an apple on a high branch (Sappho)

This fragment from Sappho is an epithalamium, a poem for a bride on her wedding-day, to be sung praise of her by the bridesmaids. οἶον τὸ γλυκύμαλον ἐρεύθεται ἄκρῳ ἐπ’ ὔσδῳ, ἄκρον ἐπ’ ἀκροτάτῳ· λελάθοντο δὲ μαλοδρόπηες, οὐ μὰν ἐκλελάθοντ’, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐδύναντ’ ἐπίκεσθαι. 1 οἶον = οἷον—γλυκύ|μᾱλον ‘sweet apple’ (Ionic-Attic μῆλον, Latin mālum ‘apple’)—ἐρεύθομαι … Continue reading an apple on a high branch (Sappho)


like a slender sapling (Sappho)

τίῳ σ’, ὦ φίλε γάμβρε, κάλως ἐικάσδω; ὄρπακι ϝραδίνῳ σε μάλιστ’ ἐικάσδω. 1 τίῳ = Attic τίνι dat sg ‘to what?’—γάμβρος -ου ὁ in Attic and Ionic (with different accentuation: γαμβρός) means ‘son-in-law; brother-in-law; any male connection through marriage’ but here in Aeolic means either ‘bridegroom’ or ‘wooer’ (cf. γαμέω ‘get married’)—ἐϊκάσδω = Attic εἰκάζω (where, … Continue reading like a slender sapling (Sappho)

Homeric Greek πέλωρ ‘monster’

One of my favorite words is τὸ πέλωρ. The first of its two occurrences in the Odyssey is in apposition to Κύκλωψ 'Cyclops' (referring to Polyphemus, the only such creature with which Odysseus comes into contact): "τοὺς ἀκέων συνέεργον ἐυστρεφέεσσι λύγοισιν, τῇς ἔπι Κύκλωψ εὗδε πέλωρ, ἀθεμίστια εἰδώς, σύντρεις αἰνύμενος" "Without speaking, I fastened [the … Continue reading Homeric Greek πέλωρ ‘monster’

Fragment 4 (Sappho)

Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν ἂψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος, ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπῃ   γᾶν ἐπὶ παῖσαν ... ἀργυρία ... 5 Sapphic stanza: ¯ ˘ ¯ x ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ¯ (3x)          ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ¯ 1   κάλαν ‘beautiful, lovely’; Aeolic for καλήν—σελάνναν ‘moon’; Aeolic for σελήνην 2   ἄψ (adverb) ‘back’—ἀπυκρύπτοισι (ἀπο-κρύπτω … Continue reading Fragment 4 (Sappho)

Fragment 52 (Sappho)

Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα καὶ Πληίαδες· μέσαι δὲ νύκτες, παρὰ δ’ ἔρχετ’ ὤρα· ἔγω δὲ μόνα κατεύδω. Hagesichorian meter: × ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ¯ Look for some of the major features of Sappho's Aeolic dialect: psilosis (ψίλωσις)—i.e. the "rough breathing" has been lost recessive accent—the accent moves as far leftward in the … Continue reading Fragment 52 (Sappho)

Fragment 102 (Sappho)

Γλύκηα μᾶτερ, οὔ τοι δύναμαι κρέκην τὸν ἴστον πόθῳ δάμεισα παῖδος ϝραδίναν δι' Ἀφροδίταν. Meter: ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ¯ | ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ¯ γλύκηα (γλυκύς fem. vocative singular) 'sweet'—in Attic or Ionic we would find γλυκεῖα, both of these reflect earlier *glukéwya, an innovative feminine form of … Continue reading Fragment 102 (Sappho)