born between 612 and 630 BC, is a bright moon that the ancient Greek civilization held for mankind. Her reputation as one of the few female poets of antiquity is no less than that of the greatest male poets of her era, and she is regarded as the founder of feminist writing.
It is said that Sappho came from an aristocratic family, received a good education when he was a child, and enjoyed a rich and luxurious life. However, he was exiled from Sicily when he was young because his family was involved in a case against the ruling king. During her exile, she was able to marry a wealthy Sicilian man and have a daughter named Claire. Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last long, and her husband died soon after. When she left this sad place in Sicily, she was left with only the wealth and daughter he left her, and the sorrows to sing. According to some scholars, Sappho’s poetry writing began precisely during her last years in Sicily. At this time, she was calm and lonely, but she spread the name of poetry in the peace and loneliness.
Years passed, and Sappho finally ended this bitter exile. With the laurels of the poetess famous throughout Greece, she returned to her hometown of Lesbos, the island of her dreams. Out of admiration for her reputation, noble families along the Aegean Sea sent their daughters to her door, hoping that she would teach them poetry, lyre, the arts of dress and beauty. For a time, young girls from all over Greece gathered around Sappho. They recite poems, play the piano and sing all day long, living a simple and poetic life. Sappho also relied on her poetry to write many fascinating chapters that have been passed down to this day.
However, due to the lack of historical data, facing the most splendid page of Sappho’s life, we can only rely on the speculations of scholars to fill the gap. And there is no reasonable explanation for one of the biggest controversies surrounding Sappho for thousands of years. That is the suspense about whether Sappho and her female disciple have any affection other than the teacher-student relationship.
Based on the only evidence Sappho has left us, namely, the ambiguous fragments of poetry, it seems insufficient to draw convincing conclusions. Although some kind of admiration for women and jealousy for men are revealed in it, they are not explicit, but only a hint. And because of the incompleteness of Sappho’s poems, its translators often need to fill in the thorny gaps in the poems to make the poems look more complete and clear. This can only make Sappho’s original intention farther and farther away from us, and it is impossible to speculate in the end.
According to the speculations of scholars and scholars for thousands of years, Sappho’s experience will become full of drama, thus losing the real sense of life. Some of them firmly believed that Sappho loved women, as she sang in the poem: “I will never change my heart toward you, beautiful people.” Sappho only used an exaggerated method to express his love for his female disciple, and did not have the tendency to cast her disgraced homosexual stigma. As for the poets of later generations, they basically did not pay attention to the credibility of legends. They used these stories, which became more and more mythical, to weave their own Sappho images to express their feelings in their chests.
Therefore, it is impossible to obtain absolute truth in the study of Sappho’s love entanglement. We can only follow another bumpy trail to explore the second half of Sappho’s legendary life. Perhaps, we can give up the search for the situation at that time, and instead look for the truth that belongs to each era and each person in the different impressions of Sappho.
First, the Suida Dictionary, compiled in the 10th century AD, says: “She had three companions, Atdis, Trisba, and Megara. Their impure friendship gave Sappho a notoriety.” According to another archaeological text (exactly because of its unearthed, today’s readers have the privilege of reading several fragments of Sappho’s poems): “She is said to be disorderly and love women.” Although these descriptions do not It is not authoritative, because even the Lu paper text, its original transcription time has passed more than 800 years from the time of Sappho’s life. But if we take these speculations and dubious rumours as a bridge, then we touch upon another major doubt in Sappho’s life, which decisively connected to her death.
The 14th-century Italian poet Boccaccio wrote in his biography for Sappho: “She finds happiness in poetry as she suffers misfortune in love.” The misfortune in love mentioned here is not her The pain experienced when parting with female disciples. But it stemmed from a rumor that began to circulate two or three hundred years after Sappho’s death, that she fell in love with a man named Faon after that. He is a troubled fisherman, young and handsome, and his image is always strong and masculine in the paintings of painters. Legend has it that his passionate and bitter love for Sappho’s performance was always treated with indifference and neglect. It is also said that Sappho and he once fell in love, but because of his drowsiness and no fixed place, he became an abandoned wife. As Ovid sang in “Sappho to Faon”: “It’s good now – you are in love with your new love in Sicily – what is Lesbos to me? If only I were a woman of Sicily!” So
far We are approaching the end of Sappho’s life, and no matter which of the two statements above is true, Sappho has failed to capture Faon’s heart. On the island of Lesbos, all she faces is loneliness and loss. She is eager to get rid of this unsustainable love, but also indulges in the thoughts of Faweng and cannot extricate herself. She seems to be being punished by men because of her deformed love in the past, and it seems that her different love has attracted the curse of female lovers, she resolutely abandons them, and finally ends up being betrayed.
