Roman women.

— Lex Oppia
— Cornelia
— Laudatio Turiae

1a. Sarah Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves (1975: 179, 177): 

“After the defeat of Hannibal in 201 B.C., Rome swiftly recovered. Men were allowed to display their prosperity. They wore purple, and their horses could be magnificently equipped. But the Oppian Law remained in effect, curtailing displays by women. The law was an irritant, despite some hints that it was not strictly enforced at all times. In 195 B.C. the repeal of this law was proposed, and women demonstrated in the streets…[p177] The women who gathered in 195 B.C. to demand the abrogation of the Oppian Law which had been in force for twenty years staged the first women’s demonstration..”

1b. Women in the Classical World, p260:

“the Lex Oppia restricted women’s finery and withdrew their privilege of riding in carriages; the law, unreported in the urgencies of the military narrative, only arouses the historians’ interest in peacetime when a move was made to repeal it (in 195 B.C.).”

1c. Livy, History of Rome (1st c. BCE/CE), 34.1. Roman women march in protest in 195 BCE for the repeal of the Lex Oppia (Oppian Law), passed 215 BCE.

Among the troubles of great wars, either scarcely over or yet to come, something intervened which, while it can be told briefly, stirred up enough excitement to become a great battle. Marcus Fundanius and Lucius Valerius, the tribunes of the people, brought a motion to repeal the Oppian law before the people [195 BCE]. Gaius Oppius had carried this law as tribune at the height of the Punic War, during the consulship of Quintus Fabius and Tiberius Sempronius [215 BCE].

The law said that no woman might own more than half an ounce of gold nor wear a multicoloured dress nor ride in a carriage in the city or in a town within a mile of it, unless there was a religious festival. The tribunes, Marcus and Publius Junius Brutus, were in favour of the Oppian law and said that they would not allow its repeal. Many noble men came forward hoping to persuade or dissuade them; a crowd of men, both supporters and opponents, filled the Capitoline Hill.

The matrons, whom neither counsel nor shame nor their husbands’ orders could keep at home, blockaded every street in the city and every entrance to the Forum. As the men came down to the Forum, the matrons besought them to let them, too, have back the luxuries they had enjoyed before, giving as their reason that the republic was thriving and that everyone’s private wealth was increasing with every day. This crowd of women was growing daily, for now they were even gathering from the towns and villages. Before long they dared go up and solicit the consuls, praetors, and other magistrates; but one of the consuls could not be moved in the least, Marcus Porcius Cato [censor 184 BCE], who spoke in favour of the law:

‘If each man of us, fellow citizens, had established that the right and authority of the husband should be held over the mother of his own family, we should have less difficulty with women in general; now, at home our freedom is conquered by female fury, here in the Forum it is bruised and trampled upon, and, because we have not contained the individuals, we fear the lot …

‘Indeed, I blushed when, a short while ago, I walked through the midst of a band of women. Had not respect for the dignity and modesty of certain ones (not them all!) restrained me (so they would not be seen being scolded by a consul), I should have said, “What kind of behaviour is this? Running around in public, blocking streets, and speaking to other women’s husbands! Could you not have asked your own husbands the same thing at home? Are you more charming in public with others’ husbands than at home with your own? And yet, it is not fitting even at home (if modesty were to keep married women within the bounds of their rights) for you to concern yourselves with what laws are passed or repealed here.

Our ancestors did not want women to conduct any — not even private — business without a guardian; they wanted them to be under the authority of parents, brothers, or husbands; we (the gods help us!) even now let them snatch at the government and meddle in the Forum and our assemblies. What are they doing now on the streets and crossroads, if they are not persuading the tribunes to vote for repeal? Give the reins to their unbridled nature and this unmastered creature, and hope that they will put limits on their own freedom; unless you do something yourselves, this is the least of the things imposed upon them either by custom or by law which they endure with hurt feelings. They want freedom, nay licence (if we are to speak the truth), in all things.

‘If they are victorious now, what will they not attempt? … As soon as they begin to be your equals, they will have become your superiors …’

[Read the rest of Cato’s speech, plus Valerius’s response.]

2. Cornelia, 2nd c. BCE. Daughter of Scipio Africanus, wife of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, mother of the “Gracchi” brothers (Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus).

2a. Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures, c. 1785. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.


