who was Sappho

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Sappho was a female poet in classical Greece and is generally considered to be one of the nine lyrical poets of the time period. No accurate biological information on her exists other than her poetry; and for that reason little is known of her life. It is known that she lived for a time on the Greek island of Lesbos, and much of her poetry implies a deep love for another woman. It was from her poetry and the island on which she lived that the term "lesbian" evolved.

Sappho developed her own particular poetic meter which became known as poetic meter. Whereas previous Greek poetry had celebrated the accomplishments of the gods, Sappho wrote of individual human experiences. It is reported that Plato admired her poetry to such a degree that he referred to her as the "tenth muse."

Because of the homosexual nature of much of her poetry, the early Christian church condemned it, and much of it has accordingly been lost. Most of it exists only in fragments, although one complete poem; the Hymn to Aphrodite has survived.

 

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