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The text is actually incomplete. Measuring 2. The Homeromanteion is located at the beginning of the roll and it is almost complete. It was written in a cursive script, quite accurate, that can be palaeographically dated to the end of the fourth century CE [25]. The discovery of P. The verses of P. Thanks to the Oxyrhynchus text, on the one hand, we know how the Homeromanteion was used, because it preserves the instructions for use that were not preserved or they were never written in the other two copies.

When the day and hour are favourable for divination, the consultant has to utter a prayer addressed to Apollo preserved in P. Then a dice has to be thrown three times [29]. This process gets as a result a number of three digits that must be located throughout the ordered series of numbers followed by a Homeric verse. The numbers are arranged in a series of six numbers of three digits each, separated by lectional signs [30]. The relation of the Homeromanteion with the sortes books has been stressed by all the scholars who have studied the text, but the differences should also be pointed out.

The authority of the voice of Homer as an inspired poet would guarantee the effectiveness of the oracle book [33]. Homer was not a simple poet; indeed he was seen as a god in Late Antiquity. The Homeromanteion , as a divination text already fixed, is dated to a chronological frame where, in the words of M. To obtain an oracular answer for the Homeromanteion is very easy and, as W.

Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World, vol. 8

Klingshirn says in relation to the Sortes Sangallenses , quoting D. Only an interpreter is needed to elucidate the meaning of the Homeric verse as an answer for the question, and for these matters, in the 4th century CE, not only oracle-mongers, but also learned men could do it. This particularity is shared with the engraved minor-Asiatic sortes [39] dated to the 2nd century CE.

Yet, in contrast to these inscriptions, the oracular answer offered by the Homeromanteion is an isolated sentence, a Homeric verse, and not a small text in hexameters ruled over by a tutelary divinity [40]. In the case of the Homeromanteion , only one main divinity and, probably, a secondary one, controls the oracle: Apollo, the god to whom a prayer must be uttered at the beginning of the oracular procedure, and Athena, whose name appears when reading the first letters of the five first verses as an acrostic [41].

This question is indeed interesting, and I will try to offer some thoughts on it, although it must be noted that the three preserved Homeromanteia contain the very same version of the text. So, although we may hypothesize about the existence of different versions of the text, we do not have the evidence yet.

An important number of verses belong to the Doloneia and have to do with the hero Diomede [45]. The relation of this hero with Apollo and Athena, the two divinities that seem to rule over the oracle, is also an important connecting factor [46]. Some of them were already proverbs and they were used by other writers in their own works [47]. The relatively large number of verses of the Homeromanteion that are used by Eudocia Augusta in her Homerocentos 39 verses has been stressed by Karanika, who speculates about the existence of textbooks or summaries of Homeric works [48].

In order to support this assumption, I will suggest a new literary work that can be added for comparison in this sense. I have noticed that the Homeromanteion shares also a relatively important number of verses with the Life of Homer by Pseudo-Plutarch [49] , a text that, as we have already pointed out, ends with a reflection on the use of Homeric poetry both for divination and for centos. This coincidence opens new ways for a better understanding of the reception of Homer in Roman Period, and the use of his poems by the scholars.

Karanika proposes a way to understand the Homeromanteion focused on the act of writing and reading aloud [50]. On the other hand, A. The Homeromanteion preserved at the PGM VII was written carefully by the scribe who also used apostrophes to notice the elision of vowels. From my point of view, this care in the act of writing is an important feature that speaks to the literacy of the scribe, his knowledge of scribal techniques, and his concern for the correct performance of the text in the practice of the divination ritual [53].

The layout of these texts in the papyrus reveals that the texts are connected; maybe they were copied from the same book. Each verse must be understood as a complete text with its own meaning, a kind of micro-text that must be understood as the oracle answer for a formulated question [60].

Series: Mnemosyne Supplements

The different recipes are based on direct communication. The practice is normally a self-experience or it is limited to the practitioner and the consultant and, in some cases, to the medium. But can this explanation be applicable to the Homeromanteion? The spells in their present state testify clearly several phases of editing, thereby demonstrating that the ancient redactors were highly skilful philologists and proficient in both Egyptian and Greek.

In the fourth century CE, the Homeromanteion seems to be a consolidated divination text, transmitted at least since the end of the second century CE. As it has been stressed above, the text has a kind of autonomy that allows it to form parts of different types of books. The Homeromanteion occupies the beginning of the recto side of the papyrus the preserved part , i. The end of the text is marked out not only with the customary paragraphos at the end of the last number of the last series, but also with a decorated border occupying the width of the column.

The border is preceded by a damaged coronis that corresponds to the one at the end of the border. This kind of border is not without parallels [68].

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The title is located in the middle of the column and is adorned with some dashes placed above and below the words, as it is the common way of writing out titles in Homeric books, especially in bookrolls [69]. The final title, clearly related to Homeric books, is the only final title preserved in the papyrus, and it clearly distinguishes the complete text from the rest of spells on the papyrus.

This feature may indicate the importance given to Homer even in magic [72] and, besides, it gives us a clue about the transmission of the recipes. In order to give a tentative answer to this question we should turn to D. According to this approach, the Egyptian priests had to find new ways to reach clients from the Hellenized population, and appealing to a Greek authority or pseudo-authority of the spells was only one of the ways to achieve it.

In this book, recipes that claim to be magical texts by Pythagoras, Democritus, and even Orpheus were compiled. In this context, the Homeromanteion is a wonderful example of how the Greek tradition is still alive, and even reinforced, in order to have its own space in the multicultural Egyptian magical wisdom. Supplementum Magicum , II vols. Papyrologica Coloniensia vol. Orphicorum et Orphicis similium testimonia et fragmenta.

Poetae Epici Graeci. Papyri Graecae Magicae. Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri , II vols. Bakker, E. Bain, D. Beard, M.

Humphrey, JRA Suppl. Ann Arbor.

Betz, J. Costanza, S. Corpus palmomanticum graecum. Papyrologica Florentina Dieleman, J. Priest, Tongues and Rites. Faraone, Ch. Lardinois, J. Blok, and M. Johnston and P.

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Struck, Lardinois , J. Blok and M. Van Der Poel. Add to Cart. Have an Access Token?