2b. Victoria C. Gardner Coates (2011: 55-56): “Kauffmann deliberately set out to break into the exclusively male realm of monumental history painting in the second half of the eighteenth century…Achieving them was a tall order as women did not have ready access to the scholarly and artistic training necessary to become a successful painter of complex, historical subjects. But thanks to an unusually rigorous classical education, Kauffmann was familiar with the ancient texts that customarily provided themes for such paintings, and she compensated for her lack of life-drawing experience by closely studying classical sculpture…[S]he became one of only six ‘history painters’ among the thirty-six founding members of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.”

3a. Valerius MaximusMemorable Deeds and Sayings (1st c. CE), 4.4:

Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, had a Campanian matron as a guest in her house, who showed her jewellery, the finest in existence at that period. Cornelia kept her in talk until her children came home from school, and then said, “These are my jewels.”

4. Livy, History of Rome (1st c. BCE/CE), 38.57. Cornelia’s marriage (180s? 170s? BCE).

The story goes on that the senate, which chanced to dine that day on the Capitoline, had risen up and begged that during the banquet Africanus should betroth his daughter to Gracchus. When the contract had been duly made at this public ceremony and Scipio had returned home, he told his wife Aemilia that he had arranged a marriage for their younger daughter. When she, being irritated, as a woman would naturally be, that he had not consulted with her about the daughter of both of them, had added that not even if he were promising her to Tiberius Gracchus should the mother have been excluded from the deliberation, Scipio, they say, rejoicing at their harmony of opinion, replied that it was to Gracchus that he had betrothed her. However much at variance are these accounts of so great a man, they have seemed worthy of presentation.

5a. Cicero, On Divination (1st c. BCE), 1.36. Tiberius’ death (c. 154 BCE).

What do you say of that well-known incident of Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Publius? He was censor [169 BCE] and consul twice [177 BCE; 163 BCE]; besides that he was a most competent augur, a wise man and a preeminent citizen. Yet he, according to the account left us by his son Gaius, having caught two snakes in his home, called in the soothsayers to consult them. They advised him that if he let the male snake go his wife must die in a short time; and if he released the female snake his own death must soon occur. Thinking it more fitting that a speedy death should overtake him rather than his young wife, who was the daughter of Publius Africanus, he released the female snake and died within a few days.

5b. Lararium. Wall fresco from Pompeii, House VII.6.3. Mid-1st century CE. Naples, National Archaeological Museum. Image: Ann Raia, 2010 (via vroma.org).



6. Fragments (?) of Cornelia’s letter to her son. Transmitted by Cornelius Nepos (in *his* fragments…), 1st c. BCE.

Fragment 1: You will say that it is glorious to take vengeance on one’s enemies. That seems to no one greater and more glorious than it does to me, but only if it can be done without injury to one’s country. But inasmuch as that cannot be, long and surely shall our enemies not perish but remain as they now are, rather than that our country should be ruined and perish.

Fragment 2: I would not hesitate to take oath in set terms that except for the murderers of Tiberius Gracchus no enemy has caused me so much annoyance and trouble as you have because of these events—you who ought, as the only survivor of all the children that I have had in the past, to have taken their place and to have seen to it that I had the least possible anxiety in my old age; you, who ought to have wished that all your actions should above all be agreeable to me, and should consider it impious to do anything of great importance contrary to my advice, especially when I have so brief a portion of my life left. Cannot even that brief span aid me in preventing you from opposing me and ruining your country? Finally, where will you make an end? Will our family ever cease from madness? Will it ever be possible to observe moderation? Shall we ever cease to insist on causing and suffering trouble? Shall we ever be ashamed of embroiling and harassing our country? But if any change is impossible, sue for the tribunate after I am dead; do whatever you like, so far as I am concerned, when I shall no longer be aware of it. When I am no more, you will offer funerary sacrifices in my honour, and invoke the god of our family. Are you not ashamed at that time to ask for the prayers of those as gods, whom you abandoned and deserted when they were alive and present with you? May great Jupiter forbid you to persist in that course or to allow such madness to enter your mind. But if you do persist, I fear that through your own fault you may bring such trouble upon your whole life that you can never make peace with yourself.

7a. Fragment of the opening lines of Laudatio Turiae. Rome, Terme Diocleziano, (National Museums). Image: Barbara McManus (2004), via vroma.org.


7b. So-called Laudatio Turiae, 10-9 BCE = ILS 8393. 

Left hand column.

