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The Greek poetess Sappho

Sappho (630 BCE to 570 BCE) was known for her lyric poetry. She was born on Lesbos, a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea 40 miles off the coast of Turkey.

 

Her lyric poetry was meant to be sung with musical accompaniment.

 

In ancient Greece she was sometimes called the “Tenth Muse”.

Most of Sappho’s poetry has been lost. What remains is mostly fragmentary.

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"He, it seems to me, is completely godlike:

Ah, that man who’s sitting across from you, there,

Leaning in and listening to your sweet voice,

Charmed by your laughter."

Only one poem is known to be complete:

Ode to Aphrodite

 

With thy chariot yoked; and with doves that drew thee,

Fair and fleet around the dark earth from heaven,

Dipping vibrant wings down the azure distance,

            Through the mid-ether;

 

Very swift they came; and thou, gracious Vision,

Leaned with face that smiled in immortal beauty,

Leaned to me and asked, "What misfortune threatened?

            Why I had called thee?"

 

 

Sappho came from a wealthy family, though her parents’ names are uncertain, she was said to have had 3 brothers.

Legend has it, that, distraught by her unrequited love for the ferryman Phaon, she leapt from the Leucadian cliffs and died on the rocks below.