A comprehension exercise

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mwh
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A comprehension exercise

Post by mwh » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:01 pm

εϲτόλιϲενμε[ . .]αφαροϲανεψιοϲ
αιολουιπ[ .]οταδα·καθ[ . .]αιϲδετα
νυϲϲἐπα[ . . .]εϲ
ϲιπυρανδ[ ̣ ̣]αμεμβλε[ .]ονεκρωι
c.9 ]εριμάκεαϲο[ .]ουϲ
c.9 ]ίαϲεριδὰ[

It’s a papyrus fragment, obviously. I don’t expect anyone to make complete sense of it, but it could be fun to see what you can make of it and if you can tell what’s going on.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:31 pm

This is a nice challenge but a difficult one, and I need to go to sleep. This is just a start. Maybe I got something right? This just might feature a ship being equipped - my wild guess.

ἐστολισεν με [ . .]αφαροϲ ανεψιοϲ
αιολου ιπ[ .]οταδα·καθ[εδρα]αιϲ δ᾽ ετανυϲϲ
ἐπα[ . . .]εϲ
ϲιπυρανδ[ ̣ ̣]α μεμβλε[το] νεκρωι
c.9 ]ίαϲεριδὰ[

... cousin equipped me
nimble/shiny .... stretched on (rower's?) seats
...
... cared for the dead body (had a thought for the dead person?)
...

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:32 pm

mwh wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:01 pm
εϲτόλιϲενμε[ . .]αφαροϲανεψιοϲ
αιολουιπ[ .]οταδα·καθ[ . .]αιϲδετα
νυϲϲἐπα[ . . .]εϲ
ϲιπυρανδ[ ̣ ̣]αμεμβλε[ .]ονεκρωι
c.9 ]εριμάκεαϲο[ .]ουϲ
c.9 ]ίαϲεριδὰ[

It’s a papyrus fragment, obviously. I don’t expect anyone to make complete sense of it, but it could be fun to see what you can make of it and if you can tell what’s going on.
Words I think I recognize (assuming no word division):

1. ἐστόλισέν με... ἄφαρ ὅς ἀνέψιος?
2. αἰόλου from αἰόλος?
4. πῦρ and ἀνδ- from ἀνήρ, νεκρῷ?
5. οὕς
6. ἔριδα from ἔρις?

Somewhere in the ballpark, even if out in left field?
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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by mwh » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:07 pm

You guys should be papyrologists! Paul’s made an excellent start but I don’t think it’s anything to do with ships. When he wakes up I fancy he may be able to get further, unless it’s all solved by then, which I take leave to doubt. Barry, ἀνέψιος and νεκρῷ, yes! You do well to try to sort out the articulation, since we have to figure out for ouselves where the word divisions are. It’s especially tough with letters missing, as here.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:14 am

There seem to be some epic or perhaps Aeolic forms:
δ᾽ ετανυϲϲ' ἐπ'
μεμβλε[τ]ο νεκρωι
Maybe -εϲϲι (dat pl.) πυραν?

εϲτόλιϲεν με is puzzling. If εϲτόλιϲεν is 3rd sing. aor. of στολιζω, why the ν? Must be the end of a line of verse.

αιολου ιπ[π]οταδα -- Aeolus was the son of Hippotas. (I actually found this in Wikipedia). So the Doric or Aeolic patroymic would be Hippotadas and this would be Doric or Aeolic genitive. Aeolus son of Hippotαs.

Did Aeolus' cousin dress someone's corpse in a cloak (φαρος)? The LSJ entry for στολιζω:
2. equip, dress, “τινὰ πέπλοις” Anacreont.15.29;
καθ[αρ]αιϲ?

πυραν might be "funeral pyre".

Seems to be a funeral going on.

I cant make head or tail of the last two lines. If εριδὰ is from ερις, why is it marked with a grave accent?

Could this be a new fragment of Sappho or Alcaeus?

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:40 am

Honestly, I wrote my previous post before the light-bulb lit up: mythology in Doric/epic verse must be Steisichorus! It's Fr. 247(Davies & Finglass).