(27) Marriages as long as ours are rare, marriages that are ended by death and not broken by divorce. For we were fortunate enough to see our marriage last without disharmony for fully 40 years. I wish that our long union had come to its final end through something that had befallen me instead of you; it would have been more just if I as the older partner had had to yield to fate through such an event.

(30) Why should I mention your domestic virtues: your loyalty, obedience, affability, reasonableness, industry in working wool, religion without superstition, sobriety of attire, modesty of appearance? Why dwell on your love for your relatives, your devotion to your family? You have shown the same attention to my mother as you did to your own parents, and have taken care to secure an equally peaceful life for her as you did for your own people, and you have innumerable other merits in common with all married women who care for their good name. It is your very own virtues that I am asserting, and very few women have encountered comparable circumstances to make them endure such sufferings and perform such deeds. Providentially Fate has made such hard tests rare for women.

Right hand column.

(2a) You provided abundantly for my needs during my flight and gave me the means for a dignified manner of living, when you took all the gold and jewellery from your own body and sent it to me and over and over again enriched me in my absence with servants, money and provisions, showing great ingenuity in deceiving the guards posted by our adversaries.

(6a) You begged for my life when I was abroad[5]-it was your courage that urged you to this step-and because of your entreaties I was shielded by the clemency of those against whom you marshalled your words. But whatever you said was always said with undaunted courage.

(31) When you despaired of your ability to bear children and grieved over my childlessness, you became anxious lest by retaining you in marriage I might lose all hope of having children and be distressed for that reason. So you proposed a divorce outright and offered to yield our house free to another woman’s fertility. Your intention was in fact that you yourself, relying on our well-known conformity of sentiment, would search out and provide for me a wife who was worthy and suitable for me, and you declared that you would regard future children as joint and as though your own, and that you would not effect a separation of our property which had hitherto been held in common, but that it would still be under my control and, if I wished so, under your administration: nothing would be kept apart by you, nothing separate, and you would thereafter take upon yourself the duties and the loyalty of a sister and a mother-in-law.


Women poets.

— Corinna
— Telesilla
— Praxilla

1. Fragment of a marble head of a woman from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, c. 550-530 BCE. Cover of Josephine Balmer’s Classical Women Poets. Image: British Museum.


2a. Josephine Balmer, Women Classical Poets (1996: 9):

“In the first century AD [=CE], Antipater of Thessalonica‘s enthusiasm for classical women’s poetry was hardly excessive; apart from his nine earthly ‘Muses’ — Praxilla, Moero, Anyte, Myrtis, Erinna, Telesilla, Corinna, Nossis and Sappho — modern scholarship has unearthed the names of at least thirteen additional Greek women poets, while the Roman period yields another seven — twenty-nine names in all. Yet today the question asked first about their poetry is not the customary ‘is it worth reading?’ (although that often comes later), but rather, ‘is there any left to read?’ Here Tillie Olsen’s dictum that ‘we who write are survivors‘ [1978: 39] has a material as well as a metaphorical resonance…And of these twenty-nine, the work of only sixteen is extant, often fragmentary.”

2b. Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (1986: 15):

“When Darwinian theory dominated historical thought, pre-history was seen as a ‘barbaric’ stage in the evolutionary progress of humankind from the simpler to the more complex. That which succeeded and survived was by the fact of its survival considered superior to that which vanished and had thus ‘failed.'”

2c. Tillie OlsenSilences (1979/2003: 39):

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 12.34.50 PM.png

3. Josephine Balmer, Women Classical Poets (1996: 20):

“This is a particular problem with early poetry, originally performed to musical accompaniment, which, like song lyrics, can seem disappointing on the page. Such tampering might appear as cultural arrogance, casting the freshness of classical poetry as ‘inferior’ to the more tortuous semantic complexities of modern (and particularly modernist) poetry. In the case of women poets, there is also the danger of implying — as has often been the case — an ineptitude based on gender.”

4. Corinna, 5th c. BCE? 3rd c. BCE? Tanagra, Boeotia. 


4a. Josephine Balmer, Women Classical Poets (1996: 33-34):

“To complicate matters futher, although some ancient commentators claim she was a contemporary with Pindar, a Boeotian male poet of the fifth century BC (and that both were pupils of the poetess Myrtis whose works is now lost), the distinctive spelling conventions found on the surviving manuscript of her work, the Berlin Papyrus, date from the third century BC. An academic debate has ensued…[p34] the arguments seem inconclusive on both sides.”

