Much has been written on the life and work of the Greek poet Sappho. She was hailed as one of the greatest poets in and of antiquity, and it is lamentable that so little survives of her varied and beautiful oeuvre. To-date, only two complete songs remain: Poem 1 (a hymn to Aphrodite) and Poem 58 (on old age). The latter was released to the world in an English translation by Martin West on 21 June 2005 in the

Times Literary Supplement

. Of the rest, fragments remain, some of which are close to complete such as Fragment 31 (on the physical effects on the poet of a woman’s beauty) and Fragment 2 (another religious piece to Aphrodite); others are remnants of longer poems on marriage themes, most likely intended to be performed at ceremonies, as well as more personal reflections on friendship…

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Citation: Johnson, Marguerite. "Sappho". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 April 2010 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3934, accessed 17 April 2024.]

3934 Sappho 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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