Monday, July 26, 2021

In Praise of Sappho: Greek Anthology, VII.407


Dulcissimum amantibus iuvenibus levamentum amorum,

O Sappho, cum Musis sane te Pieria

aut Helicon hederosus, paria spirantem illis,

ornat, te Eresi Musam in Aeolide;

aut etiam Hymen Hymenaeus habens bene-fulgidam picam,

tecum sponsalibus stat super thalamis;

aut Cinyrae novum germen ploranti Veneri

congemens, caelicolarum sacrum lucum vides:

ubique, veneranda, salve aeque ac dii! tuas enim cautiones

immortalium ducimus nunc adhuc filias.

ἥδιστον φιλέουσι νέοις προσανάκλιμ᾽ ἐρώτων,

Σαπφώ, σὺν Μούσαις ἦ ῥά σε Πιερίη

ἢ Ἑλικὼν εὔκισσος, ἴσα πνείουσαν ἐκείναις,

κοσμεῖ, τὴν Ἐρέσῳ Μοῦσαν ἐν Αἰολίδι,

ἢ καὶ Ὑμὴν Ὑμέναιος ἔχων εὐφεγγέα πεύκην

σὺν σοὶ νυμφιδίων ἵσταθ᾽ ὑπὲρ θαλάμων

ἢ Κινύρεω νέον ἔρνος ὀδυρομένῃ Ἀφροδίτῃ

σύνθρηνος, μακάρων ἱερὸν ἄλσος ὁρῇς:

πάντῃ, πότνια, χαῖρε θεοῖς ἴσα: σὰς γὰρ ἀοιδὰς

ἀθανάτων ἄγομεν νῦν ἔτι θυγατέρας.

--Dioscorides, Greek Anthology VII.407; Translated into Latin by Hugo Grottius

O Sappho, sweetest support of young people in love,

Whom Pieria & ivy-covered Helicon revere alongside the Muses,

(you breathe* the same inspirational air)

O Muse of Aeolian Eresus.

O Sappho, you who stand beside Hymen & Hymenaeus,

Presiding over wedding ceremonies with a brilliantly shining pine torch**.

O Sappho, you who watch over the glade sacred to the gods

Grieving with Aphrodite as she mourns the Cinyras’ sprout,***

Hail, my Queen! Equal in every way to the gods,

We count your songs among the children of the Divine.


*  πνέω can refer to both inhaling and exhaling; this is a reference to the literal meaning of inspiration (in + spiro / ἐμ + πνέω)

** torches are symbols of wedding ceremonies, similar to modern bouquets

*** a reference to Venus' lover Adonis, whose death is recounted in Sappho's poetry



Name:  ????


Works:  Greek Anthology; Anthologia Graeca; Florilegii Graecii



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



 The Greek Anthology is a modern collection of Greek lyric poetry compiled from various sources over the course of Greco-Roman literature. The current collection was created from two major sources, one from the 10th century CE and one from the 14th century CE. The anthology contains authors spanning the entirety of Greek literature, from archaic poets to Byzantine Christian poets. 

 Byzantine Greek

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (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)



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