Copying Mistakes

Errors in copying can occur even in a short document that has been written by a single scribe. In this instance, the letters λ and α have been transposed. The scribe originally wrote λ α (the numeral 31) but the lower loop of the ἔτουϲ abbreviation crossed the lower portion of the lambda, causing it to look like an alpha. This ordering of the numerals is correct, with the larger number preceding the smaller. When the upper upper text was recopied by the same scribe, he misread his own hand, and reversed the order of the two numerals. The result, α λ, is not numerically correct, and would read 1 and 50.

Line 1: L λ α
Line 9: L α λ

Above are images of the relevant sections of the papyrus. The image on the left shows the first instance, where the scribe has properly written λ α. The image on the right shows the improper second copy, which has α λ.


<< Back: Features of the Zenon Papyrus