Home » Language/Literature, Research Symposium » Abstract: POxy XXX 2513: Iphigenia in the Corinthiaca of Eumelus

Abstract: POxy XXX 2513: Iphigenia in the Corinthiaca of Eumelus

In a previous essay (Debiasi 2003) I perused an epic fragment, preserved in POxy LIII 3698, containing hexameters of Argonautic subject, which I argued to be early, by providing some pieces of evidence for an attribution to the Corinthiaca of Eumelus of Corinth. POxy LIII 3698 presents both an external appearance and palaeographic characteristics corresponding to those of POxy XXX 2513 (edited by Lobel 1964, 13-15) similarly consisting of remnants of hexameters featuring an Homeric tincture. As the editor of POxy LIII 3698 (Haslam 1986, 10-15) pointed out, the papyrus proves to be “written in the same hand of XXX 2513 and apparently from the same manuscript… the physical appearance of the two fragments is so similar as to leave little doubt that they are parts of one and the same manuscript, one would guess from the same vicinity”.

POxy XXX 2513 has been investigated by Janko 1982, who recognized in the fragment a scene of the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis and traced it back tentatively to the cyclic epic Cypria. Such ascription needs to be revised in the light of the apparent belonging of the lines in POxy LIII 3698 to the Corinthiaca: from this perspective an equal attribution of POxy XXX 2513 to Eumelus’ epic is the most economical and advisable approach by far.

On occasion of the CHS Annual Research Symposium, to be held on April 27-28 2012, I intend to propose a novel analysis of POxy XXX 2513, and to highlight various points consistent with an ascription to Eumelus.

The figure of Iphigenia fits very well in the genealogical frame informing the  Corinthiaca, in which the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemestra must be a descendant of Sisyphus, the ruler of Corinth, since in Eumelus’ poem Sisyphus’ son Glaucus is Iphighenia’s great-grandfather, being the natural father of Clytaemestra’s mother Leda (Eum. fr. 7 Bernabé = Cor. fr. 8 Davies = fr. 25 West). The Trojan saga, with its premises and developments, reinterpreted from a Corinthian point of view, turns out to be meaningful for Eumelus, who cannot have neglected it in his ‘Corinthian Epic Cycle’ (West 2002; cf. Debiasi 2004 and 2005).

Based on some textual parallelisms with passages from Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris, as well as from Lycophron (Alex. 183-201) and Nonnus of Panopolis (Dion. 13.104-119), a reading of POxy XXX 2513 will be offered, which considers not only the episode of Iphigenia at Aulis but also the development where Iphigenia moves to Tauris and becomes a priestess sacrificing strangers.

I will also point out a few analogies, both formal and thematic, between POxy LIII 3698 and POxy XXX 2513, as well as some parallelisms and common denominators – first of all the Pontic background, of paramount interest to Eumelus – between the Argonautic saga involving Medea and Jason and the vicissitudes of Iphigenia and Orestes.

 

REFERENCES:

 

Debiasi 2003: A. Debiasi, “POxy LIII 3698: Eumeli Corinthii fragmentum novum?”, ZPE 143: 1-5.

Debiasi 2004: A. Debiasi, L’epica perduta. Eumelo, il Ciclo, l’occidente, Roma.

Debiasi 2005: A. Debiasi, “Eumeli Corinthii fragmenta neglecta?”, ZPE 153: 43-58.

Janko 1982: R. Janko, “P. Oxy. 2513: Hexameters on the Sacrifice of Iphigeneia?”, ZPE 49: 25-29.

Haslam 1986: M. W. Haslam, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, LIII, London 1986.

Lobel 1964: E. Lobel, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, XXX, London.

West 2002: M. L. West, “‘Eumelos’: a Corinthian Epic Cycle?”, JHS 122: 109-133.

About Andrea Debiasi

Andrea Debiasi (Ph.D. University of Rome “La Sapienza”) is the author of two monographs on early Greek epic: L’epica perduta. Eumelo, il Ciclo, l’occidente (2004) and Esiodo e l’occidente (2008), both published by L’Erma di Bretschneider (Rome), focusing on some lost epic poems (Eumelus, the Epic Cycle) and Hesiod, respectively. He is associate editor of Hespería. Studi sulla grecità di occidente. His areas of research include Greek history (contacts and colonization of the western Mediterranean Sea, regional history of Euboea, Boeotia, Corinth) and literature, where historical and philological analysis are combined, with a particular emphasis on the Greek poetic production: archaic (epic, lyric), Hellenistic (Callimachus, Euphorion, Lycophron), and late antique poetry (Nonnus of Panopolis). At the CHS he will work on a commented edition of Eumelus of Corinth by gathering and organizing the material, as well as preparing the ‘Prolegomena’ and ‘Paralegomena’.

Leave a Reply