La possibile rilettura, con conseguente nuova interpretazione, di uno scholium alla ἐκθέωϲιϲ di Arsinoe di Callimaco (Fr. 228 Pfeiffer ad l.7) potrebbe consentire di formulare una nuova ipotesi sulla dibattuta data di morte della regina Arsinoe II Filadelfo, forse avvenuta durante il plenilunio fra 16 e 17 giugno del 268 a.C.
Thanks to a re-interpretation of a scholium to the ἐκθέωϲιϲ of Arsinoes by Callimachus (Fr. 228 Pfeiffer ad l.7) it could be possible to put forward a new hypothesis on the date of death of Queen Arsinoe II Philadelphus, which may have occurred during the full moon between the 16th and 17th June 268 BC.
- Data di morte di Arsinoe II Filadelfo
- Callimaco Fr. 228 Pfeiffer
- gli anni di regno di Tolomeo II Filadelfo
- calendario macedone
Scholars have been debating over the years on Arsinoe II’s date of death since we have different types of evidence leading to different results. In some cases, the date would fall in the summer of 270 BC while in others in that of 268 BC.
Initially, scholars considered certain the date of the sovereign’s death based on the testimony of the Mendes stele1 that dates the decease on the Ptolemy Philadelphus’ 15th year2 in the month of Pachon and therefore in July 270 BC.
Among other sources and evidence analysed by scholars, papyrus documentation was also added, more precisely, a scholium.
In fact, on the recto of a papyrus containing Callimachus’ poem on the Apotheosis of Arsinoe II, P. Berol. 13417 A3 (=Fr. 228 ed. Pfeiffer), there is a scholium that could give valuable hints on the date of the sovereign's death.
This work briefly reviews the lessons suggested for the scholium of the P. Berol. 13417 A and proposes a new reading hypothesis4.
The interpretation of the scholium, indeed, raised many questions and problems.
The marginal note, unfortunately mutilated, would explain the verses (vv. 5-7) that describe the abduction of Arsinoe II by the Dioscuri and her passage beyond the moon. The first interpretation of the scholium is given by Wilamowitz5.
He reports in his work:
|5||νύμφα ϲὺ μὲν ἀϲτερίαν ὑ]π’ ἄμαξαν ἤδη|
|κλεπτομέν]ᾳ6 παρέθει ϲελάναι|
|] ἀτενεῖϲ ὀδυρμοί|
|Schol. (6-7) «ὡϲ ελιπᾶϲ ϲελήνηϲ ἡρπαϲμένηϲ» and defined it «verdorben, unverständlich»7.|
In 19148 he suggested a new reading of the scholium according to the proposal provided by Diels, mentioned by Wilamowitz himself in a footnote. The reading suggested by Diels is:
|Schol. (6-7) ὡϲ ἐν9 παϲϲελήν(ῳ) ἡρπαϲμένηϲ|
The scientific community immediately considered Diels' suggestion as valid and Pfeiffer referenced it as further evidence for dating the death of Arsinoe II10. In fact, following Diels' reading, Pfeiffer argues that the sovereign’s death occurred during a full moon. Thus, based on the evidence from the Mendes stele and the scholium, the death of Arsinoe II would have occurred on the 9th July 270 BC11.
In 1990, Grzybek put forward a new interpretation regarding the different dating provided by the two stelai14 and, at the same time, he also suggested a new reading of the scholium and thus provided a new date. Grzybek, therefore, proposed to read:
|(v.6) κλεπτομέν]α παρέθει ϲελάνᾳ|
|Schol. «ὡϲ ἔτι15 πάϲ(ηϲ) ϲελήν(ηϲ) ἡρπαϲμένηϲ, c’est-à-dire: tute la lune était encore dérobée16».|
However, scholars question Grzybek's reading due to paleographic, linguistic, and interpretative problems17.
He combines the evidence and places the death during a new moon, claiming that Arsinoe passed away on the 1st July or the 2nd July 268 BC18.
