Greek, 2nd/3rd cent. AD, papyrus
G 257 + 24568 + 29781
This scroll on display has land-tax lists on the recto and contains the oldest known manuscript of the 1st book of Xenophon’s Hellenica on the verso.
Until the first publication of the papyrus in 1897, the text of the Hellenica had only been known from the tradition of medieval codes. To the surprise of philologists, mistakes in both spelling and grammar in the medieval codes – previously explained by the long-term tradition of the text – could already be found in the papyrus. However, the text of the papyrus differs in one matter: the division of the Books in the medieval tradition is different. In medieval tradition the first book ends at I 7, 35. In the papyrus it ends at I 5.
In the 7 books of the Hellenica, Xenophon, who lived in the 5th/4th Century BC, describes the Greek history from 411 BC to 362 BC.
This re-cycling of papyrus indicates a private use of the scroll. Furthermore the mixing up of some of the vowels highlights the private purpose of the manuscript.
However, the scribe made an effort to achieve an aesthetic caption as indicated by steady columns, a harmonic typeface and filling elements at the end of some lines.
Die obere Kante des Papyrus, die sich zum Textende hin verjüngt, weist heute ein scherenschnittartiges Muster auf, da der Papyrus in zusammengerolltem Zustand von Schädlingen befallen wurde.