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2547 P. Oxy. 31 = Trismegistos 60187 = LDAB 1304


Extract from the Hippocratic Oath (London, Wellcome Foundation Library Ms. 5754). Papyrus fragment (5,2x10,5cm) which comprises the upper right-hand part of a column writing. On the recto which is of coarse quality, a documentary text can be read that is as yet unedited due to its bad preservation. The hand, however, can be identified as a sloping cursive of an official and therefore, the recto can be dated to the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century AD. The text of the verso is written across the fibres and upside down in relation to the recto; only the right halves of 15 lines are preserved which originally contained between 26 and 31 letters each. The papyrus also exhibits the upper margin which amounts to 2,3cm. Concerning the Greek text, there are a couple of orthographic mistakes as well as a mix between ionic (e.g. ἀκροήσιος (l. 1), μαθήσιο̣ς (l. 2) and [ξυμβου]λίην (l. 12)) and non-ionic/Koiné forms (e.g. ἐμοῖς (l. 3), μαθηταῖς (l. 4) and οὐθε[νί] (l. 6)). Moreover, iota mutum is adscribed, filler signs are used to adapt the endings of ll. 4 and 10 and two little empty spaces are found after word end in ll. 8 and 11 which might indicate a break in the train of thought. The fragment contains a version of Hp. Jusj. 1-4 which diverges widely from the medieval MS-tradition. This passage of the Oath deals with the transfer of medical knowledge, the doctor's obligations towards his patients and the refusal of euthanasia as well as abortion. The handwriting can be described as upright, clear, careful, irregular in letter sizes and far from fluent which points to an unpractised scribe. This conclusion led Chadwick to suspect that the papyrus was actually a copy probably written on a single sheet for the purpose of an oath-taking ceremony, while Manetti just affirms that it probably didn't have a literary use. Considering all features of this papyrus, it might be dated to the fourth century AD.

(This papyrus has been digitally edited by Marcel Moser as part of the Project "DIGMEDTEXT - Online Humanities Scholarship: A Digital Medical Library based on Ancient Texts" (ERC-AdG-2013, Grant Agreement no. 339828) funded by the European Research Council at the University of Parma (Principal Investigator: Prof. Isabella Andorlini). The digital edition is mostly based on the previous editions ( = J.W.B. Barns, P.Oxy. XXXI 2547; D. Manetti, CPF 1.2.1 18 20; corr. S. Ihm, "Drei Anmerkungen zum hippokratischen Eid", in "Le normal et le pathologique dans la Collection hippocratique", eds. A. Thivel - A. Zucker, Nice 2002, II, pp. 671-92).)

DCLP transcription: 60187 [xml]

[παραγγελίης τε κα]ὶ ἀκροήσιος καὶ
[τῆς λοιπῆς ἁπάσης] μαθήσιο̣ς μετά-
[δοσιν - ca.7 - υἱοῖ]ς τε ἐμοῖς καὶ̣ το̣[ῖς]
[τοῦ ἐμὲ διδάξαντος] κ̣αὶ μαθηταῖς ((diple))
5[συγγεγραμμένοις τε] καὶ ἐφωρκισμέ-
[νοις νόμωι ἰητρικῶι,] ἄλλωι(*) δὲ οὐθε-
[νί, διαιτήμασί τ]ε πᾶσι χρήσομαι(*)
[ἐπ' ὠφελείηι καμνόν]των· ἐπ' ὀλέθρωι(*)
[- ca.14 -]  ̣εξω(*) κατὰ γνώ-
10[μην ἐμήν, οὐ δώσω δὲ ο]ὐδενὶ φάρμα - ((diple))
[κον αἰτηθεὶς θανάσ]ιμον οὐδὲ κα̣-
[θηγήσομαι ξυμβου]λίην τ[οι]ή<ν>δ̣ε̣
[- ca.15 -] πεσσὸν [φ]θόριο̣ν
[- ca.16 -]ως κα[ὶ εὐ]σ̣εβῶ̣ς
15[διατηρήσω βίον] ἐ̣μ[ὸν](*) [κ]α̣ὶ τέ̣-
[χνην -ca.?- ]
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


^ 6. l. ἄλλῳ
^ 7. ed.alt. : χρήσομε̣ (l. χρήσομαι)
^ 8. l. ὀλέθρῳ
^ 9. [δὲ - ca.10 - οὐ πα]ρ̣έξω : [δὲ καὶ ἀδικίῃ ἀ]φ̣έξω Ihm 2002
^ 15. ed.alt. : [βίον τὸν ἐμὸν διατη]ρ̣ή[σω]

Editorial History; All History; (detailed)

Creative Commons License © Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


  • 3.

    Behind μετά-[δοσιν] Barns suggests to supply ποιήσειν which is also found in the first sentence of the Oath, because ποιήσασθαι conveyed by the MSS-tradition is too long. Manetti, however, refutes this form, since the active form is not idiomatic, and instead wants to supply ποιεῖσθαι.

  • 3-4.

    The rest of the tradition transmits the datives with an additional iota (υἱοῖσι ... ἐμοῖσι ... τοῖσι ... μαθηταῖσι).

  • 5-6.

    Most MSS convey the simple form of the verb, namely ὡρκισμένοις, while only the papyrus exhibits the compound ἐφωρκισμέ-[νοις]. In general, this compund is the exact opposite of the simple one meaning 'to swear falsely', but there are instances of this form being used in the same meaning like the simple one (e.g. Lys. 10.17). Therefore, the papyrus might transmit a lectio difficilior.

  • 6-7.

    Only the papyrus has οὐθε-[νὶ] with theta here (regular: οὐδενί).

  • 8.

    After καμνόντων the papyrus omits κατὰ δύναμιν καὶ κρίσιν ἐμήν found in the majority in this place. Furthermore, instead of ὀλέθρωι, the medieval tradition conveys the ionic form δηλήσει.

  • 9.

    The medieval tradition conveys the syntactically suspicious δὲ καὶ ἀδικίῃ εἴρξειν which has often been discussed. Also the readable rests of the papyrus show signs of a probably deep-seated corruption.

  • 10.

    Most MSS convey οὐδὲ instead of οὐδενὶ.

  • 11-12.

    Instead of κα-[θηγήσομαι], the whole medieval tradition exhibits ὑφηγήσομαι.

  • 13-14.

    The majority read ὁμοίως δὲ οὐδὲ γυναικὶ πεσσὸν φθόριον δώσω, but the gap seems too short for this insertion. Therefore, Chadwick suggested [οὐδὲ γυναικὶ δώσω], while Manetti deems another change of word order possible: [ὁμοίως δὲ οὐδὲ] πεσσὸν [φ]θόριον - [γυναικὶ δώσω. vac.]

  • 14.

    All MSS transmit the adverbs ἁγνῶς καὶ ὁσίως, one of which might have been written in the lacuna.