Thursday, November 06, 2014


P. Oxy. 8

Not all of the poems in Kenneth Rexroth, Poems from the Greek Anthology. Expanded Edition...Introduction by David Mulroy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999; rpt. 2002), come from the Greek Anthology. Mulroy helpfully identified the sources of most of the 111 poems translated by Rexroth in an Index (pp. 113-114), but 10 of the 111 were marked as unidentified. Otto Steinmayer, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2000.11.06, filled in the blanks and tracked down the sources of most of these hitherto unidentified poems. Perhaps someday someone will publish an edition of Rexroth's Poems from the Greek Anthology with the Greek and Latin texts on facing pages.

Here is Rexroth's poem number 4, on p. 4:
Among the dead we come
To great Demeter, nine
Of us, all virgins, each
Of us dressed in lovely
Robes, dressed in lovely robes,
And each of us with a
Splendid necklace of
Lustrous carved ivory.

Steinmayer identified this as J.U. Powell, Collectanea Alexandrina (1925; rpt. Chicago: Ares Publishers, 1981), p. 186 (non vidi; I added ἐν νεκύεσσι to Steinmayer's quotation because Rexroth translated it):
                                                               ἐν νεκύεσσι
ἤνθομεν ἐς μεγάλας Δαμάτερος ἐννέ' ἐάσσαι
παίσαι παρθενικαί, παίσαι καλὰ ἔμματ' ἐχοίσαι,
καλὰ μὲν ἔμματ' ἐχοίσαι, ἀριπρεπέαι δὲ καὶ ὄρμως
πριστῶ ἐξ ἐλέφαντος, ἰδῆν ποτεοίκοτας ἄστρῳ.
The text was originally published as P.Oxy. 8 (now at Harvard University, Houghton Library, inv. SM 2211) and is number 1889 in Roger Pack's Index of Greek and Latin Literary Texts from Greco-Roman Egypt. It is perhaps most easily accessible in J.M. Edmonds' Loeb Classical Library edition of Lyra Graeca, vol. III (London: William Heinemann, 1927), pp. 420-421. For a recent discussion see Alessandro Pardini, "Problemi dialettali greci ed interpretazioni antiche e moderne: P.S.I. 1090 (Erinna); P. Oxy. 8 (Anonimo), P. Antinoë s.n. (Teocrito)," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 85 (1991) 1–7 (2-4 = "Il grammatico di P.Oxy. 8").

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