On the other hand, van Oppen de Ruiter19 meticulously reconstructs all the clues that lead us to the two different dates that scholars proposed, by examining the data provided by the two stelai, taking into account also numismatic evidence, and analysing other historical issues. Regarding the papyrus evidence, he accepts Diels's reading:
|(v.6) κλεπτομέν]α παρέθει ϲελάνᾳ|
|Schol. ὡϲ ἐν παϲϲελήν(ῳ) ἡρπαϲμένηϲ, as «the only possible reading of the scholion»20.|
In conclusion, van Oppen de Ruiter points to further evidence that could support the hypothesis of a later date of Arsinoe's death. He, indeed, refers to the Chremonides’ decree (IG II2 687 = Sylloge3 I 434-435), dated 269/26821, which mentions Arsinoe in concert with her brother and husband:
«[…] King Ptolemaios in accordance with the predilection both of his ancestors and of his sister is manifest in his concern for the common freedom of the Greeks […]»22.
Van Oppen de Ruiter, therefore, presents two possible interpretations of the above-mentioned clause: Arsinoe might have died two summers earlier and thus her mention within the decree could be a form of homage to Ptolemy, or if she had died just before the decree, the news might not have reached Athens yet and thus her mention would indicate her support for the alliance against Antigonus23.
Finally, he argues that « […] although the evidence is inconclusive»24, the death of Arsinoe II may have occurred on the 16th/17th July 268 BC.
The letter tau would have an unusual inclination to the right, in stark contrast to the usus scribendi of the copyist. Furthermore, the final iota would exhibit a strange bulge at the top, slanting to the right, which is never seen in such letters in the entire papyrus fragment. Otherwise, we emphasise the fact that the letter positioned after the first Ε of the sequence, would seem similar in ductus to a cursive alpha in connection with a vertical letter whose upper slightly round part could only belong to the loop of rho traced quickly, in a neglected manner as, for example, it is visible in the line above our scholium and passim on the verso. It has also been debated whether the extended upper stroke of the first alpha is a circumflex26. However, it appears to be only a curly stroke of the letter, which is also repeated in other parts of the text.
Therefore, as a pure working hypothesis open to subsequent verification, we propose to identify the term ΕΑΡ in the triliteral sequence, probably in abbreviation, and to reconstruct the entire commentary pericope to verse (6) as follows:
|ὡϲ (ἔαρ)οϲ/(ἐαρ)ινῇ παϲϲελήν(ῳ) ἡρπαϲμένηϲ|
|“When, during a spring full moon, she was kidnapped (scil. Arsinoe II Philadelphus)”.|
Briefly, we can assume that the author of the scholium did not know the exact date of the Queen's death, but merely recalled that the mourning occurred in spring, on a full moon night. Van Oppen de Ruiter pointed to the dates 27th June 270 BC, 16th/17th June 268 BC or 16th/17th July 268 BC as possible elements to identify the astronomical phenomenon, opting for the latter, the only one that would respond to the indication of the two stelai concerning the month of Pachon, the first summer month of the Egyptian calendar. However, it cannot be excluded that the author of the papyrus scholium was referring to the Macedonian calendar, which, as verified in many other cases by the sources, does not always faithfully reproduce the sequence of days of the Egyptian months. In conclusion, supposing that the date of Queen Lagid's disappearance was set between spring and early summer (ἐαρινῇ), according to the Macedonian calendar, we could only identify it with the 16th/17th June 268 BC27, which is the night of the full moon.
Austin 2006 = Austin Colin, L’apothéose d’Arsinoé (P.Berol. 13417 A = Callim. Fr. 228 Pf.), in Guido Bastianini, Angelo Casanova (a cura di), Callimaco cent’anni di papiri: Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Firenze, pp. 57–68.
Cameron 1990 = Cameron Alan, Two Mistresses of Ptolemy Philadelphus, «GRBS» XXXI, pp. 287-311.
