Trying to read Sappho out loud without running out of breath

2021.09.07 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the classical Athenian vase painting that I have chosen as the lead-off illustration for my essay here, the painter has pictured a woman, seated, reading out loud. Her mouth is part-open, and her lips are moving, it seems. She is reading from a scroll of papyrus—sometimes called a roll—and the painter has fancifully indicated, with stylized dots, the lines of the song that… Read more

Can Sappho be freed from receivership? Part Two

2021.07.26 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Continuing the essay that started with Part One, culminating in a second look at the first word in Song 1 of Sappho, where the goddess Aphrodite is invoked as poikiló-thronos, I return here in Part Two to my proposed interpretation of this word as ‘wearing [a dress decorated with] pattern-woven flowers’. In the illustration for Part One, I already showed a picturing of such… Read more

Can Sappho be freed from receivership? Part One

2021.07.19 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay, I make a distinction between, on the one hand, what I describe as a receivership of Sappho in the world of Classics today and, on the other hand, the variegated reception of Sappho in the world of ancient Greek song culture. In making such a distinction, I repeat a term I once used—only once ever before in Classical Inquiries (Nagy 2015.12.31,… Read more

Sappho’s looks, and how Sappho looks at beauty

2021.07.12 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Reading the words of Sappho’s songs, we cannot picture her looks, that is, we cannot imagine what she looked like—I say it here in colloquial English. But we can readily imagine what she looked at—especially the beautiful things, the beautiful people. In this essay, I can show that Sappho’s looks in the ancient world—the way she looked—could be pictured as a mirroring of the… Read more

Starting with Anacreon while preparing a compendium of essays on Sappho and her ancient reception

2021.02.06 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In consultation with the editorial team of Classical Inquiries, I am preparing to submit to them, for a hoped-for free-standing online publication, a compendium of my published essays on the topic of Sappho’s ancient reception. In essays I have published more recently on this vast topic, especially in Classical Inquiries, I have tried to track, more thoroughly than in my less recent essays, other… Read more