Papyrus Fragments



χειρ.[ ἰδὲ γάρ, ὦ Ζ[εὖ] ξέ[νιε] ν[]  [ τ]ὸν ξενοόκον καταϲ[  ]ϲτιν χάρι ν [εο]ϲ 5ἀν][ά]ϲι τοῖϲ δικαίοιϲ(;) sοίγαρ κ[ατα]ρϲ[ κόμαϲ [ἀ]ιδεῖ χε[ τόδ᾿ ἄν[υ]λον βρέγμα  []  [ δυρο[έν] ϲὸν πότμον γό[οιϲιν.]

[Remains of four more lines—vertically aligned with lines 2–5—followed by a horizontal stroke (παράγραφος).]

Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 2251

3 κατασκ[αφέντα] Snell 4 ἆρ᾿ ἐ]στιν Page 5 suppl. Webster 6 καταπρισσομ[ένα] Snell 7 χερ[ὶ] Snell: χερ[ῶν ἀκμᾷ] e.g. Radt 8 βρέγμα π[τάσσω] Snell: βρέγμα π[ήσσω] Bindzus 9 γό[οισιν] Snell

Papyrus Fragments



hand [ . . . ] See this, Z[eus god of] hos[pitality . . . ] the hospitable [house (?)] overt[hrown]! Is [there any] favour from the g[o]ds for righteous [m]e[n]? This is why, tear[ing] my hair with merciless hands,1 [I beat (?)] this miserable2 skull of mine, griev[in]g over your fate with lament[s]. [Remains of four more lines.]

A chorus of women lament the ruin of a man who had been noted for his hospitality and justice, and had apparently suffered as a result of these qualities. (It is clear that at least one death has occurred, but we cannot tell whether the victim is the hospitable man himself, or one or more members of his family, or both.) Perhaps the play was Cretan Women, and the hospitable man was Minos who had lost his young son Glaucus (on Minos’ reputation for justice, cf. Odyssey 11.568–571 and Plato, Apology 41a). Polyidus, the seer who discovered Glaucus’ body and later restored him to life, was a stranger in Crete (he was a Corinthian: see Iliad 13.663 and Pindar, Olympian 13.74–75), and in the play he may well have arrived there only shortly before the disappearance of Glaucus—and been blamed for it, and then for the boy’s death. Such a scenario would help to explain Minos’ demand—which looks as though it were designed to be an impossible one—that he should bring Glaucus back to life (or else forfeit his own?)

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aeschylus-probably_aeschylean_papyrus_fragments.2009