Carney 2013 = Carney Elizabeth D., Arsinoë of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life, [Women in antiquity], Oxford.
Criscuolo 1991 = Criscuolo Lucia, Review of Erhard Grzybek, “Du calendrier macédonien au calendrier ptolémaïque: problèmes de chronologie hellénistique”, «Aegyptus» LXXI, pp. 282–289.
D’Alessio 1996 = D’Alessio Giovan Battista (a cura di), Callimaco, I, Inni, Epigrammi, Ecale, Milano.
Goldstine 1973 = Goldstine Herman H., New and Full Moons, 1001 B.C. to A.D. 1651, Philadelphia.
Grzybek 1990 = Grzybek Erhard, Du calendrier macédonien au calendrier ptolémaïque: problèmes de chronologie hellénistique, Basel.
Hazzard 1987 = Hazzard Robert A., The Regnal Years of Ptolemy II Philadelphos, «Phoenix» XLI, pp. 140–158.
Kamal 1904 = Kamal Ahmed Bey, Stèles ptolémaïques, CG 22001–22208, vols. I–II, Cairo. [abbr. as CG.]
Kosmetatou 2004a = Kosmetatou Elizabeth, Constructing Legitimacy. The Ptolemaic Familiengruppe as a Means of Self-Definition in Posidippus’ Hyppika, in Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Elizabeth Kosmetatou, Manuel Baumbach (eds.), Labored in Papyrus Leaves. Perspectives on an Epigram Collection attributed to Posidippus, Cambridge (MA), pp. 225-246.
Kosmetatou 2004b = Kosmetatou Elizabeth, Bilistiche and the Quasi-Institutional Status of Ptolemaic Royal Mistresses, «APF» L, pp. 18-36.
Lehnus 2006 = Lehnus Luigi, Hermann Diels studioso di Callimaco, in Antonio Martina, Adele Teresa Cozzoli (a cura di), Callimachea I, Roma, pp. 1-5 [= Lehnus Luigi, Maasiana e Callimachea, Milano 2016, pp. 247-254].
Minas 1994 = Minas Martina, Die Pithom-Stele, in Martina Minas, Jürgen Zeidler (Hrsgbb.) Aspekte spätägyptischer Kultur, Mainz, pp. 203-212.
Ogden 2008 = Ogden Daniel, Bilistiche and the Prominence of Courtesans in the Ptolemaic Tradition, in Paul McKechnie, Philippe Guillaume (eds.), Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his World, Leiden & Boston, pp. 353-385.
O’Neil 2008 = O’Neil James L., A Re-Examination of the Chremonidean War, in Paul McKechnie, Philippe Guillaume (eds.), Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his World, Leiden & Boston, pp. 65–89.
Pfeiffer 1922 = Pfeiffer Rudolf, Kallimachosstudien, München.
Samuel 1962 = Samuel Alan E., Ptolemaic Chronology, Münchener Beiträge zur Papyrusforschung und antiken Rechtsgeschichte 45, Munich.
Sethe 1904 = Sethe Kurt, Hieroglyphische Urkunden der griechisch-römischen Zeit, vols. I–II, Leipzig [abbr. as Urk.].
Van Oppen de Ruiter 2010 = van Oppen de Ruiter Branko F., The Death of Arsinoe II Philadelphus: The Evidence Reconsidered, «ZPE» CLXXIV, pp. 139-150.
Wilamowitz 1912 = von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff Ulrich, Neues von Kallimachos, «SPAW» band I, pp. 524-550.
Wilamowitz 1914 = von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff Ulrich, Neues von Kallimachos II, «SPAW» band I-II, pp. 222-244.
Wilamowitz 1924 = von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff Ulrich, Hellenistische Dichtung in der Zeit des Kallimachos, I-II, Berlin.
Bennet Chris, 2001-2013, Arsinoe II, Egyptian Royal Genealogy, https://www.instonebrewer.com/TyndaleSites/Egypt/index.htm