4b. Pausanias (2nd c. CE), Description of Greece (9.22.3): 

Corinna, the only lyric poetess of Tanagra has her tomb in a conspicuous part of the city, and in the gymnasium is a painting of Corinna binding her head with a fillet for the victory she won over Pindar at Thebes with a lyric poem. I believe that her victory was partly due to the dialect she used, for she composed, not in Doric speech like Pindar, but in one Aeolians would understand, and partly to her being, if one may judge from the likeness, the most beautiful woman of her time.

4c. Josephine Balmer, Women Classical Poets (1996: 34):

“Modern scholarship has been even less kind; Corinna’s poetry, like that of Sappho and so many other women poets, has often been accused of parochial homeliness and ‘extreme simplicity.’ Feminist critics have been even harsher, charging Corinna’s often brutal mythologies of perpetuating a male-dominated literary tradition — the ‘male value system’ — with her female world.”

5a. Corinna no. 9* (Balmer): “Songs of Old”:
* transmitted by Oxyrhynchus papyrus, P. Oxy. 2370 (c. 200 CE). Attributed to Corinna because of citations by 2nd c. CE Hephaestion (Ench. 16.3) and 2nd c. CE Antoninus Liberalis (25).

On me my Muse has served her summons
to sing these beautiful songs of old
for Tanagran women in their dawn-
white dresses; as the city takes such
pleasure in my teasing-trilling songs.

for whatever great [deeds great heroes
might perform,] still taller tales [are told,]
the earth their open field for battle.
And so I’ve reset our father’s tales,
[reworked their crown with these new jewels]
as I take up my lyre for my girls:

Often I’ve polished tales of Cephisus,
our country’s own first founding-father,
often of Lord Orion, the fifty
high-and-mighty sons he brought into
being — with help from their mother nymphs;

and then at last I sang of Libya,
[Thebes’ fair fore-mother…]

5b. P. Oxy. 2370 (c. 200 CE). Fragment of Corinna (=5a).

P 2370 Corinna Balmer 9.jpg

6. Telesilla, 5th c. BCE. Argos


6a. Pausanias (2nd c. CE), Description of Greece (9.20.8-9): 

Above the theater [at Argos] is a sanctuary of Aphrodite, and before the image is a slab with a representation wrought on it in relief of Telesilla, the lyric poetess. Her books lie scattered at her feet, and she herself holds in her hand an helmet, which she is looking at and is about to place on her head. Telesilla was a distinguished woman who was especially renowned for her poetry. It happened that the Argives had suffered an awful defeat at the hands of Cleomenes, the son of Anaxandrides, and the Lacedaemonians [494 BCE]. Some fell in the actual fighting; others, who had fled to the grove of Argus, also perished. At first they left sanctuary under an agreement, which was treacherously broken, and the survivors, when they realized this, were burnt to death in the grove. So when Cleomenes led his troops to Argos there were no men to defend it.

[2.20.9] But Telesilla mounted on the wall all the slaves and such as were incapable of bearing arms through youth or old age, and she herself, collecting the arms in the sanctuaries and those that were left in the houses, armed the women of vigorous age, and then posted them where she knew the enemy would attack. When the Lacedaemonians came on, the women were not dismayed at their battle-cry, but stood their ground and fought valiantly. Then the Lacedaemonians, realizing that to destroy the women would be an invidious success while defeat would mean a shameful disaster, gave way before the women.

6b. Telesilla no. 35* (Balmer): “Artemis”:
*transmitted by 2nd/3rd c. CE Athenaeus (Deipnosphistae 11.567); 2nd c. CE Hephaestion (Ench. 11.2); 2nd c. CE Pausanias (2.28.2).

on the round
of the threshing-floor


[sing now of] Artemis, my daughters,
through Alpheus‘ watery fingers


of her mountain temple
on the peaks of Coryphum

6c. Pausanias (2nd c. CE), Description of Greece (2.28.2):

As you go up to Mount Coryphum [at Epidaurus] you see by the road an olive tree called Twisted. It was Heracles who gave it this shape by bending it round with his hand, but I cannot say whether he set it to be a boundary mark against the Asinaeans in Argolis, since in no land, which has been depopulated, is it easy to discover the truth about the boundaries. On the top of the mountain there is a sanctuary of Artemis Coryphaea (of the Peak), of which Telesilla made mention in an ode.