In any case, when longing and despair reached an unbearable height at the same time, Sappho chose to use death to end all these fates and entanglements. Her jump over Lucas’s cliff not only ended her 55 years of life, but also left an eternal legend for future generations. People at the time believed that jumping into the sea from the cliffs of Lucas could cure hopeless love, and if they survived, the jumper would be free from that love. Just as the sun falls from the sea and rises again the next day, the despairing person will get the new life she hopes for after falling into the sea.
What about the facts? Although Sappho’s body disappeared with the waves crashing on the shore, her spirit turned into a dazzling morning star after the long nights, leading civilization to move forward.
Sappho’s Poems The
mention of Sappho is impossible to avoid her poetry. As a poet known for her mournful lyric poems, the reason why I went to understand her experience was to better understand the meaning of the poems.
Twenty-six hundred years before Sappho lived, poetry was spread by word of mouth, and the function of writing was only auxiliary. Most people, probably including Sappho, are not comfortable using Greek. But with her mastery of syllables and rhythm, and her natural sense of poetry, she still created a remarkable art of poetry. Playing the cold seven strings of the qin, just like the poets of the Tang, Song and Five Dynasties, she sang a tactful and moving masterpiece in harmony with the ghostly sound of the qin.
It is a pity that what we can read today is only a very small part of it – one is basically complete, the rest are incomplete to varying degrees, and some of them can’t even read the meaning that Sappho wanted to express. Thinking of Sappho’s poems, which used to have as many as nine volumes, there are only one scale and half a claw left, and it is inevitable that people will regret it. According to the research of scholars of the Renaissance, the reason why the poems are scattered is probably due to the suppression of heresy by fanatical Christian believers in the Middle Ages. The flames of their torches burned Sappho’s mournful and low-pitched singing to a pile of ashes in an instant.
The past can not be remonstrated, and now we do not have to comment on the right and wrong of the ancients. Although little is left, the few remaining Sappho poems can still fascinate readers today. I remember the Greek sage Solon, who was at the same time as Sappho, said this when he heard his nephew recite her poems: “I have learned it, and I can die without regrets.” Boccaccio also said: ” Because of her passion, she has reached the pinnacle of poetry.” Even if the ancients of this generation read far more than today’s people, they can’t stop their eager eyes from looking for the poet’s emotional waves and exquisite poems in the fragments. art.
Calling Sappho’s commonly used four-line paragraph with a short and powerful final sentence as “Sapphic” is not something unique today. Since ancient times, there have been many literati and writers who imitated this structure to write poetry. But more writers and artists use symbols or pure poetry to deconstruct and reshape Sappho. Various postmodern interpretive techniques, combined with Sappho, a poet with weaker characteristics of the times, seem to complement each other. She is both ancient and modern, constantly taking over the coat of speech from the hands of future generations. It was as if the deified Sappho and her poetry were nothing but clay in the hands of the poet, allowing everyone to be shoved into the mold of their own ideas.
Speaking of ordinary readers, just as there are a thousand Hamlets in the eyes of a thousand people, Sappho’s poetry will also cast different reflections in the hearts of different people. Because these poems are full of ambiguity and temptation. They are melodious and eloquent, with precise words. The myriad verses show harmony and tension in the same paragraph, and the paragraphs echo each other to form a perfect whole. Like a piece of beautifully chord music, it still reflects the advancement of its intentions in its completeness. It pursues expressive strength and is as agile as spring water. It does not have the stagnant and epic sense of the popular narrative poems at that time, but focuses on dissecting the deepest feelings in the heart to express the love and hope for all things in the world and the gods. That is to say, her poetry represents a kind of emotional power that breaks through the shackles, an overflowing love like surging spring water.
Finally, I will end this article with Sappho’s verse:
To me, his enjoyment is like a god
Whoever he is, sits
across from you and listens to you talk softly in
your words and sweet in your laughter
, ah, It made my heart unsteady.
When I saw you, even for a
. The tongue was broken, and the blood was running
Small flames . The
darkness covered my eyes . My Even though I live and die, at least it seems to me— death is imminent , but I must endure it because □□□ Since the poor have nothing □□□ Note: Part of the translation used in this article is the same as that of Sappho. The poems are all excerpted from “Sappho: The Emergence of a European and American Literary Tradition” compiled by Tian Xiaofei. The “□” in the quoted poem is a residual character.