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Prof. Patrick Finglass (Bristol) A new papyrus of Sophocles

Sophocles fr. 583, from his Tereus, is one of the most moving passages of extant Greek tragedy; delivered by Procne, it explores the sorrow of marriage as seen from a woman’s perspective. The publication in June 2016 of an ancient papyrus manuscript from the early second century, P.Oxy. 5292, which overlaps with this quotation, is therefore a major event in Sophoclean scholarship. The papyrus allows us to locate Procne’s speech within the play, to infer how much she knows about her sister’s fate when she speaks the lines, and to see how Sophocles prepared for the dramatic meeting between the two sisters. This paper demonstrates how the papyrus transforms our knowledge of this fragmentary drama, and sets the play alongside others that feature unhappily married women, bringing out relevant similarities and differences, and thereby assisting our understanding of the presentation of women in Greek tragedy.

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