New Greek Texts From Oxyrhynchus
7pm to 8.30pm, Wednesday 24 June 2009
Convenors: Professor Eric Handley, CBE, FBA, University of Cambridge and Dr Dirk Obbink, University of Oxford
Speakers: Dr Dirk Obbink, Professor Peter Parsons, FBA, University of Oxford, and Dr Dorothy Thompson, FBA, University of Cambridge
Just over a hundred years ago, on a site some 100 miles south of Cairo, two Oxford scholars, on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Society, excavated some 50,000 pieces of ancient books and documents that had been discarded in the city dump, and had survived the centuries in the dry climate.
The excavators were Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt. They devoted successive seasons to their task between 1897 and 1907, and gave more years still to publishing some of their significant discoveries. The site, by its Greek name, is Oxyrhynchus—'The City of the Sharp-nosed Fish', as Peter Parsons calls it in the title of a much-admired book that appeared in 2007. More than seventy volumes of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri have so far been published. They continue to reveal texts of Greek literature otherwise lost to the modern world, together with fragments of Christian gospels, technical treatises, tax returns, petitions to the authorities, private letters, wills and a host of other documents that give a unique insight into the life of the city and the Greco-Roman civilization of which it was part.
The presentation evening offers an opportunity to preview some of the exciting new texts to come from Oxyrhynchus and to consider such questions as did Euripides write two versions of his play Medea? How do modern methods of image-making work to recover an unknown classical text? How much can a personal letter reveal of the world about the writer? There will also be an opportunity to hear something of the present state and future prospects of the Oxyrhynchus project as a whole. A compact display of papyri, photographs, and other relevant material will also be on view.
Please note our registration and seating policy:
1. This event is free of charge. There is no advance registration for this event and no tickets will be issued.
2. The rooms for this event will be open from 6.30pm onwards - please do not arrive at the Academy before this time.
3. The first 100 audience members arriving at the Academy will be offered a seat in our Lecture Room where this event will take place. The next 50 people to arrive will be offered a seat in our Overflow Room which has a video and audio link to the Lecture Room.