Wednesday, February 5, 2020

W/W: Aphrodite, Be My Wingman: Sappho, Fr. 1

Versicolori solio, immortalis Venus,
puella Iovis, nectens dolos, supplico tibi,
ne me fastidiis, neque maeroribus doma,
Veneranda, animo,
Verum huc ades, si quando alias in amore
meam vocem tu audieris, (quam crebram acceperas)
auscultabas, patrisque domum relinquens auream venisti;
currum subiungens, pulchri vero te egerunt
veloces passeres alis pullis,
crebras vibrantes pennas de caelo per aethera medium.
Protinus vero pervenere: tu vero, o Beata, subridens immorali tuo vultus, quod vero
rogabas, quodnam erat, quod passa sum, et erat, quod te vocarem.
Et quodnam meo maxime velim fieri
penitus furenti animo, quamve rursus suadam,
atque irretientem amorem: quis te, o Sappho, laedit?
Etenim si te fugit, cito sequetur:
et si dona non accipit, quin ipse dabit:
et si non amat, cito amabit,
et si tu nolueris.
Veni ad me & nunc, durisque solve me
ex curis: quaeque mihi te perficere
animus concupiscit, perfice: tuque ipsa
Audiutrix esto.

Ποικιλόθρον᾽ ὰθάνατ᾽ ᾽Αφροδιτα,
παῖ Δίοσ, δολόπλοκε, λίσσομαί σε
μή μ᾽ ἄσαισι μήτ᾽ ὀνίαισι δάμνα,
πότνια, θῦμον.

ἀλλά τυίδ᾽ ἔλθ᾽, αἴποτα κἀτέρωτα
τᾶσ ἔμασ αύδωσ αἴοισα πήλγι
ἔκλυεσ πάτροσ δὲ δόμον λίποισα
χρύσιον ἦλθεσ

ἄρμ᾽ ὐποζεύξαια, κάλοι δέ σ᾽ ἆγον
ὤκεεσ στροῦθοι περὶ γᾶσ μελαίνασ
πύκνα δινεῦντεσ πτέῤ ἀπ᾽ ὠράνω
αἴθεροσ διὰ μέσσω.

αῖψα δ᾽ ἐχίκοντο, σὺ δ᾽, ὦ μάσαιρα
μειδιάσαισ᾽ ἀθάνατῳ προσώπῳ,
ἤρἐ ὄττι δηὖτε πέπονθα κὤττι
δἦγτε κάλημι

κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι
μαινόλᾳ θύμῳ, τίνα δηὖτε πείθω
μαῖσ ἄγην ἐσ σὰν φιλότατα τίσ τ, ὦ
Πσάπφ᾽, ἀδίκηει;

καὶ γάρ αἰ φεύγει, ταχέωσ διώξει,
αἰ δὲ δῶρα μὴ δέκετ ἀλλά δώσει,
αἰ δὲ μὴ φίλει ταχέωσ φιλήσει,
κωὐκ ἐθέλοισα.

ἔλθε μοι καὶ νῦν, χαλεπᾶν δὲ λῦσον
ἐκ μερίμναν ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι
θῦμοσ ἰμμέρρει τέλεσον, σὐ δ᾽ αὔτα
σύμμαχοσ ἔσσο

--Sappho, Frag. 1 (Fragment 6, Translated into Latin by Jo. Christian Wolf)

Iridescent-throned goddess,
O immortal Venus, Daughter of Jupiter,
O crafty vixen, I pray to you,
do not overwhelm my heart with hatred or grief.
Blessed one, stay by my side!
For you have always heard my prayers as I languished in love,
you would listen to me and support me time and time again,
you would leave the golden palace of your heavenly father to come to me,
yoking your chariot with  swift doves,
their tiny wings  fluttering as they bore you between the sky and the ether.
They brought you to me quickly;
but you, o Blessed one, smirking with your immortal smile,
you asked me again and again what was wrong, what I felt, and why I was calling you.
And asking me what I yearned for most in my troubled heart,
and what love has caught me this time.
Asking, "O Sappho, who hurt you this time?
If someone plays hard to get, they'll soon start to pursue you;
if they don't accept your favors, soon they'll be the one to lavish you with gifts,
even if you don't like them that way.
Come to me, Aphrodite! Release me from my overwhelming anxiety;
let me obtain whatever my heart desires,
be my wingman.

Name:  Σαπφώ / Sappho
Date:  630 – 570 BCE
Works:  <lost: only fragments remain>

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

Sappho was universally applauded by the ancient world as the “Tenth Muse.” Because she was one of the earliest Greek lyric poets, there is very little definitive information on Sappho’s life.  It is generally agreed that Sappho was a wealthy noblewoman from the island of Lesbos who had three brothers and a daughter named Kleis. She used her prominent social position to support a cohort of other women artists, and composed many poems about them, expressing her love for them, praising their beauty, and celebrating their marriages. Whereas earlier Greek poetry was epic poetry with serious themes of gods, warfare, and the state, Sappho’s lyric poetry is emotional, intimate and personal. Her poetry centers around womanhood and womanly love, providing rare insight into social mores of the time period. The modern term “lesbian” (a woman who is attracted to another woman) reveals the longevity of her impact upon western culture [NOTE: Although “lesbian” is the accepted term in modern English, authors in the ancient world used a different word for a homosexual woman, and only occasionally used the term “lesbian” euphemistically]. Unfortunately, although her poetry was universally revered by the Greeks and Romans alike, Sappho’s works only exist as fragments, adding mysterious allure to her larger-than-life status but unfortunately hindering our understanding of her life and thoughts.
 Archaic Greek
ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); ALEXANDRIAN: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)