I received yesterday this curious postcard without any identifying signs of origin outside of the Canadian postmark.
I’m fairly certain, although I don’t have a copy on hand to confirm, the text is lifted from Athenaze Book II where the boy Philip visits Epidauros to be cured of blindness. And accompanying the text there are illustrations of the τῶν ἱρεῶν ὄφεων ἠρέμα συριττόντων, the softly hissing sacred snakes. (My favorite is the Attic snake.)
I would like take this opportunity to point out that in the past it has also been a fine Cambridge tradition to send your friends and colleagues postcards in Greek. I call to witness an example of a postcard written from the late John Chadwick to the Czech Mycenologist Antonín Bartoněk, reproduced here from Bartoněk (2003:67):
Bartoněk interprets this curious document: “John to Antonin, Greetings! A bit later after the airplane breakdown, I came back home safe and sound. With many presents and gifts of honour appreciated, I express my best thanks.”
Besides being a very rare example of Linear B epistolary genre, there are a few notable linguistic features in this text in onomastics, nominal usage, and verbal construction:
I-jo-a₂-ne: Chadwick first of all spells his name as I-jo-a₂-ne, making use of the optional <a₂> sign doublet representing /ha/, and interpretable as /Iohannes/. Although the use of <a₂> sign here is not entirely unexpected, as intervocalic aspiration in Mycenaean is preserved (e.g. pa-we-a₂ /pʰarweha/ ‘cloths’ nom.pl.n.), it is difficult to ascertain where the aspiration is coming from. Is it anachronistic, on the model of German Johannes, or is it (presumably) etymological, from original Northwest Semitic יוחנן? Later Greek Ἰωάννης.
a-e-ro-pa-ra-no-jo no-pe-re-o: Bartoněk translates the phrase “Flugzeugpanne”. no-pe-re-o is easily enough interpreted as the s-stem adjective *νωφελεος ‘broken’ (Homeric ἀνωφελής ‘unprofitable, useless’), but the first member, a-e-ro-pa-ra-no-jo. It has fairly clear o-stem gen. sg. inflection, which is also supported by its position of the object of the adposition e-ne-ka. From context it appears to be some sort of mode of transport. Perhaps we might interpret as /āero-planojo/ of the air-roaming (conveyance) *ἠερο-πλανος? Perhaps it is some sort of broken-down air-chariot? It’s an interesting interpretation, but there is no because a-e-ro-pa-ra-no-jo is hapax here, we may never know.
e-re-ru-ta: A rare and unprecedented use of the perfect indicative ἐλήλυθα.
Both pieces of postcard palaeography, of course, are open to further reader commentary in the responses thread.