7. Praxilla, Sicyon (Gulf of Corinth). 5th c. BCE. 


7a. Jane Snyder, The Woman and the Lyre (1989: 56):  

“[Praxilla’s] association with such songs [=skolia] has led to one quite unreasonable conclusion, drawn not surprisingly by Wilamowitz (whose distortions of Sappho’s poems were discussed in chapter 1). He concluded, in essence, that only a woman who was not a lady could have written drinking songs and that therefore Praxilla must have been a hetaira, roughly the ancient equivalent of a Geisha girl. There is no evidence of such an assumption.”

7b. Praxilla no 38* Balmer:
*transmitted by commentary tradition to 5th c. BCE Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae (528):

[in love

a scorpion waits
under every stone

7c. Praxilla no 39* Balmer: “Adonis in Hades”:
*transmitted by 2nd c. CE Zenobius (4.2). Zenobius translated by Campbell Loeb (1990); Praxilla by Balmer, p55.

In her hymn this Praxilla represents Adonis as being asked by those in the underworld what was the most beautiful thing he left behind when he came, and giving as his answer:

“The loveliest sight I’ve left behind is the sun’s light
or clear stars on a dark dark sky, a full-faced moon;
and fruits in summer — ripe cucumbers [σίκυος, Sicyon?], apples, pears…”

For anyone who lists cucumbers and the rest alongside sun and moon can only be regarded as feeble-minded.

7d. Praxilla no 41* Balmer: “Snatches of Song”:
*parodied in 5th c. BCE Aristophanes’ The Wasps (1236, with commentary):

If you want to cheat death like Admetus could,
my friend, let’s keep up and keep in with the good.
In the meantime let’s drink, let’s live and let’s learn:
bad company can bring only bad return…



The Singer. Sappho.

— Sappho
— papyrus
— Greek lyric
— textual transmission

1. Attic red-figure vase (kalathos), c. 470 BCE from Sicily, currently in the Munich Staatliche Antikensammlungen. Attributed to Brygos Painter. Two lyric poets of Lesbos: left, Alcaeus (7th c. BCE); right, Sappho (7th c. BCE). Both names inscribed (ΑΛΚΑΙΟΣ; ΣΑΦΟ—sic). Out of Alcaeus’ mouth the letters: Ο Ο Ο Ο Ο, indicating song. Each holds a musical instrument known as the barbiton (similar to a lyre), and each holds a plectrum. The Suda says that Sappho invented the plectrum. Care is given to indicate each figure’s sexual features (Alcaeus’ genitals; Sappho’s breasts). Image: Munich Antikensammlungen. For more, see Nagy 2011.

sappho and alcaeus bayern.jpg

2. Anne Carson, Introduction to If not, winter (2002), p ix:

“Sappho was a musician. Her poetry is lyric, that is, composed to be sung to the lyre. She addresses her lyre in one of her poems (fr. 118) and frequently mentions music, songs, and singing. Ancient vase painters depict her with her instrument. Later writers ascribe to her three musical inventions: that of the plectron, an instrument for picking the lyre (Suda); that of the pektis, a particular kind of lyre (Athenaios Deipnosophistai 14.635b); and the mixolydian mode, an emotional mode also used by tragic poets, who learned it from Sappho (Aristoxenos cited by Plutarch On Music 16.113c). All Sappho’s music is lost.”

3. Sappho fragment 102*, translated by Anne Carson (2002). See Page duBois Sappho is Burning 1995: 11. *transmitted by 2nd c. CE Hephaestion (Ench. 10.5).

sweet mother I cannot work the loom
I am broken with longing for a boy (παῖς) by slender Aphrodite

4a. Sappho fragment 1*, translated by Anne Carson (2002).
*transmitted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st c. BCE) On Literary Composition 23; + a papyrus fragment (P. Oxy. 2288) gives scraps of this poem.

Deathless Aphrodite of the spangled mind,
child (παῖς) of Zeus, who twists lures, I beg you
do not break with hard pains,
O lady, my heart

but come here if ever before
you caught my voice far off
and listening left your father’s
golden house and came,

yoking your car. And fine birds brought you,
quick sparrows over the black earth
whipping their wings down the sky
through midair–

they arrived. But you, O blessed one,
smiled in your deathless face
and asked what (now again) I have suffered and why
(now again) I am calling out

and what I want to happen most of all
in my crazy heart. Whom should I persuade (now again)
to lead you back into her love? Who, O
Sappho, is wronging you?

