Two new epigrams of Posidippus

Richard Janko

University of Michigan

Among the new epigrams of Posidippus in the Milan papyrus (P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309), two have not yet made sense because of lacunae or dubious restorations.

The first is Ep. 64,  which describes a pair of bronze statues of the Cretan heroes Idomeneus and Meriones by the Cretan sculptor Cresilas (active c. 460-420 B.C.E.).  One can imagine that these would have closely resembled the Riace bronzes, which are of that date and by an unidentified sculptor. The epigram runs as follows:

[Webmaster's note: the following Greek text might not appear correctly in all browsers]

a‡]n`e`° g' ÉIdomen∞a y°lvn xãlkeion §k`e`›`n`[on

Krh!€la: …! êkrv! ±rgã!at' e‡dome! eÔ:

g]a`r`Ê`[ei] ÉIdomeneÊ!: "l`[l]' 'g`a`y` Mhrina, ye

. . . . .  . .]pla!tai då`n` [édÒ]n`h`to! §≈n."

Praise warmly that bronze Idoméneus

that Cresilas wrought — what a genius!

            Idómeneus sez:

            'Run, Meriones,           

'cos the sculptor's long sittings were tedious!

A new supplement in line 4 will give the sense offered by my limerick.

            The second poem, Ep. 87, is on the Olympic victory of a certain Berenice in the chariot race. It is spoken by her horses:

            While yet we were ****  we won the Olympic crown

                        of Berenice of Macedon, you men of Pisa.

            That crown has far-famed glory, since we snatched

                        from Cynisca in Sparta her long-standing record.

The missing word has been supplied as 'horses', on the supposition that they are referring to the fact that they are now made of bronze, but this sense is problematic. A new supplement gives a better one, and may contribute to the identification of Berenice.

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