I could have found Αιολος Ιπποταδης and Αιολος Ιπποταδαο in Odyssey 10.2 and 10.36.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by jeidsath » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:53 am

Not having looked at the others:

ἐστόλισεν μὲν ὁ ἄφαρος ἀνεψιὸς
Αἴολου Ἱππόταδαo, καθαραῖς δ᾽ ἐτά-
νυσσ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἅλικεσ-
σι πῦρ ἀνδρί ἃ μέμβλετο νεκρῷ
c.9 π]εριμάκεα σο[φ?]ουϲ
c.9 μυρ]ίας ἔριδα[ς

Obviously it falls apart after the first line, though I'm curious now what actually fits there. ἄνδρεσσι could fit where I've put ἅλικεσσι, but it doesn't agree with καθαραῖς. But I can't tell what is right or wrong in that sentence, so it doesn't matter.

EDIT: Hylander, can you post the Steisichorus? I don't have access to any books right now. Maybe it deserves "SPOILER" tags.

EDIT2: Instead of πῦρ ἀνδρί, what about πυρ᾽ ἀνδρί? This way τὰ πυρά agrees with the following ἃ.

EDIT3: And maybe καθ᾽ ὅσαις instead of καθαραῖς. While I think I can understand a πυρά τανύει onto an ἀνδρί νεκρῷ, I don't understand what could be ἐπὶ with that. I'll check the tlg.

EDIT4: Oh, ἐπιτανύω

EDIT5: My best guess for the first lines: The naked [body of the] nephew of Aeolus son of Hippotes is dressed, and the funeral fire that cares for a corpse has spread upon the man, [set by?] pure maidens of the same age.

(Hylander, I know that ἐτάνυσσ᾽ is aorist with a subject of the nephew. I wrote "is dressed" because it seems to be used absolutely here to describe an effect. I could be wrong, of course. But it's not because I can't see an aorist.)

EDIT6: Tools used:

1. I had all the LSJ headwords in a list already, and used this code to search them with regexes.

Code: Select all

def checkpat(pat):
  output = []
  for kk in LSJ_HEADWORDS.keys():
    if re.match(pat, kk) != None:
      output.append(kk)
  return output
2. TLG wildcard search was very helpful.

3. Searching through a .txt version of the LSJ with ctrl-F was also helpful.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by mwh » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:56 pm

Hylander was pretty well spot on, even before the light-bulb lit up and he realized it must be Stesichorus. I live for such light-bulb moments, though they are always hard-won.

The papyrus was first published as POxy.3876 (with plates I-III). Here’s the text of these bits as printed by Finglass. I suppress sublinear dots under uncertain letters, though in some cases the letters are very uncertain indeed, since the papyrus is in wretched condition.

ἐϲτόλιϲεν μέ[γ]α φᾶρος ἀνεψιὸς
Αἰόλου Ἱπ[π]οτάδα· καθ[έϲ]αιϲ δ’ ἐτά-
νυϲϲ<εν> ἐπ’ ἀι[όν]εϲ-
ϲι, πυρὰν δ’ ὅ [γ]α μέμβλε[τ]ο νεκρῶι
…,
translated as “the cousin of Aeolus, son of Hippotes, dressed him in a great shroud. Setting him down, he laid him out on the shore. He took care … a pyre for the corpse.”

So yes, it’s a funerary scene. Aeolus’ cousin tends the corpse and sets about the pyre. Who is Aeolus’ cousin? Lloyd-Jones proposed Odysseus! And who is the corpse? Someone proposed Achilles. But I’ve shot down both proposals, and the identities are still in doubt.

There’s doubt too about the reconstruction of the text itself in places.
I don’t think καθ[έϲ]αιϲ (Doric for καθέσας, aor.pple.) can be right, and prefer καθ[αρ]αῖς, as Hylander and Joel suggested. Its noun will be ἀιόνεϲϲι (recovered with great difficulty, but unquestioned), which I take to mean linens, as in an ode of Bacchylides (17.112, ἅ νιν ἀμφέβαλεν ἀιόνα πορφυρέαν), rather than a shore. “he stretched him out on clean linens.”

