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Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1800 (P. Oxy. 1800; FGrHist 1139) is a piece of a papyrus roll containing biographies of various mythical and historical figures from ancient Greece.[1] The papyrus was discovered in 1905–06 as part of a large group of literary papyri,[2] and is made up of 30 fragments.[3] It is dated by the handwriting to the late second or early third century AD.[3]

Biographies of Sappho, Simonides, Aesop, Thucydides, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Thrasybulus, Hyperides, Leucocomas, and Abderus are identifiable; other fragments of the papyrus may be from lives of Alcaeus and Lysias.[1] It is unclear why these biographies were grouped together.[3] The arrangement is equally uncertain – while it makes sense for two lyric poets whose name begins with the same letter to be grouped together, it is less clear why the Athenian logographer Hyperides should come next to the mythical Leucocomas.[3] The lives may have been arranged into smaller groupings, such as Sappho and Simonides (both lyric poets), Demosthenes and Aeschines (Attic orators), and Thrasybulus and Hyperides (known for overthrowing tyrants); an overarching ordering principle remains elusive.[1]

Graziano Arrighetti identifies the papyrus as an epitome of ancient biographies.[4] The text may have been used in an educational context, and could have been used by students as a source of information for rhetorical exercises.[5]


  1. ^ a b c de Kreij 2018, p. 29.
  2. ^ Grenfell & Hunt 1922, p. v.
  3. ^ a b c d Grenfell & Hunt 1922, p. 137.
  4. ^ de Kreij 2018, p. 41.
  5. ^ de Kreij 2018, p. 42.

Works citedEdit

  • de Kreij, Mark (2018). "The Biographies of P.Oxy. 1800 (FGrHist 1139)". ZPE. 208.
  • Grenfell, Bernard Pyne; Hunt, Arthur Surridge (1922). The Oxyrhynchus Papryi. XV.