Monday, 3 February 2014


With all of the technology we have available to us now, we assume that we've found most of the ancient material that has survived since Roman and Greek times. This is why I was so excited to read about a brand new discovery - a poem by the Greek female love poet Sappho which hasn't been read aloud since roughly 300 AD (according to here - an alternative translation is also available at the bottom of the post)! 

A translation by Tom Payne, available here:

Still, you keep on twittering that Charaxos
comes, his boat full. That kind of thing I reckon
Zeus and his fellow gods know; and you mustn’t
make the assumption;
Rather, command me, let me be an envoy
praying intensely to the throne of Hera
who could lead him, he and his boat arriving
here, my Charaxos,
Finding me safely; let us then divert all
other concerns on to the lesser spirits;
after all, after hurricanes the clear skies
rapidly follow;
And the ones whose fate the Olympian ruler
wants to transform from troubles into better –
they are much blessed, they go about rejoicing
in their good fortune.
As for me, if Larichos reaches manhood,
[if he could manage to be rich and leisured,]
he would give me, so heavy-hearted, such a
swift liberation.

Another translation is available here

It's almost the entire poem which is surprising, usually only small fragments are found and only one complete poem of Sappho has survived! As a Classics student, I got so excited - it's hard to imagine people living that long ago so to find more pieces that were written and performed so long ago is incredible! 
There is also another poem that was discovered (both given to an Oxford Classics fellow together) which is only fragmented so it's an incredible discovery (a little on that here)!
If you want to read the full article with a little historical background and explanation, click here.
Jess xx


  1. I would have loved to have studied Classics, I did an Open University Latin course but it's the Greeks that really interest me. I didn't know about this, so thanks.

    1. I do it as an A level and it's honestly such an interesting subject! I don't do Greek or Latin but I'm planning on learning at least one of them within my Uni course! You're welcome - it's so exciting and I couldn't help but share in hope that someone else feels as happy as I do about this!!