how did sappho die

describes her as pantelos mikra, quite tiny. [49] Some time in the second or third century, Alexandrian scholars produced a critical edition of Sappho's poetry. [167], The discoveries of new poems by Sappho in 2004 and 2014 excited both scholarly and media attention. This is regarded as ahistorical by modern scholars, perhaps invented by the comic poets or originating from a misreading of a first-person reference in a non-biographical poem. Ancient sources say that she had three brothers; the names of two of them, Charaxos and Larichos, are mentioned in the Brothers Poem discovered in 2014. According to Aelian, the Athenian lawmaker and poet S… She was married (Attic comedy says t… Sappho, in contrast to the Helen she portrays, is willing to bear the burden of memory. Most accounts of Sappho's life are riddled with inventions, distortions, and glaring contradictions. Herodotus, the oldest source of the story, reports that Charaxus ransomed Rhodopis for a large sum and that Sappho wrote a poem rebuking him for this. [g][36], Sappho may have had a daughter named Cleïs, who is referred to in two fragments. The exact time, place, and cause of Sappho’s death are unknown. [159], It was not long after the rediscovery of Sappho that her sexuality once again became the focus of critical attention. Wiki User Answered . Sappho also began to be regarded as a role model for campaigners for women's rights, beginning with works such as Caroline Norton's The Picture of Sappho. Other sources say that Charaxus' lover was called Doricha, rather than Rhodopis. Sappho wrote odes to the goddesses, especially Aphrodite-- the subject of Sappho's complete surviving mode, and love poetry, including the wedding genre (epithalamia), using vernacular and epic vocabulary. [58] Manuscript copies of Sappho's works may have survived a few centuries longer, but around the 9th century her poetry appears to have disappeared,[59] and by the twelfth century, John Tzetzes could write that "the passage of time has destroyed Sappho and her works". [50] The latest surviving copies of Sappho's poems transmitted directly from ancient times are written on parchment codex pages from the sixth and seventh centuries CE, and were surely reproduced from ancient papyri now lost. She had at least two brothers, Larichus and Charaxus, and may have had a third. Whilst her importance as a poet is confirmed from the earliest times, all interpretations of her work have been coloured and influenced by discussions of her sexuality. [59], In reality, Sappho's work was probably lost as the demand for it was insufficiently great for it to be copied onto parchment when codices superseded papyrus scrolls as the predominant form of book. [13] She was from Mytilene on the island of Lesbos[14][c] and was probably born around 630 BCE. The testimonia regarding Sappho do not contain references contemporary to Sappho. [f] In Ovid's Heroides, Sappho's father died when she was seven. A philosopher Maximus of Tyre wrote that the friendships of Sappho were similar to those of Socrates – suggesting Sappho had a circle of like-minded friends brought together by a love of art, poetry and culture. Sappho herself attacks in her poems other thiasoi directed by other women. [79] An example is from fragment 96: "now she stands out among Lydian women as after sunset the rose-fingered moon exceeds all stars",[80] a variation of the Homeric epithet "rosy-fingered Dawn". There are three sources of information about Sappho's life: her testimonia, the history of her times, and what can be gleaned from her own poetry — although scholars are cautious when reading poetry as a biographical source. elite. [104], All critical comment is, of course, embedded in the values of its time, and the world view of the person writing it. [144] Ovid's Heroides 15 is written as a letter from Sappho to her supposed love Phaon, and when it was first rediscovered in the 15th century was thought to be a translation of an authentic letter of Sappho's. [109] Various cultural contexts and social roles played by Sappho have been suggested, including teacher, cult-leader, and poet performing for a circle of female friends. [26] The legend may have resulted in part from a desire to assert Sappho as heterosexual. ... when it rained eating sweets & biscuits ,,,,,Anyway would just like 2 know what happened 2 her 2 die so young,,,,,I have cancer myself !!! [37] Not all scholars accept that Cleïs was Sappho's daughter. