet Explorer 6.0; Netscape 7.2

[click here for image of VI 854 (Back]
[click here for image of VI 854 (Front)]
[movable image of VI 854 (Back) [may not be available in certain browsers]]
[movable image of VI 854 (Front) [may not be available in certain browsers]]

[click here for Applet displaying Greek text of VI 854]

Greek Text and Papyrus Image Display Options

Browser requirements for Applets: Mac: Mozilla Firefox; Safari (1.20 or better); Windows: Internet Explorer 6.0; Netscape 7.2

  1. This site includes on-line features to enable several options for display of image and text. In addition to standard web-page display, the links also enable showing of movable HTML pages and of embedded Java applets showing Greek text. Try out each link and button by clicking it. The use of these features will not harm your computer.
  2. The movable pages can be dragged with the mouse and set next to another papyrus image for purposes of comparison. To move an image, open the movable image, left-click on it, and keeping the mouse depressed, drag it to the desired location.
  3. The Java applet links will take you to pages where you can adjust the quality of the papyrus image, flip the image over, and set the font and size of the Greek text, apparatus criticus, and translation as you desire.
  4. The Applets are prototypes. More features may be added later.
  5. When you click on the link to the Applet, the Applet may take a few moments to load. A web security certificate form may appear. If the certificate identifies the Imaging Papyri Project at the University of Oxford, click "Yes" to accept.
  6. To adjust the font type, click on the "Set Font" button and select the font type from the menu.
  7. To adjust the font size, click on the button set to the number "14" immediately to the right of the "Set Font" button.
  8. Image quality can be adjusted in either one of two ways: (1) via the Slider controls on the left and right of the image; (2) via the "Re-adjust Image" button on the control menu.
  9. The text of some of the hexametrical lines may wrap in the underlying display window. To view them in their full extent without the wrapping, either reduce the size of the font or click on the "Wide Text" button on the menu. The window that pops up may be dragged to a new location, or resized as desired.

[Link to Page 2]