“Who, O Sappho, does you wrong?”

(Featured image: Sappho and Alcaeus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema) Fragment 1, Sappho's best-known and most complete work in our possession, is an urgent prayer to Aphrodite that the goddess might use her famous charms to reciprocate an unrequited love. Sappho 1 painted on Tara's back in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sapphic stanza: ¯ … Continue reading “Who, O Sappho, does you wrong?”

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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)