The Ancient Library

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On this page: Sappho – Sarapis – Sarcophagus



Her poems were divided by the Alexan­drine scholars into nine books according to their metres ; and besides the purely lyric

running crosswise over the instep, or by two straps fastened to the side-edges and tied together in a knot or by a clasp. Soles were also worn, which were provided with a close-fitting piece of leather at the heel and with a piece of leather, sometimes nar­row, sometimes broad, at the sides. These last were so laced together by straps round the ankles, that the toes and the flat of the foot remained uncovered. (Cp. solea.)

Sappho. The greatest poetess of antiquity, born at My tilene or Eresus in Lesbfis, lived between 630 and 570 B.C., being a younger contemporary of Alcseus (see cut). She was married to a rich man of Andr6s, and had a daughter named dais. About 596 she was obliged to flee from Lesbos, probably in consequence of political disturbances, and to remain some time in Sicily. In


o Borbonico, x, iiii.

(3) Mmet . .

(4) Clarac, Must's, v 848, no. 2U

1) & (5) Museo Pin-Clement, iv tav. nil, |2) Winckelmann, Opin, tav. lii.

songs, among which the Eplthdlamla, or wedding-lays, were particularly celebrated, they included elegies and epigrams. Two of her odes, with a number of short frag­ments, are still extant. Her odes were for the most part composed in the metre named after her the sapphic strSphS (or stanza), which was so much used by Horace. They are among the tenderest and most charming productions in the whole range of extant Greek literature, and afford some percep­tion of the points of excellence ascribed to Sappho by antiquity: sincerity and depth of feeling, delicacy of rhythm, and grace and melodiousness of language.

Sarapls. See serapis.


" Darlt-haireA, pure, avid sweetly smiling Sappho, Fain tcould I any something, save that shame prevents me."

—Alcana, frftgm. 55, Bci-ffk. (Terra-cotta relief from Meloa, British Museum.)

her later years she was again living in Lesbos, in the society of young girls with an inspiration for poetry. (See erinna.) Although, according to the principles expressed in her own poems, and according to trustworthy testimonies of antiquity, she was a woman of pure and strict life, yet later scandal unwarrantably put an immoral interpretation on this society. Equally unfounded is the legend emanating from the Attic comedians, that she threw herself from the Leucadian rock into the sea out of despair at the rejection of her love by a handsome seaman named Phaon {fragm. of Menander's Leucadia].

Sarcfiphagns. Properly KthOs sarco-phagOs, a kind of stone (alum-slate) found near AssSs, in the district of Troas in Asia Minor; so called because it had the peculiar property, that all corpses laid in it were completely consumed in forty days, with the exception of the teeth. [Cp. Pliny, N. H. ii 211.] Usually coffins were only inlaid with it in order to hasten decomposition. Then the name is given generally to any stone-coffin, such as those which were customary among Greeks and Romans, among the latter particularly after the 2nd century a.d. (Cp. sculpture, and for a



specimen see muses.) The cut represents the sarcophagus of L, Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, consul 298 b.c., great-grandfather

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