The only contemporary source which refers to Sappho's life is her own body of poetry, and scholars are skeptical of biographical readings of it. Later biographical traditions, from which all more detailed accounts derive, have also been cast into doubt.
An Oxyrhynchus papyrus from around AD 200 and the Suda agree that Sappho had a mother called Cleïs and a daughter by the same name. Two preserved fragments of Sappho's poetry refer to a Cleïs. In fragment 98, Sappho addresses Cleïs, saying that she has no way of obtaining a decorated headband for her. Fragment 132 reads in full: "I have a beautiful child who looks like golden flowers, my darling Cleis, for whom I would not ... more »
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On What Is Best
Some celebrate the beauty of knights, or infantry, or billowing flotillas at battle on the sea.
He Is More Than A Hero
He is more than a hero he is a god in my eyes-- the man who is allowed to sit beside you -- he
You May Forget But
You may forget but let me tell you this: someone in some future time
Sleep, darling I have a small daughter called Cleis, who is
Awed By Her Splendor
Awed by her splendor stars near the lovely moon cover their own bright faces
Although They Are
It's no use Mother dear, I can't finish my weaving
Yes, Atthis, you may be sure Even in Sardis Anactoria will think often of us
Ode To A Loved One
LEST as the immortal gods is he, The youth who fondly sits by thee, And hears and sees thee, all the while, Softly speaks and sweetly smile.
A Hymn To Venus
O Venus, beauty of the skies, To whom a thousand temples rise, Gaily false in gentle smiles,
And Their Feet Move
And their feet move rhythmically, as tender feet of Cretan girls danced once around an
Blest as the immortal gods is he, The youth whose eyes may look on thee, Whose ears thy tongue's sweet melody
In The Spring Twilight
Hymn To Aphrodite
Throned in splendor, immortal Aphrodite! Child of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee Slay me not in this distress and anguish, Lady of beauty.
On What Is Best
Some celebrate the beauty
of knights, or infantry,
or billowing flotillas
at battle on the sea.
Warfare has its glory,
but I place far above
these military splendors
the one thing that you love.
For proof of this contention
we all remember Helen,
who left her family,
her child, and royal husband,
to take a stranger's hand:
her beauty had no equal,
but bowed to love's command.
As love then is the power
that none can disobey,
so too my thoughts must follow
my darling far away:...