Monday, May 23, 2005

OXYRHYNCHUS PAPYRI WATCH: I know that pointing out media errors regarding the Oxyrhynchus papyri story is starting to seem like shooting fish in a barrel, but I just can't let this one pass. Newsday has a piece that came from the Chicago Tribune (here's the link) and which covers the usual information, but includes this:
In the past few weeks alone, researchers have succeeded in deciphering a 70-line fragment from a lost tragedy by Sophocles and a 30-line fragment from Archilochos, a Greek soldier-poet who chronicled the Trojan Wars.

The Archilochos fragment confirms what scholars have long suspected: that the Greeks got lost on their way to invade Troy and mistakenly landed at place called Mysia. There they fought a battle, lost and had to regroup before heading off again for Troy.

The Archilochos fragment will be published later this month. The newly discovered lines from Sophocles are scheduled for publication in August.

Archilochus was a 7th century B.C.E. Greek elegiac poet. The fragment in question deals with legends about the Trojan War (which happened many centuries earlier, if the Greek legends have any historical basis), but the author of this article seems to think that Archilochus was a contemporary who left a firsthand chronicle behind which tells us about actual events leading up to the war. Sigh.

Incidentally, the Oxford project now has some pages up about the multispectral imaging techniques they've been using. Also, back in April Dirk Obbink published an e-mail message that cleared up at least some of the confusion about recent media coverage of the Oxyrhynchus material. I don't think I ever got around to linking to it, so here it is, posted on Rogue Classicism.

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