Ariadne: Resources for Athenaze


Σαπφὼ Λεσβία

Roman mosaic of Sappho, Archaeological Museum of Sparta

The poet Sappho is reported to have lived around 610 BCE in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Listed below are three texts about Sappho: the first is a brief biography of Sappho in the medieval encyclopedia called the Suda. The second is Herodotus' account of a woman named Rhodopis who travels to Egypt and "is freed" by Sappho's brother Charaxos. The third recounts the Athenian law-giver Solon's desire to learn a poem of Sappho. Click here for the three Greek texts and notes. Recent papyrus finds reveal a new poem by Sappho mentioning her brother Charaxos.

What can be inferred from these three Greek texts about women's lives? their education? their companions? Do you notice any prejudices in these texts toward women or toward Sappho in particular?

What evidence do the three Greek texts say about travel, trade, and colonization? Is there any indication of what is being traded/circulated?

Here is the first passage again, a brief biography of Sappho (at from a 10th century CE source known as the Suda.

Photo credit: Sappho mosaic, John Gruber-Miller © 2007


Classical Studies
Cornell College

Last Update: February 17, 2016 9:35 pm
John Gruber-Miller