Sappho Poems

Poems » sappho

Sappho (Attic Greek , Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω ) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos. In history and poetry texts, she is sometimes associated with the city of Mytilene on Lesbos (Carson 2002); she was also said to have been born in Eresos, another city on Lesbos. Her birth was sometime between 630 BC and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC. The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments. Sappho by Gustav KlimtNo contemporary historical sources exist for Sappho's life only her poetry. Scholars have rejected a biographical reading of her poetry and have cast doubt on the reliability of the later biographical traditions from which all more detailed accounts derive. Sappho is said to have been the daughter of Scamander and Cles and to have had three brothers. Attic comedy makes reference, in an apocryphal account, to her marriage to a wealthy merchant. There is a tradition that she was married to a certain Kerkylas of Andros, but that is likely to be a mere witticism, as the name means "prick from the Isle of Man." Some translators have interpreted a poem about a girl named Cles as being evidence that she had a daughter by that name. It was a common practice of the time to name daughters after grandmothers, so there is some basis for this interpretation. But the actual Aeolic word pais was more often used to indicate a slave or any young girl, rather than a daughter. In order to avoid misrepresenting the unknowable status of young Cles, translator Diane Rayor and others, such as David Campbell, chose to use the more neutral word "child" in their versions of the poem.

poem i
Immortal Aphrodite of the beautiful throne,
Guile-weaving child of Zeus, I pray you,
Do no... [read poem]
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