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Interesting Facts About Sappho, The First Lesbian Poet

July 15, 2018 admin 3 min read No Comments

Interesting Facts About Sappho, The First Lesbian Poet

July 15, 2018 AUHBD 3 min read No Comments
Interesting Facts About Sappho, The First Lesbian Poet
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SAPPHO is recognized for her lyric poetry, one of the first Greek female poets was born in around 620 BC and died around 570 BC. Her birthplace was on the Isle of Lesbos, also called Lesvos or Mitilini. Lesbos Island was known for lesbian relationships in ancient Greece. The word “lesbian” is in fact derived from the name of the Island, Lesbos.

 

Sappho is also known as the first Lesbian poet, who moved the word “lesbian.” In the lyric poem “Ode to Aphrodite,” Sappho asks Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual love and beauty to ease her pains for the girl who didn’t accept her love–

She that now rejects, yet with gifts shall woo thee,”

— translated by John Myers O’Hara.

In the ending of the Ode, the poet makes another request to the Goddess to help her in her ardent struggles–

Come to me now thus, Goddess, and release me

From distress and pain; and all my distracted.

— translated by John Myers O’Hara.

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Sappho with Lyre and girls. Artwork “Sappho” created by Francis Coates Jones
Sappho with Lyre and girls. Artwork “Sappho” created by Francis Coates Jones

On the contrary, some ancient sources say she was married to Cercylas, a wealthy man from the Island of Andros, and had a daughter named Cleis. Other sources tell Sappho committed suicide by jumping off from a cliff for a sailor she used to love. However, assuming her sexual life through her poems is tough since it’s unsure whether the lyrics were autobiographical or not. But the extreme liberal lifestyle of women in such ancient time is notably exhibited through her words.

 

Some other sources say Sappho was a headmistress of an academy like school in her time. She had friendships with like-minded people from poetry, art, and culture. She was provisionally sent away to Sicily around 600 BC due to political conflicts between political elects on Lesbos where might be her family was also involved.

Artwork “Sappho” created by Charles Mengin
Some sources put in the picture that Sappho committed suicide by jumping off from a cliff for a sailor she used to love. Artwork “Sappho” created by Charles Mengin

Sappho composed around 10,000 lines that usually sang with a lyre, but only a few of her poetry survives. Some sources tell it was the medieval Church restrained the pagan or sexy efforts. Conversely, the poetry was written in rare Aeolic Greek dialect, which may another reason for becoming Sappho’s work lost.

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The poetry of Sappho has a great vividness, simplicity in language, and portrayed a deep passion for love. Sappho is legendary even up to this date for her extraordinary literary and artistic talents. Once Plato said, “Some say the Muses are nine–how careless! Look, there’s Sappho, too, the tenth!”

 

In the end, some beautiful lines from Sappho’s poetry are presented to the readers of this post:

“Come back to me, Gongyla, here tonight,

You, my rose, with your Lydian lyre.

There hovers forever around you delight:

A beauty desired.”

— translated by Paul Roche.

 

Some of the writer’s reading list for this article purpose:

Monstrousregimentofwomen, Interestingliterature, King’s College, Monstrousregimentofwomen, Biographyonline, Wikipedia, Wikipedia.

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AUHBD

A human, A mother's daughter, A devoted soul, A hymnist of love, A wisdom searcher.

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Hello, I’m Linda

This is my creative space. It's about having an active lifestyle, staying healthy, and making the right decisions. I hope you enjoy and come back often.

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