The book Timotheos, Die Perser, published by Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff in 1903, is about papyrus fragments of Miletus poet and musician Timotheos (Timotheus) that was discovered in the Abusir region in Egypt, describing the Sea Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, in which the Persians were defeated.
The text includes the speech of the Persian King Xerxes, the tragicomic speech of a Phrygian, his recounts about his own poetry and music, and a few other topics, as well as a prayer to Apollo. It is claimed that the papyrus, dated to the 4th century BC, had two important features:
First, the Timotheos of Miletus papyrus is likely to be the oldest surviving Hellenic script among Egyptian papyri. It is said to be the oldest of the Greek manuscripts.
Another feature of this script is the claim that it is one of the first examples of sans-serif script with square monoline letters (Morison 1972).
It may be worthwhile to take a more cautious approach to this latter idea, because alongside Morison’s successful work in the field, there are also his arguments that have had little resonance in paleographic circles, such that serif fonts may have emerged from the notch shapes in cuneiform, and the first example of this is an Alexander the Great inscription.
The fragments are currently preserved in the Staatliches Museum Berlin, and its hi-res images are available online for limited research use.
- Wilamowitz-Möllendorff, Ulrich von (1903). Timotheos, Die Perser, aus einem Papyrus von Abusir im Auftrage der Deutschen Orientgesellschaft Herausgegeben von Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff, Leipzig, J.C. Hinrichs.
- Morison, Stanley Arthur (1972). Politics and Script: Aspects of Authority and Freedom in the Development of Graeco-Latin Script from the sixth century B.C. to the twentieth century A.D.. Oxford, Clarendon.
- Timotheos von Milet, Die Perser Rolle (Schriftträger), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
- Timotheos von Milet, Die Perser (Papyrus 9875), BerlPap: Berliner Papyrusdatenbank
- Timotheus of Miletus, Wikipedia
- Abusir, Wikipedia
- Miletus, Wikipedia
- Xerxes I, Wikipedia
- The cover image is the appendix of the book.