She has the ability to stand aloof and judge critically her own ecstasies and grief, and her emotions lose nothing of their force by being recollected in tranquillity. A tradition going back at least to Menander Fr. Sappho's school devoted itself to the cult of Aphrodite and Eros, and Sappho earned great prominence as a dedicated teacher and poet. Ancient sources[ edit ] One of the earliest surviving images of Sappho, from c. Singing, dancing, and poetry played a central role in this educational process and other cultural occasions. There is a personal poetic dimension, which is also collective because all the girls of the group recognize themselves in it. Psappho Sappho, also spelled in the Aeolic dialect spoken by the poet Psappho, born c. Other historians posit that she died of old age around B. Her works began to become accessible again in the sixteenth century, first in early printed editions of authors who had quoted her.
She wrote in a rather difficult and arcane Aeolic Greek dialect part of the reason why her work was copied less and less as time passed , but her poetry is praised for its clarity of language and simplicity of thought, more than for its wit and rhetoric. Biography Back to Top of Page Sappho was born on the Greek island of Lesbos sometime between and BCE from the evidence of several different conflicting sources and it seems that she had already become quite famous by around BCE or just after. In Aldus Manutius printed an edition of Dionysius of Hallicarnassus, which contained Sappho 1, the "Ode to Aphrodite", and the first printed edition of Longinus' On the Sublime, complete with his quotation of Sappho 31, appeared in See Article History Alternative Title: Her poems about Eros, however, speak with equal force to men as well as to women. Although the bulk of her poetry has been lost, she was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity as one of the greatest of lyric poets, and her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments. Tennyson based poems including "Eleanore" and "Fatima" on Sappho's fragment 31,  while three of Housman's works are adaptations of the Midnight poem , long thought to be by Sappho though the authorship is now disputed. Three centuries after her death the writers of the New Comedy parodied Sappho as both overly promiscuous and lesbian. Skinner as an imitator of Sappho, and Kathryn Gutzwiller argues that Nossis explicitly positioned herself as an inheritor of Sappho's position as a woman poet. She was born around B. Ten names are known for Sappho's father from the ancient testimonia; [e] this proliferation of possible names suggests that he was not explicitly named in any of Sappho's poetry. Her phrasing is concise, direct, and picturesque. It seems clear that she loved some of the women of her community, although whether or not the passion was expressed sexually is far from clear. In her left hand, she holds a scroll with her name written on it. Erigyius, Larichus, and Charaxus. This is regarded as unhistorical by modern scholars, perhaps invented by the comic poets or originating from a misreading of a first-person reference in a non-biographical poem. In the thiasos the girls were educated and initiated into grace and elegance for seduction and love. Rather than addressing the gods or recounting epic narratives such as those of Homer , Sappho's verses speak from one individual to another. Today Sappho, for many, is a symbol of female homosexuality;  the common term lesbian is an allusion to Sappho, originating from the name of the island of Lesbos , where she was born. She had at least two brothers, Larichus and Charaxus, and may have had a third. The history of her poems is as speculative as that of her biography. Sappho's school devoted itself to the cult of Aphrodite and Eros, and Sappho earned great prominence as a dedicated teacher and poet. Other historians posit that she died of old age around B. Back to Top of Page Sappho was the quintessential lyric poet of ancient Greece. They speak simply and directly to the "bittersweet" difficulties of love. It is believed that she died around BCE, although the suggestion that Sappho killed herself by jumping off the Leucadian cliffs for love of a ferryman named Phaon is now considered spurious.
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