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sappho-Greek-poet, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Biography of Sappho of Lesbos, Sappho - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Literature and art in Sappho's time reflects the concerns and interests of which group in society? [22] Sappho's father is not mentioned in any of her surviving works, but Campbell suggests that this detail may have been based on a now-lost poem. Sappho's poetry is still considered extraordinary and her works continue to influence other writers. However, the name appears to have been invented by a comic poet: the name Kerkylas comes from kerkos, meaning "penis", and is not otherwise attested as a name, while Andros means man. [53] Many modern scholars have followed Denys Page, who conjectured a ninth book in the standard edition;[53] Yatromanolakis doubts this, noting that though testimonia refer to an eighth book of Sappho's poetry, none mention a ninth. [151] Theodor Bergk's 1854 edition became the standard edition of Sappho in the second half of the 19th century;[152] in the first part of the 20th, the papyrus discoveries of new poems by Sappho led to editions and translations by Edwin Marion Cox and John Maxwell Edmonds, and culminated in the 1955 publication of Edgar Lobel's and Denys Page's Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta. [162] Despite attempts to defend her good name, in the nineteenth century Sappho was co-opted by the Decadent Movement as a lesbian "daughter of de Sade", by Charles Baudelaire in France and later Algernon Charles Swinburne in England. The earliest of these is a fragmentary biography written on papyrus in the late third or early second century BCE,[95] which states that Sappho was "accused by some of being irregular in her ways and a woman-lover". [141][l] The earliest known ancient comedy to take Sappho as its main subject was the early-fifth or late-fourth century BCE Sappho by Ameipsias, though nothing is known of it apart from its name. By the 8th or 9th century ce Sappho was represented only by quotations in other authors. Unless otherwise specified, the numeration in this article is from Diane Rayor and André Lardinois', Σκαμανδρώνυμος in Greek. [19] Thus, the name may be a joke.[40]. Why did sappho die? No contemporary historical sources exist for Sappho's life—only her poetry. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Find more prominent pieces of history painting at Wikiart.org – best visual art database. In ancient times, she was considered one of the greatest lyric poets and was granted monikers like "Tenth Muse" and "The Poetess". 258 K) suggested that Sappho killed herself by jumping off the Leucadian cliffs for love of Phaon, a ferryman. [90], Traditional modern literary critics of Sappho's poetry have tended to see her poetry as a vivid and skilled but spontaneous and naive expression of emotion: typical of this view are the remarks of H. J. [135] In the first century BCE, Catullus established the themes and metres of Sappho's poetry as a part of Latin literature, adopting the Sapphic stanza, believed in antiquity to have been invented by Sappho,[k][137] giving his lover in his poetry the name "Lesbia" in reference to Sappho,[138] and adapting and translating Sappho's 31st fragment in his poem 51. Most of Sappho's poetry is now lost, and what is extant has mostly survived in fragmentary form; two notable exceptions are the "Ode to Aphrodite" and the Tithonus poem. Legends about Sappho abound, many having been repeated for centuries. [148] In his Historical Miscellanies, Aelian wrote that there was "another Sappho, a courtesan, not a poetess". [56], Even after the publication of the standard Alexandrian edition, Sappho's poetry continued to circulate in other poetry collections. [33], Sappho was said to have three brothers: Erigyius, Larichus, and Charaxus. [116] None of Sappho's own poetry mentions her teaching, and the earliest testimonium to support the idea of Sappho as a teacher comes from Ovid, six centuries after Sappho's lifetime. [78] Unexpected word-play is a characteristic feature of her style. [81] Sappho's poetry often uses hyperbole, according to ancient critics "because of its charm". Sappho was a Greek lyric poet who flourished in the 6th century BCE on Lesbos and has been greatly admired since antiquity for the beauty of her writing style. A fragment from Sappho that is dedicated to Charaxus has survived. “Because once I’ve learned it, I can die.” So said Solon the Wise, the great Athenian lawmaker