Spurius Afranius
Spurius Afranius
31 October 2022, 22:01

Sappho. Refined lyrics of tragic times

Sappho. Refined lyrics of tragic times
We continue the series of publications dedicated to the greatest poets of ancient Greece. This article is dedicated to the only woman who was included in the list of the 9 greatest lyric poets of Ancient Greece by ancient poetry admirers - Sappho.
Bust of Sappho. Roman copy after a Greek original
Bust of Sappho. Roman copy after a Greek original
Like many prominent poets of archaic Greece, including Alcaeus, she was a native of the island of Lesbos, one of the most culturally developed centers of Hellas.
View of Lesbos
View of Lesbos
View of Lesbos
View of Lesbos
Lesbos on the map of Greece
Lesbos on the map of Greece
The life of the poetess falls on the last quarter of the 7th century BC. - the first third of the 6th century BC This time was very turbulent for the island. The overthrow of royal power, the struggle between aristocrats and demos, successively replaced by tyrants and emerging democratic forces, the struggle for independence against Athens - this is just a short list of a series of tragic events of that time, Sappho was a witness and to some extent a participant.
Sappho on a red-figure vase, first third of the 5th century BC
Sappho on a red-figure vase, first third of the 5th century BC
Having lost her father in early childhood, she is forced to flee the island in her early youth, having spent many years in a foreign land. After her return, she was at the center of the cultural life of her island, the leader of a kind of poetic and musical salon that existed under the auspices of the temples of Artemis and Aphrodite.
Sappho reciting poetry to female students, 5th century BC
Sappho reciting poetry to female students, 5th century BC
The compilers of the Library of Alexandria combined her work into 9 volumes. Unfortunately, only fragments have survived to our time.
An excerpt from the works of Sappho on papyrus
An excerpt from the works of Sappho on papyrus
Sappho made a great contribution to the development of versification; the major and minor Sapphic stanzas are named after her. Sappho's poems were admired by the ancient Greeks and served as a source of inspiration for early Roman poets.
Coin with the image of Sappho, minted on the island of Lesvos, Mytilene, 2nd century AD.
Coin with the image of Sappho, minted on the island of Lesvos, Mytilene, 2nd century AD.
But unfortunately there were envious and slanderers who spread obscene rumors that have survived to this day. And the first among them are the Athenians, who throughout the history of independent Greek policies sought to enslave or completely destroy the population of the island of Lesbos.

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