Although my work has been predominantly focused on Greek and Coptic early Christian manuscripts, I am also very interested in Greek documentary papyri. I recently had the privilege to edit a very important manuscript in the Columbia collection with the inventory number 257, and the edition was accepted into ZPE; it will appear in issue 186 this summer. An image of the papyrus appears to the left.
This manuscript is important for a number of reasons. First, the papyrus was likely written in the 3rd century B.C.E., a period in which our evidence is dominated by the Zenon papyri. Second, the papyrus is of an official nature, probably a formal petition. It mentions petitions, travel, and, interestingly, some antigrapheis that are sent away for some purpose. Third, the papyrus is likely part of the dossier on Zenon, on account of the fact that 1) names common to the Zenon papyri occur here, 2) the acquisition data match the acquisition data of other Zenon papyri at Columbia, and 3) our text is surrounded in H.I. Bell's distribution list by batches of Zenon papyri, which suggests there is a link between the texts in question. These considerations raise the probability (but do not establish absolute certainty) that P.Col. inv. 257 is part of the Zenon dossier, and that for unknown reasons the papyrus has been overlooked thus far.
Another very interesting feature of the papyrus is the occurrence of a previously unattested Greek word. Here is a photograph of the word followed by my commentary in the edition:
"ἐπεργείαϲ: The reading ἐπεργείαϲ is very clear on the papyrus; however, ἐπεργεία is an unattested word. ἐνεργείαϲ is absolutely excluded, and the word division ἐπί + ἐργείαϲ produces no results. ἐπεργεία is derived from the noun ἔπεργοϲ (cf. LSJ s.v. and supplement), which means “assistant” (e.g., SB 22 15558) and denotes in the language of the Ptolemaic administration persons who serve in the monopolies (see D. Kaltsas, Ein Streit zwischen Epergoi in P.Hels. 1, ZPE 142, 2003, 214-220). For the formation of ἔπεργοϲ – ἐπεργεία, cf. ἔπαρχοϲ – ἐπαρχ(ε)ία, σύνεργοϲ – συνεργεία, μετάβολοϲ – μεταβολία. ἐπεργεία probably indicates the field of work of the designated functionary (ἔπεργοϲ). Cf. οἰκονομίαϲ in l. 14, which here could also mean the office activity or jurisdiction of the οἰκονόμοϲ (see Preisigke, Wörterbuch, s.v., οἰκονομία)."
I checked all the papyrological literature and this word is nowhere to be found. The fine editors of ZPE also confirmed that it is indeed a new Greek word. I have suggested a possible meaning based on linguistic derivation but I would like to invite readers to offer suggestions here. What are all the possibilities? The full transcript of this line is: [..]αγγέλλεϲθαι ἐπεργείαϲ.