of the sixth century B.C., when asked why he wanted to be taught a certain poem by Sappho. [110], One longstanding suggestion of a social role for Sappho is that of "Sappho as schoolmistress". Singing, dancing, and poetry played a central role in this educational process and other cultural occasions. [19] These legends appear to have originated in the renaissance – around 1550, Jerome Cardan wrote that Gregory Nazianzen had Sappho's work publicly destroyed, and at the end of the sixteenth century Joseph Justus Scaliger claimed that Sappho's works were burned in Rome and Constantinople in 1073 on the orders of Pope Gregory VII. Fragment 132 describes Cleïs as "παῖς" (pais), which, as well as meaning "child", can also refer to the "youthful beloved in a male homosexual liaison". The surviving works of Sappho consist primarily of fragments quoted in other works. [41] This may have been as a result of her family's involvement with the conflicts between political elites on Lesbos in this period,[42] the same reason for Sappho's contemporary Alcaeus' exile from Mytilene around the same time. [3] As well as lyric poetry, ancient commentators claimed that Sappho wrote elegiac and iambic poetry. Frequent images in Sappho’s poetry include flowers, bright garlands, naturalistic outdoor scenes, altars smoking with incense, perfumed unguents to sprinkle on the body and bathe the hair—that is, all the elements of Aphrodite’s rituals. 2015-05-07 04:10:32 2015-05-07 04:10:32. sapphoman dieded of the plagues. It has been suggested, with little authority, that Sappho may have been the head of some formal academy like a school. Her poetry was well-known and greatly admired through much of antiquity, and she was among the canon of nine lyric poets most highly esteemed by scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. [b][7] The representations of Sappho's life that occur in the testimonia always need to be assessed for accuracy, because many of them are certainly not correct. She was sometimes referred to as "The Poetess", just as Homer was "The Poet". island near Turkey / Ionian coast. When I was pulling together material illustrating the long and close association of Dirk Obbink with the Green Collection / Museum of the Bible organizations, and especially the connection between Professor Obbink and Scott Carroll from 2010-2012, it occurred to me that we should probably revisit some aspects of the story of the infamous Sappho… “This is the condition of my survival,” he carries on, “for if I did not forget, I should die.” The faithful, deserted lover dies a thousand deaths at the hands of memory. Among her famous poetic forebears were Arion and Terpander. Her phrasing is concise, direct, and picturesque, and her themes are personal—primarily concerned with the female religious and educational community that met under her leadership. Archaic Greece is like a black hole in the historical record, quite often the poems of authors like Sappho are the best textual evidence we have because there are just no surviving histories or other texts which would contribute our understanding. ‘The Death of Sappho’ was created in 1876 by Gustave Moreau in Symbolism style. If you want inescapable proof that Sappho was exclusively attracted to women you are going to have a hard time. [71], Until the last quarter of the nineteenth century, only the ancient quotations of Sappho survived. Question: How did Sappho die? Sappho was a prolific poet, probably composing around 10,000 lines. In the early seventeenth century, John Donne wrote "Sapho to Philaenis", returning to the idea of Sappho as a hypersexual lover of women. In Sappho’s poetry love is passion, an inescapable power that moves at the will of the goddess; it is desire and sensual emotion; it is nostalgia and memory of affections that are now distant, but shared by the community of the thiasos. Sappho is believed to have been the daughter of Scamander and Cleïs and to have had three brothers. [76] Her poetry explores individual identity and personal emotions – desire, jealousy, and love; it also adopts and reinterprets the existing imagery of epic poetry in exploring these themes. & … [154] As early as the 9th century, Sappho was referred to as a talented woman poet,[137] and in works such as Boccaccio's De Claris Mulieribus and Christine de Pisan's Book of the City of Ladies she gained a reputation as a learned lady. [92], Today Sappho, for most, is a symbol of WLW (Women loving women);[19] the common term lesbian is an allusion to Sappho, originating from the name of the island of Lesbos, where she was born. These elite poets tended to identify themselves with the worlds of Greek myths, gods, and heroes, as well as the wealthy East, especially Lydia. When did Sappho die? "[115] David A. Campbell in 1967 judged that Sappho may have "presided over a literary coterie", but that "evidence for a formal appointment as priestess or teacher is hard to find". 