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The most celebrated lyric poet of the sixth century BCE, Sappho left behind two intact poems and nearly one hundred fragments, and the mystery surrounding her life has fascinated people for centuries. This unabridged miniature edition contains virtually all of Sappho's surviving poetry.
Posted April 26, 2009
More or less 150 years after Homer's Iliad, Sappho lived on the island of L. west off the coast what is present Turkey. (Due to political upheavel she went two times in exile, the second time to Sicily for a short time ).
Sappho takes a special place among the poets of Antiquity. She was already famous in her own time. Plato said that she was the tenth Muse and someone called her poetry " as refreshing as a morning breeze ". Her poems are vivid and she needs only a few words to describe essential human feelings. She calls solitude for instance " this icy numbness of being alone ".
( Nice to know: from Sappho's poems remain about 500 lines. All Tragedies by Aeschylus have a total of 8144 lines. Conclusion: What's left of Sappho's poems is next to nothing. )
" Wedding of Andromache " is one of the most vivid descriptions in the poetry of Antiquity. It gives an almost journalistic account of the homecoming of Hector and Andromache. A fragment of Barnstone's translation:
and all set out for Troy
in a confusion of sweet-voiced flutes, citharas,
and small crashing cymbals
and young girls sang a loud heavenly song
Sappho excels also in describing landscapes and nature ( something you don't find often in Ancient literature ). A fragment of " Aphrodite of the flowers ",
Here ice water babbles through the apple branches
and roses leave shadow on the ground
This translation was published in 1998 but as a work of art in itself, it's by no means outdated.
Posted November 2, 2009
No text was provided for this review.