Sappho Name Meaning & Origin

Sappho

Pronunciation: n/a

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Pronounced: SAF-o (English)

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Possibly from Greek σαπφειρος (sappheiros) meaning "sapphire" or "lapis lazuli"
This was the name of a 7th-century BC Greek poetess from the island Lesbos.

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Sappho was born in the late 700s BCE on Lesbos, one of the larger islands in the Aegean, near Lydia (now Turkey). Little is known about her personal life other than she was probably from an aristocratic family; she married and had at least one daughter.

Her poetry suggests that she was the center of a closely-knit group of women; we don't know if this was some kind of an academy or a chorus of singers. We do know that Sappho composed epithalamia (marriage songs) for performance by a group. But her preferred form seems to have been songs to be sung or recited by an individual to the accompaniment of a lyre, some perhaps for religious or civic festivals. She is the most famous female poet of ancient Greece.

Almost 200 fragments of Sappho's poetry are extant, but many of these are only a word or a few words. One poem, usually called the "Hymn to Aphrodite," may be complete, but we aren't sure. Even from fragments we can tell that Sappho had the ability to look at herself and others clearly --- often ironically

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there was a terrible movie made in 2009 with the name Sappho as the title, about a newly wed couple arriving to the Island of Lesbos in the 1920's and the lead female character loosing her heart and life to a female archeologist researching Sappho.

An exerpt from one of Sappho, the poetess, translated song: "Come to me; what I seek in vain    Bring thou; into my spirit send    Peace after care, balm after pain; And be my friend"

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