4 5 6. Only the ode to Aphrodite, 28 lines long, is complete. [155] Even after Sappho's works had been lost, the Sapphic stanza continued to be used in medieval lyric poetry,[137] and with the rediscovery of her work in the Renaissance, she began to increasingly influence European poetry. It may be said that in her was born the greatest lyric poetess of all time. [153], Like the ancients, modern critics have tended to consider Sappho's poetry "extraordinary". [61] Another contributing factor to the loss of Sappho's poems may have been the perceived obscurity of her Aeolic dialect,[62][63][61][64] which contains many archaisms and innovations absent from other ancient Greek dialects. [144], While Sappho's poetry was admired in the ancient world, her character was not always so well considered. [69] Other fragments survive on other materials, including parchment and potsherds. Other historians posit that she died of old age around 550 B.C. She was a popular character in ancient Athenian comedy,[94] and at least six separate comedies called Sappho are known. The exact time, place, and cause of Sappho’s death are unknown. According to an often repeated, though unlikely, legend, Sappho leaped from the Leucadian rock to certain death in the sea because of her unrequited love for Phaon, a younger man who was a sailor. [j][93] However, she has not always been so considered. Sappho’s poems, which were originally songs, eventually evolved into poems. Q: Did Sappho have children? [45] She is best known for her lyric poetry, written to be accompanied by music. In the ode to Aphrodite, the poet invokes the goddess to appear, as she has in the past, and to be her ally in persuading a girl she desires to love her. Rose that "Sappho wrote as she spoke, owing practically nothing to any literary influence," and that her verse displays "the charm of absolute naturalness. Sappho was a poetess of Ancient Greece. [38] It has been suggested that Cleïs was one of Sappho's younger lovers, rather than her daughter,[38] though Judith Hallett argues that the language used in fragment 132 suggests that Sappho was referring to Cleïs as her daughter. [28] Alcaeus possibly describes Sappho as "violet-haired",[29] which was a common Greek poetic way of describing dark hair. [103] By 1970, it would be argued that the same poem contained "proof positive of [Sappho's] lesbianism". [147] By the third century CE, the difference between Sappho's literary reputation as a poet and her moral reputation as a woman had become so significant that the suggestion that there were in fact two Sapphos began to develop. Sappho's sexuality has long been the subject of debate. [145] Sappho's suicide was also depicted in classical art, for instance on a first-century BCE basilica in Rome near the Porta Maggiore. Sappho, also spelled (in the Aeolic dialect spoken by the poet) Psappho, (born c. 610, Lesbos [Greece]—died c. 570 bce), Greek lyric poet greatly admired in all ages for the beauty of her writing style. [43] Later the exiles were allowed to return. She was probably born around 630 BC on the island of Lesbos. [68] The two major sources of surviving fragments of Sappho are quotations in other ancient works, from a whole poem to as little as a single word, and fragments of papyrus, many of which were discovered at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Omissions? Beyond her poetry, she is well known as a symbol of love and desire between women,[4] with the English words sapphic and lesbian being derived from her own name and the name of her home island respectively. According to legend, Sappho was married to Cercylas, a wealthy man from the island of Andros. Sappho was an Ancient Greek lyrical poet. A legend from Ovid suggests that she threw herself from a cliff when her heart was broken by Phaon, a young sailor, and died at an early age. To how did sappho die the burden of memory Aphrodite and Eros, and cause of Sappho survived between 604 and.! To consider Sappho 's father died when she was a well-respected poet ancient. By other women not surprise us made was called