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© Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg, Best. 340 Grimm Nr. Z 49 
aus 
JS TEXT OE TUE 
Mr. Grenfell, who has been exploring in 
Egypt last winter, brought last week to Dub 
lin tho many fragments he bad discovered 
and transcribed, and among them are seve 
ral passages in iambics, one in anapests, and 
some in prose, which he has not yet been 
able to assign to any known Greek author. 
There is one prose passage so like Plato in 
style that it seems hardly possible it can be 
long to any one else. But we have not yet 
identified it. These fragments are in very 
old hands, as old as the classical fragments 
in the Petrie papyri, and therefore dating 
from early in the third century u, c., per 
haps even earlier. Every syllable we can re 
cover of Greek writing so ancient as this 
has, at any rate, a great palaeographical in 
terest. But there are a good many of these 
fragments representing an early copy of some 
books of the Iliad—I hesitate to say the whole 
Iliad, from the size of the writing. For the 
professional book hands of this date are (so 
far as we know) much smaller. The frag 
ments in Mr. Grenfell’s possession amount 
to about eighty lines or parts of lines, and 
come from various books, iv., viii., xxi., 
xxii., and xxiii. There ia no doubt what 
ever that the writing is of the earliest bind 
we know and thus undoubtedly dates from 
before the days of the Alexandrian critics. 
To me, therefore, who published the first 
scrap of such a text in the Petrie papyri, it 
was naturally of the highest interest to learn 
whether the newly discovered text presented 
the same peculiarities. 
It will be remembered that the former 
scrap from the eleventh book showed begin 
nings and endings of lines not an 
our texts, and this so frequently as to 
amount to a surplus of one-sixth. Mr. Gren 
fell had already examined his fragments from 
this point of view, and showed me that out 
of about eighty lines thirteen are not to be 
found in our vulgate. The conclusion, there 
fore, which 1 had drawn, that before the re 
cension by the Alexandrian critics the Iliad 
presented a very different appearance, is.here 
by confirmed, in spite of the adverse criti 
cism of some learned Germans. They held 
that the Petrie text was an accidentally bad 
and slovenly copy with manv variations from 
the texts received even in fhit day. In the 
face of the new discovery 1 am disposed to 
maintain my original conclusion, and now 
prophesy that whatever new texts of the 
Iliad, in hand-writing of this great age, are 
hereafter found, the additional lines will 
amount to 15 per cent, I may not be right 
in every case, for in the present group of 
fragments those from the twenty-first book 
show hardly any departures from our text, 
but the general result will, I believe, cor 
roborate the facts now ascertained. When 
Mr. Grenfell publishes these fragments, the 
critics will have ample opportunity of exam 
ining this interesting question. 
We already possess a very large number of 
specimens of the Hind from the second to the 
fourth century a. d. Every year adds to 
them. But they all represent (discounting 
mere blunders) the vulgate text of our print 
ed editions. The solitary exception is the Ge 
nevan fragment published by Prof. Nicole. 
This has many additional lines like the old 
texts, but a glance at the writing will snow 
any palæographer that it must have been writ 
ten (in the second century a. d. ) three or 
four hundred years after the pre-AIexandrine 
fragments. The considerable variants in this 
fragment show that the old, perhaps loose 
and prolix, text still survived. It affords us. 
at all events, a third witness to the fact, and 
makes it well-nigh impossible to deny thai 
the labors of Aristarchus and his great pre-? 
■ decessors were not so conservative ns has usu- ; 
ally been assumed.—[Prof. J. P. Mahafl'y in 
London Athenæum, **
	        

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