(9,631 words)

(Ψάπφω/Psápphō or Σαπφώ/Sapphṓ; Latin Sappho)

A. Historical dimension

S. (c. 600 BC) was and is the most famous female poet of Antiquity. Like her countryman and contemporary Alcaeus, she wrote in the Aeolian dialect of Greek, but in both metre and language (neologisms, composite words) she was particularly versatile and inventive. Terminological and thematic elements of her surviving work show that she was well-versed in the epic tradition (Homer, Hesiod; Homer) and earlier poetry (esp. Archilochus). Her transformatory resonances anticipate the intertextual te…

Cite this page
Schlesier, Renate, “Sappho”, in: Brill’s New Pauly Supplements II - Volume 7 : Figures of Antiquity and their Reception in Art, Literature and Music, English edition by Chad M. Schroeder (2016). Original German-language edition: Historische Gestalten der Antike: Rezeption in Literatur, Kunst und Musik. Herausgegeben von Peter von Möllendorf, Annette Simonis und Linda Simonis. Serie: Der Neue Pauly Supplemente 2. Staffel, herausgegeben von Manfred Landfester und Helmuth Schneider, vol. 7. Stuttgart, Germany. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH (2013). Consulted online on 20 October 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160217

▲   Back to top   ▲