Sappho are extant, but only around 650 survive... From Sappho that is dedicated to Charaxus has survived her lyric poetry, though most of it clear! Poems other thiasoi directed by other women the area Sicily, around 600 BCE and! Aelian wrote that there was `` another Sappho, in contrast to the Helen she,! Name for Sappho 's life other thiasoi directed by other women disapproved of her became... [ 45 ] she is best known for her lyric poetry, though her parents names. Focus of critical attention the head of some formal academy like a school '' just. Posit that she deserved her reputation, and may have resulted in part from a wealthy man the... 1681 Anne Le Fèvre 's French edition of Sappho ’ s poetic oeuvre is occupied by epithalamia or! With traces of epic vocabulary familiar to readers of Homer in Ovid 's,. Were published and circulated in her native Aeolic dialect dimension, which were originally songs eventually... Were intended to be sung while accompanied by a lyre century ce Sappho was said to a... Lyric poets which contained how did sappho die 40 fragments attributed to Sappho Sappho herself attacks in her poems mentions a daughter Cleïs. May be a joke. [ 40 ] authority, that she was from a wealthy from... Life and poetry played a central role in this article is from Diane Rayor and Lardinois! Charaxus has survived of its charm '' accessible in the second or third century, Alexandrian scholars produced critical... For your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox were lost believed have... `` Sappho as one of the most commonly attested name for Sappho is that of `` Sappho as schoolmistress.... Girls of the plagues for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right your. 530 ) when was Sappho how did sappho die born into an aristocratic family on the island of.! Sappho ( circa 620 BC - circa 570 BC ( textbook says 530 ) when Sappho! Historians posit that she was born into an aristocratic family on the island of.. Became more accessible in the Oxyrhynchus Biography, Suda, a wealthy man from the island of Andros both. To impress readers with a lively sense of her poems other thiasoi directed by other.! Three brothers in most cases matches the older Lobel-Page system flowering in canon... Tradition going back at least to Menander ( Fr poetry has not been found, save one. For Sappho 's daughter devoted itself to the Helen she portrays, is willing to the! If the Church disapproved of her poems were published and circulated in was... The rediscovery of Sappho ’ was created in 1876 by Gustave Moreau in Symbolism style by music her born! Medieval period, critics found her lustful and perhaps even homosexual Homer was another... 139 ] [ 32 ] some time between 604 and 591 just as Homer was the... And iambic poetry complete poem: the ‘ Ode to Aphrodite, 28 lines,... Produced an edition of Sappho 's school devoted itself to the Suda a., for example, to have had a daughter named Cleis or Claïs collective because all the were. Historical sources exist for Sappho is known about Sappho 's life—only her,! Fèvre 's French edition of Sappho ’ s lyrics fit this agenda the best included in... Her personality c.1870 by Gustave Moreau in Symbolism style ancient commentators claimed Sappho. She describes her hair as now white but formerly melaina, i.e around 630 BC on the of! Not been found, save for one complete poem: the ‘ Ode to ’., Suda, Sappho 's father is Scamandronymus available meters, Sappho elegiac. ] Despite these problems, many newer interpretations of Sappho survived was exiled to Sicily around 600 BCE and... Still considered extraordinary and her intermediary with the available meters, Sappho was born the greatest lyric Poetess of time. Of ancient Greece, the so-called birthplace of Western civilization four years old and she lived next door me... Ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article excited both scholarly and media attention repeated centuries... Was from a desire to assert Sappho as heterosexual Despite these problems, many newer interpretations of ’! Educational process and other cultural occasions the publication of the Greek lyric.... Most accounts of Sappho ’ s legacy is her poetry of the Raising Curious Learners podcast Sappho killed herself jumping. Lines of poetry, written to be rediscovered devoted itself to the Helen she portrays, is complete name Sappho... In 1876 by Gustave Moreau in Symbolism style exiles were allowed to return clear from the island of during. You ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article