For the next two lines I’ve suggested
[ποιεῖϲθαι π]εριμάκεαϲ ὄ[ζ]ουϲ
[ναήϲαιϲ μελ]ίαϲ τ’ ἐριδα[νούϲ,
“(he took care of) making (the pyre for the corpse,) heaping up long branches and dry ash-trees.” But that’s only conjectural. I see I omitted the tau after μελ]ίαϲ in my transcript, which is crucial. Sorry about that.

All comments/queries/suggestions welcome.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:16 pm

mwh:

There are two things (among others) that puzzle me.

1. Why the moveable -ν at the end of ἐϲτόλιϲεν? Simply metri gratia, to preserve the generally dactylic meter? I'm not sure I've seen anything like that before. Or could it be the end of a verse -- but wouldn't that result in anapests? Do the line ends in the papyrus correspond to verse ends in the text? Would the scribe have understood the meter well enough to recognize verse ends in any case?

2. ἐτάνυϲϲ<εν> -- to avoid hiatus the extra syllable needs to be added -- again, moveable -ν -- not by elision, as I erroneously thought. I take it there's no indication in the ms. that the syllable is missing. Is this simply an error in the ms.? And how would the error be explained?

If anyone is wondering, γα is Doric for γε.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:26 pm

One suggestion is let's do it again. When I got back to it, I discovered my best guesses already taken, but more than worth the effort figuring out.
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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:13 pm

Yes, another one! The last one came too late in the evening for me to really get into it...

Actually I thought about ιπποταδα, it felt somehow familiar, but it couldn't make sense out of it and couldn't find it in with Google or in LSJ, so I thought it was impossible...

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by mwh » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:50 pm

Hylander,
I admit I wasn’t troubled by the movable nu “making position” (as they used to say). Perhaps I should have been. I must have looked into the matter at some point in the past, but I no longer remember. I certainly wouldn’t have expected verse end here. If necessary however we could adjust the colometry. The colometrization of Stesichorus’ poems is ancient and consistent and generally acceptable, though not always. A single verse (or period) can extend over more than one line of text.

ἐτάνυϲϲ<εν> was my conjecture, purely to preserve the otherwise wholly dactylic (or dactylo-anapestic) meter. There’s no other objection to the given text; it would simply be ordinary elision. It’s an easy enough slip for a copyist to make, virtually haplographic: ΕΝΕΠ > ΕΠ. It’s definitely a smooth breathing written above the epsilon, not an elision mark before it.

ὅ [γ]α is doubtful, but I see no better alternative. The trace is minimal but I think ἄ[ρ]α is excluded, as well as Luppe’s ἅ[μ]α.

And the “other” things that puzzle you?

Paul,
Yes in light of Odyssey 10 I figured you’d get Αιολου Ιπποταδα, if only you hadn’t gone to bed.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:26 pm

And the “other” things that puzzle you?
"Puzzle" is not quite the right word. I was wondering, like everyone else, who Aeolus' cousin was, whose body was about to be burned, what the immediate context is, and what longer epos this might have come from.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:43 pm

mwh wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:50 pm
Hylander,
I admit I wasn’t troubled by the movable nu “making position” (as they used to say). Perhaps I should have been. I must have looked into the matter at some point in the past, but I no longer remember. I certainly wouldn’t have expected verse end here. If necessary however we could adjust the colometry. The colometrization of Stesichorus’ poems is ancient and consistent and generally acceptable, though not always. A single verse (or period) can extend over more than one line of text.
Consider also that in the manuscripts, particularly if being copied by later scribes, spelling variations are not uncommon (in addition to all the other text critical issues that can happen). That a nu movable might be included in a later copy of a manuscript would not be unexpected.
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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by mwh » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:02 pm

Hylander wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:26 pm
I was wondering, like everyone else, who Aeolus' cousin was, whose body was about to be burned, what the immediate context is, and what longer epos this might have come from.
Well, yes. And will we ever know? But some thoughts:

The corpse. There are indications, not at all secure, that this is a body that’s washed ashore. That had me thinking of other found drowned bodies, and in particular of Aeneid 6, where the Cumaean sybil effectively tells Aeneas he has to give Misenus a proper burial, described in some detail. There Misenus is rather oddly referred to as Aeolides (simply because he was a trumpeter??), and here in Stesichorus his corpse is attended to by Aeolus’ cousin. Mere coincidence? It’s all terribly complicated, but it’s an idea, and it would be nice to find Vergil drawing on Stesichorus.

