A Fragment of An Odyssey

P. Ryl. 3.487 = Exertatio Ethopeoiaca [TLG] = LCL 360 Select Papyri 137

“…Ill-fated Elpenor, the one Kirke’s home stole away–
Like Antiphanes and man-eating Polyphemos–
Of the immortal [ ] [stories like that] I will tell you..


…and the trials of Penelope.
Don’t disbelieve that Odysseus has returned home,
When you see the scar that not even Penelope has seen.
Quit the stable, Philoitios. I will relieve you
Of trembling before the suitors to wander with your cattle.
I will make your household free for you. But in turn
All of you take up arms by my side against Eurymakhos and the rest
Of the suitors. You are well versed in their evil
Just as Telemachus and prudent Penelope are.
Cowherd, pledge yourself…

δύσμορ[ο]ς Ἐλπήνωρ, τ[ὸ]ν ἀφήρπασε δώματα
ἴκελ[α] Ἀν[τ]ιφάτηι καὶ ἀνδροφάγωι Πολυφήμωι
ἀθανά[τ]ο̣υ̣ .εσ[..]ψ̣ατ̣[…..]ρ̣ητην ἀγορεύσω
α̣ἰγὸς ᾿Αμαλ̣θεία̣ς σ̣[έ]λ̣[α]ς̣ [..].[..]εν αἰγίοχος Ζεύς
[ο]ὔριος̣ ὁρμ̣α̣[ί]ν̣ουσι̣ν ο̣τει̣ο αρουρ̣[….].π̣ι̣σ̣
οὐ ρ̣α̣.[.].θ..ο̣υθο..[.]υ̣κ̣…[…].[.]ε̣ς̣ [οὐ]δὲν ἐο̣ῦ̣σιν
ειμ̣[ ] ἀ̣νδρῶν
[ ]ι̣
[ ]ο̣ι̣μ̣ων
[ ]ε̣ μάκελλαν
[ ]ε̣ ποθ’ ὕδωρ
[ ]η̣ν ἐπὶ βώλῳ
[ ]θιος ἀνήρ
[ ]β̣[..]ρες
[ ]κα.[]


. . . . .
ἀ]θλήματα [Πη]νελοπείης.
μὴ σύ γ᾿ ἄπιστος ἐῆις ὡς οὐ νόστησεν Ὀδυσσεύς,
οὐλὴν εἰσοράαις τὴν μηδ᾿ ἴδε Πηνελόπεια.
παύεο νῦν σταθμοῖο, Φιλοίτιε, κ[α]ί σε μεθήσω
μνηστῆρας τρομέοντα τεαῖς σὺν βουσὶν ἀλᾶσθαι·
στήσω σοι τεὸν οἶκον ἐλεύθερον. ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑμεῖς
ἀμφ᾿ ἐμὲ θωρήσσεσθε κατ᾿ Ἐυρυμάχοιο καὶ ἄλλω(ν)
μνηστήρων· κακότητος ἐπειρήθητε καὶ ὑμεῖς,
ἴκελα Τηλεμάχωι καὶ [ἐχέφρονι Πηνελοπείηι.
βουκόλε κάτθεο̣ []
γείνεο μὲν ποτι[]

I wrote a whole book about the Odyssey and just found out about this fragment. It is dated to the 3rd/4th century CE by Roberts in Catalogue of the Greek Papyri in the John Rylands Library. The hexameter is clearly later than Homer, but the story it tells is interesting: the bulk of the fragment seems to have Odysseus trying to convince the cow-herd Philoitios to join him in the fight against the suitors in exchange for a promise of manumission. This concept is really alien to the Homeric Odyssey

Philoitios is something of a silent double for Eumaios in the Odyssey as one of the “good” enslaved people. He closes the door on the suitors in book 21 (240) but speaks rarely. When He does, in book 20, he asks Eumaios who this stranger is, and confirms that he looks like a kingly man. He expresses sympathy with the stranger and tells Odysseus in disguise how much he misses his former master. Odysseus tells him that Odysseus will soon come home.

Odysseus, zijn zoon Telemachus, Eumaeus en Philoetius verlaten gewapend het paleis en gaan onderweg naar de vader van Odysseus: Laërtes. Minerva verbergt hen in duisternis op klaarlichte dag, zodat ze ongezien wegkomen.

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