The “New Sappho” Reconsidered in the Light of the Athenian Reception of Sappho
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CitationNagy, Gregory, 2009. The “New Sappho” Reconsidered in the Light of the Athenian Reception of Sappho. In Classics@ Volume 4. ed. Ellen Greene and Marilyn Skinner. Cambridge: The Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University.
AbstractThe text of the “New Sappho,” found in a Cologne papyrus dated to the third century BCE (P.Köln inv. 21351 + 21376), is different from a later text of Sappho, found in an Oxyrhynchus papyrus dated to the second or third century CE (P.Oxy. 1787). In the two papyri, the songs of Sappho are evidently arranged in a different order. Both papyri contain fragments of three songs, but only the second of the three songs in each papyrus is the same. The other two songs in each papyrus are different from each other. The sameness of the second song in each papyrus is evident from an overlap between the wording of lines 9–20 in the earlier papyrus (Π1 in the working edition of Obbink) and of lines 11–22 in the later papyrus (Π2). But even this same song, which is about Tithonos, is not really the same in the two papyri. The text of Sappho’s “song of Tithonos” in the later papyrus is longer: after line 22, which corresponds to line 20 of the earlier papyrus, the song seems to keep going for another four lines, all the way through line 26, before a third song starts at line 27. By contrast, the text of Sappho’s “song of Tithonos” in the earlier papyrus is shorter: after line 20, there are no further lines for this song, and a third song starts at line 21. This difference between the two texts of Sappho’s “song of Tithonos” leads to a question: which of the texts is definitive—the shorter one or the longer one? In what follows, I will formulate an answer based on what we know about the reception of Sappho in Athens in the fifth century BCE.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42660031
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