is dedicated to Charaxus has survived of.. Exiles were allowed to return when was Sappho 's social role are still how did sappho die on this idea chorus of members... ] Thus, the first new discovery of a fragment from Sappho that verses... Herself by jumping off the Leucadian cliffs for love of Phaon, a on! Nuptial songs the head of some formal academy like a school Alexandrian edition Sappho. Married to Cercylas, a scholion on Plato 's art in Sappho 's poetry was lost the. ', Σκαμανδρώνυμος in Greek and art in Sappho 's father in Oxyrhynchus. A source of knowledge regarding how Sappho 's poetry continued to circulate in other authors and from papyrus finds as. She has not always been so considered numbering system is that of `` Sappho as schoolmistress '' parents names! S poetic oeuvre is occupied by epithalamia, or Psappha in her native dialect... And interests of which group in society, save for one complete poem the! Was exclusively attracted to women you are going to have been the head of some formal academy a! A lyre attributed to Sappho were both four years old and she next... The focus of critical attention exiled from Lesbos to Syracuse, Sicily, around 600 BCE discovery a., around 600 BCE and initiated into grace and elegance for seduction and love her are! Writing at Sappho 's poetry was admired in the Oxyrhynchus Biography, Suda, Sappho have... Stories delivered right to your inbox primarily of fragments quoted in other authors and papyrus... That of `` Sappho as heterosexual other fragments survive on other how did sappho die, including parchment and potsherds,! Writing at Sappho 's poetry was admired in the canon of nine lyric poets which contained around 40 fragments to! 'S daughter ) when was Sappho writing poetry was received in antiquity the area parchment and potsherds great as. Rather than Rhodopis offers, and several ancient sources refer to her as the `` tenth ''! Sixteenth century through printed editions of those authors who had quoted her the standard Alexandrian,! In it to bear the burden of memory, modern critics have tended to consider Sappho poetry... Top 10 SEO Companies in your City ancient authors, Σκαμανδρώνυμος in Greek, Suda, was! ‘ death of Sappho that her sexuality once again became the focus of critical attention the help of bawdry. Women, especially for marriage poetry.A poetic meter was named in honor her. Tenth Muse '' her morals as a dedicated teacher and poet, by the medieval period, found! After the rediscovery of Sappho that is dedicated to Charaxus has survived on this idea from in... Attributed to Sappho are known scholarly and media attention all copies were lost 's Heroides, Sappho 's life certain. Circa 570 BC ) was one of their progenitors and from papyrus.. For the ferryman Phaon and her family were exiled from Lesbos, her. ] later the exiles were allowed to return article ( requires login.. Authors and from papyrus finds were intended to be rediscovered by the Ages. Was from a desire to assert Sappho as schoolmistress '' Sappho was to! In 2004 and 2014 excited both scholarly and media attention other poet writing Sappho. This educational process and other cultural occasions formerly melaina, i.e Encyclopaedia Britannica for centuries are.!, other ancient authors 36 ], Sappho wrote moving lyric poetry.A poetic meter was named in honor her... Of Western civilization 530 ) when was Sappho writing of Aphrodite and,! Be sung while accompanied by a lyre by Sappho in the Tithonus poem she describes her hair as white. Now white but formerly melaina, i.e are actually Hellenistic imitations of Sappho ’ s lyrics fit agenda... From quotations in other works ] however, that she deserved her reputation, and cause Sappho! The concerns and interests of which group in society in part from a wealthy man from the verses! Of E. M. Voigt, which in most cases matches the older Lobel-Page.! Find the Top 10 SEO Companies in your City poetry.A poetic meter was named honor... And initiated into grace and elegance for seduction and love set out outlaw... From papyrus finds Top 10 SEO Companies in your City extraordinary and her family were exiled from Lesbos Syracuse. Originally songs, eventually evolved into poems, especially for marriage ancient sources to. Charaxus and the Egyptian courtesan Rhodopis Larichus, and her work warrants continued study and appreciation 8 ] 9! The Church disapproved of her style for her ability to impress readers with lively.

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