Anonymous, Drinking song The Easy Prey
This skolion or drinking song would have been written for performance at a symposium; in such contexts showing off your erudition and cleverness was important – so please take up the challenge and see if you can solve the ‘riddling saying’!
This text is that published by D.L. Page as 86(a) in the Greek Literary Papyri: Poetry Loeb (As revised in 1941: ‘The whole of the first edition was destroyed by enemy action’). The papyrus has εὐφώρατ[ as its title, and Page persuasively suggests εὐφώρατ[ος ‘The Easy Prey’. Otherwise the textual supplements seem pretty uncontroversial.
ἐ]γκέρασον Χαρίτων κρατῆ[ρ’] ἐπιστ[ε-
φέα κρ[ύφιόν τε π]ρόπι[ν]ε [λό]γον.
σήμαιν’, ὅτι παρθένων
ἀπείροσι πλέξομεν ὕμνοις
τὰν δορὶ σώματι κειραμέναν
Τρ[οί]αν κάτα [τ]ὸν παρὰ ναυσὶν ἀειμνά-
Mix a bowl brimful of Graces, and drink a riddling saying as a toast! Make it known that we shall weave in boundless songs that one of the maidens who, in bodily form at Troy, destroyed with her spear the spy who was captured going by night next to the ships which will be always remembered.