Hippeis

Hippeis

The World of Christian Cameron

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Sappho

A Greek poetess from the island of Lesvos, born sometime around 630 BC and died between 570 and 550 BC. Her father was probably Lord of Eressos. Widely considered the greatest lyric poet of Ancient Greece.

Some say an army of horsemen, or infantry,
A fleet of ships is the fairest thing
On the face of the black earth, but I say
It’s what one loves.
This is very easily understandable to do
For each of us. She who far surpassed
The beauty of all, Helen, just went and left
Her noble husband
Sailing she went far away to Troy,
And thought nothing of child or parents dear,
Nothing at all, but ……………….led her off,
…………ing.
…………………….bent…….
……………………….and lightly………
…reminds me of Anactoria who is not here
Whose lovely way of walking, and the dark flash
Of her face I would rather see —- than
War-chariots of Lydians and spear-men struggling
On a dusty battlefield.

Again, and somewhat in despite of academic criticism—I love Sappho, but it is important to notice that her vivid imagery of war represents the place war had in aristocratic culture. Her status as a “woman lover” is inconsequential to her status as a great poet and a voice of aristocratic Archaic Greece.

Like Homer and Hesiod, any student of the period needs to read Sappho—great in translation, miraculous in Greek.