Aeolus’ cousin. If a named individual, conceivably Pentathlos, mentioned in Diodorus (5.9) as descended from Hippotes, and I think a good candidate (cf. Pausanias 10.11.3). I'm surprised Finglass didn't pick up on him. But that’s just too complicated to go into.

The larger context. I wonder if it’s about Odysseus’ western wanderings. (Are we at Cape Misenum?) There are multiple other fragments of this papyrus, several of which are suggestive of travels in the West. But it seems not all the fragments come from the same poem. (So maybe a bunch of papyri, not just one, though all apparently in the same hand; a single Stesichorean poem would evidently have filled at least one roll.) That makes for still more difficulties.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by cb » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:29 am

Hi mwh, you've initiated another great discussion here, many thanks.

Can I please ask how a professional papyrologist would have tackled the challenge you posed at the beginning of the thread? Do you take in all the details at once—the metrical endings, the spelling patterns, and other properties—thinking about it in a sort of organic way (as you mentioned a while ago you do in the context of iambic verse: viewtopic.php?t=65172)? Or do you instead focus on a particular feature (e.g. the initial verb) and do concordance and other studies from there?

I'm not looking for a mechanistic procedure to follow (which I assume doesn't exist). I'm just interested in how experts do what they do, and I don't think I've read yet about how a papyrologist might tackle a task like this. Thanks again.

Cheers, Chad

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:55 am

Here's a link to the portion of POxy. 3876. The fragment we've been looking at is No. 62.

http://163.1.169.40/gsdl/collect/POxy/i ... .hires.jpg

I can make out αιολου ιπ[π]οταδα and some of the rest.

No doubt the original papyrus fragment is somewhat easier to read than the on-line image.

I too would be interested in learning a little about the process of transcribing and attempting to glean an understanding of the writing on the papyrus.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by mwh » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:21 am

Hi Chad, You’re right there's no set procedure. My own rule is always to start where it’s easiest. I think with a piece like this—and in general—you just take in all that you can and try to integrate it. Here the meter helps (that rules out a lot right off the bat), and the dialect, and (most important) the language and style (distinctly reminiscent of Homer’s but different). You can tell at a glance that it’s a literary verse text (the uneven line lengths, if nothing else), seemingly archaic or a good imitation, and everything points to Stesichorus (or possibly Ibycus, less likely). You assume it all makes sense, and try to figure out what it’s all about. I don’t hesitate to look things up, but mostly I rely on what I know of Greek and of Greek literature (and even Latin), at least for the initial reconstruction. Most of it falls readily into place, but as we’ve seen, not quite all! But the main task is to produce a reliable transcript, something easier said than done. (I transcribed one scrap upside down!)

Hylander, thanks for posting the image, which in many ways is actually easier to read than the original, and best of all it can be enlarged. The script is an informal one, considerably smaller than average, practised but with no calligraphic pretensions, obviously the work of a professional copyist. There are a number of indications that the text was collated against another manuscript, and some variant readings have been entered above the line or in the margin. (In our piece it looks as if εϲτέλιϲεν was originally written, corrected to –ο-.) It’s clearly a scholar’s manuscript. The dating (2nd cent. CE) is purely palaeographical, based on painstaking comparison with other manuscripts, a few of them with relatively firm dates.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by cb » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:46 am

Thank you!

Cheers, Chad

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:12 pm

Yes, thanks to mwh for posting this exercise in the first place, and then sharing his unique expertise with informative background on the fragment itself and on the process of extracting meaning from it.

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Re: A comprehension exercise

Post by Hylander » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:56 pm

From reading a bit in the comprehensive edition of Stesichorus' fragments by Davies and Finglass (which like so many other books scattered throughout my house has been waiting patiently for my attention), I'm impressed by the extent to which our knowledge of this important but fragmentary poet owes to the personal efforts of mwh himself.

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