Did Sappho and Alcaeus ever meet? 2nd ed. Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, DC. mikan-toumorokoshi.info Previously published in Literatur. Sappho had read a lot as a child but without ever giving the slightest hint of an th Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association in Atlanta, Georgia. . poet who was born in the 42nd Olympiad [i.e. / BC], when Alcaeus. The fragments of Sappho and Alcaeus, poets of 6th-century Lesbos, can be read along mation via the work of feminist historians (see Ede, Glenn, and Lunsford) . In lyric poets of the Archaic era, Sappho was the one woman who created a body of . we find familiar elements-separate or intimate spaces, cultivation of the.
So the sympotic songs attributed to Alcaeus must be connected somehow to Dionysus. It is not enough to say, however, that Dionysus is the sympotic god.
The essence of Dionysus is not only sympotic. It is also theatrical. Dionysus is also the god of theater. So the question arises, how does the theatrical essence of Dionysus connect to the sympotic songs attributed to Alcaeus? In search of an answer, I begin by focusing on the role of Dionysus as the presiding god of the festival of the City Dionysia in Athens.
This festive occasion was the primary setting for Athenian state theater. In this sense, the songs of Alcaeus are not only sympotic: As I have argued elsewhere, the songs of Alcaeus were once performed in a quasi-theatrical setting, visualized as a festive occasion that takes place in a sacred space set aside for festivals.
The confederation was headed by the city of Mytilene, which dominated the other cities on the island. The exact location of Messon has been identified by Louis Robert, primarily on the basis of epigraphical evidence: Songs and of Alcaeus refer to Messon. As we will see later, this epithet is relevant to the myths and rituals of Dionysus in Lesbos. The roles may be either integrated with or alienated from the community that is meant to hear the performances of these songs.
Both the integration and the alienation may be expressed as simultaneously political and personal, and the personal feelings frequently show an erotic dimension—either positive or negative. Even in songs that dwell on feelings of alienation, however, the overall context is nevertheless one of integration.
Alcaeus figures as a citizen of Mytilene who became alienated from his city in his own lifetime and was forced to take refuge in the federal sacred space called Messon—only to become notionally reintegrated with his community after he died, receiving the honors of a cult hero within this same sacred space.
The speaker expresses his alienation as he tells about his exile from his native city of Mytilene F But this same lonely place is where the speaker says he encounters a chorus of beautiful young women in the act of singing and dancing F As I have argued elsewhere, this reference is really a cross-reference to a form of choral performance that is typical of the songs of Sappho.
This choral role of Sappho is ignored in most standard modern works on Sappho and Alcaeus. Within the framework of that song, the lead singer becomes identified with Aphrodite by virtue of performing as the prima donna of a khoros.
So I have reached a point where I can begin my argumentation concerning an overlap with the songs of Sappho as performed in contexts appropriate to a khoros. To argue for such an overlap is to argue for a symmetry between the profane and the sacred in the songs of Alcaeus and Sappho, despite what appears at first to be a disconnectedness between these two sets of songs: Behind the appearances of [ This pattern is a matter of symmetry.
In archaic Greek poetry, symmetry is achieved by balancing two opposing members of a binary opposition, so that one member is marked and the other member is unmarked; while the marked member is exclusive of the unmarked, the unmarked member is inclusive of the marked, serving as the actual basis of inclusion.
Such a description suits the working relationship between the profane and the sacred in the songs of Alcaeus and Sappho. What is sacred about these songs is the divine basis of their performance in a festive setting, that is, at festivals sacred to gods.
What is profane about these songs is the human basis of what they express in that same setting. We see in these songs genuine expressions of human experiences, such as feelings of love, hate, anger, fear, pity, and so on. These experiences, though they are unmarked in everyday settings, are marked in festive settings. In other words, the symmetry of the profane and the sacred in the songs of Alcaeus and Sappho is a matter of balancing the profane as the marked member against the sacred as the unmarked member in their opposition to each other; while the profane is exclusive of the sacred, the sacred is inclusive of the profane, serving as the actual basis of inclusion.
Whereas the sacred includes the profane in festive situations, it can be expected to exclude the profane in non-festive situations. That is, in non-festive situations the sacred is marked and the profane is unmarked.
Did Sappho and Alcaeus Ever Meet?
Only in festive situations does the sacred become the unmarked member in its opposition with the profane. Only in festive situations does the sacred include the profane. Once the festival is over, the sacred can once again wall itself off from the profane. She is shown holding a lyre and plectrum, and turning to listen to Alcaeus. The testimonia regarding Sappho do not contain references contemporary to Sappho. Ten names are known for Sappho's father from the ancient testimonia; [e] this proliferation of possible names suggests that he was not explicitly named in any of Sappho's poetry.
A literary papyrus of the second century A. One tradition claims that Sappho committed suicide by jumping off of the Leucadian cliff.Sappho Biography
Erigyius, Larichus, and Charaxus. According to Athenaeus, Sappho often praised Larichus for pouring wine in the town hall of Mytilene, an office held by boys of the best families.
One ancient tradition tells of a relation between Charaxus and the Egyptian courtesan Rhodopis. Herodotus, the oldest source of the story, reports that Charaxus ransomed Rhodopis for a large sum and that Sappho wrote a poem rebuking him for this. A tradition going back at least to Menander Fr. This is regarded as unhistorical by modern scholars, perhaps invented by the comic poets or originating from a misreading of a first-person reference in a non-biographical poem.
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema 's Sappho and Alcaeus above portrays her staring rapturously at her contemporary Alcaeus; images of a lesbian Sappho, such as Simeon Solomon 's painting of Sappho with Erinna belowwere much less common in the nineteenth century. Today Sappho, for many, is a symbol of female homosexuality;  the common term lesbian is an allusion to Sappho, originating from the name of the island of Lesboswhere she was born. In classical Athenian comedy from the Old Comedy of the fifth century to Menander in the late fourth and early third centuries BCSappho was caricatured as a promiscuous heterosexual woman,  and it is not until the Hellenistic period that the first testimonia which explicitly discuss Sappho's homoeroticism are preserved.
The earliest of these is a fragmentary biography written on papyrus in the late third or early second century BC,  which states that Sappho was "accused by some of being irregular in her ways and a woman-lover".
InDenys Page, for example, stated that Sappho's extant fragments portray "the loves and jealousies, the pleasures and pains, of Sappho and her companions"; and he adds, "We have found, and shall find, no trace of any formal or official or professional relationship between them, Campbell in judged that Sappho may have "presided over a literary coterie", but that "evidence for a formal appointment as priestess or teacher is hard to find".
Parker argues that Sappho should be considered as part of a group of female friends for whom she would have performed, just as her contemporary Alcaeus is. Winkler argues for two, one edited by Aristophanes of Byzantium and another by his pupil Aristarchus of Samothrace. For instance, the Cologne Papyrus on which the Tithonus poem is preserved was part of a Hellenistic anthology of poetry, which contained poetry arranged by theme, rather than by metre and incipit, as it was in the Alexandrian edition.