Tuesday, 4 February 2014

New Sappho Poems Fake?

The sudden withdrawal of the online version of Dr Obbink's Sappho poems article and the lack of any sensible answers about where the papyrus on which they are written surfaced are apparently being interpreted by the academic rumour mill as suggesting that there might be another problem with this fortunate discovery. It seems that some are now murmuring about the possibility that the poem is a clever fake. We've not seen the photos yet, so it is difficult to judge, but the lack of mention in the initial publication of any credible excavated context ("grounding" in Elizabeth Marlowe's fantastic terminology - more about that later) will not allow such doubts to ever be dispelled.

A question, has the "anonymous collector" who owns this papyrus ever financed anything for Christ Church College in Oxford? Who is this collector?

UPDATE 8th Feb 2014:
Interestingly, when Obbimnk's Times Literary Supplement article came out stating, rather succinctl,y that the object had "documented legal provenance" he was referring to the question of its authenticity. Dirk Obbink, 'New poems by Sappho', Times Literary Supplement 5 February 2014

Interestingly, this year sees the 120th anniversary of the first publication of Pierre Louÿs' "Song of Bilitis" (see here - author's name wrong) but here no ancient papyrus was involved.

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