For if she flees, soon she will pursue.
If she refuses gifts, rather will she give them.
If she does not love, soon she will love
even unwilling.

Come to me now: loose me from hard
care and all my heart longs
to accomplish, accomplish. You
be my ally.

4b. P. Oxy. 2288 = fragmentary papyrus from Oxyrhynchus from 2nd c. CE. Containing parts of lines Sappho fragment 1.


5. Sappho fragment 31,* translated by Anne Carson (2002). 
*transmitted by the 1st c. CE On the Sublime 10.1 + P.S.I. 15 1470.

He seems to me equal to the gods that man
whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking (φωνείσας)

and lovely laughing (γελαίσας) — oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears

and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead — or almost
I seem to me.

But all is to be dared, because even a person of poverty

6. Sappho fragment 5,* translated by Anne Carson (2002).
*transmitted by papyri (P. Oxy. 7 = P. Lond. Lit. 43 + P. Oxy. 2289).

O Kypris and Nereids, undamaged I pray you
grant my brother to arrive here.
And all that in his heart he wants to be,
make it be.

And all the wrong he did before, loose it.
Make him a joy to his friends,
a pain to his enemies and let there exist for us
not one single further sorrow.

May he willingly give his sister
her portion of honor, but sad pain
] grieving for the past
] millet seed
] of the citizens
] once again no
] but you Kypris
] setting aside evil [

7. P. Oxy. 7 = P. Lond. Lit. 43. Fragmentary papyrus from Oxyrhynchus from 3rd c. CE. Containing parts of lines Sappho fragment 5.

8. Sappho fragment 16,* translated by Anne Carson (2002).
*transmitted by papyrus (P. Oxy. 1231 + 2166(a) + P.S.I. 123.1-2)

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot
and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing
on the black earth. But I say it is
what you love.

Easy to make this understood by all.
For she who overcame everyone
in beauty (Helen)
left her fine husband

behind and went sailing to Troy.
Not for her children nor her dear parents
had she a thought, no —
] led her astray

] for
] lightly
] reminded me now of Anaktoria
who is gone.

9. Sappho fragment 44,* translated by Anne Carson (2002).
*transmitted by papyrus (P. Oxy. 1232 + 2076). 

herald came
Idaos     swift messenger
and of the rest of Asia      imperishable fame.
Hektor and his men are bringing a glancing girl
from holy Thebe and from onflowing Plakia
delicate Andromache on ships over the salt
sea. And many gold bracelets and purple
perfumed clothes, painted toys,
and silver cups innumerable and ivory.
So he spoke. And at once the dear father rose up.
And news went through the wide town to friends.
Then sons of Ilos led mules beneath
fine-running carts and up climbed a whole crowd
of women and maidens with tapering ankles,
but separately the daughters of Priam        [
And young men led horses under chariots  [
] in great style
] charioteers
] like to gods
] holy all together
set out                for Ilios
and sweetflowing flute and kithara were mingled
with the clip of castanets and piercingly then the maidens
sang a holy song and straight up the air went
amazing sound                       [
and everywhere in the roads was [
bowls and cups                      [
myrrh and cassia and frankincense were mingled.
And all the elder women shouted aloud
and all the men cried out a lovely song
calling on Paon farshooting god of the lyre,
and they were singing a hymn for Hektor and Andromache
like to gods.

Quotations of or allusions to Homer in this poem underlined: Idaos = herald in Troy (Il. 3.248), “swift messenger” (Od. 15.526), “glancing girl” (Il. 1.98), “from holy Thebe” (Il. 3.66), Plakia (Il. 6.395), “salt sea” (Od. 4.551), “the wide town” (Od. 24.468), “horses under chariots” (Il. 24.279), “straight up the air went” (Il. 13.837).

10. Sappho fragment 48,* translated by Anne Carson (2002).
*transmitted by 4th c. CE Julian ‘the Apostate’ (Letter 77).

you came and I was crazy for you
and you cooled my mind that burned with longing

11.  Sappho fragment 49,* translated by Anne Carson (2002).
* line 1 transmitted by 2nd c. CE Hephaestion (Ench. 7.7); line 2 by 1st/2nd c. CE Plutarch (Amat. 5). A third source (2nd/3rd c. CE Terentianus Maurus) quotes them together, “suggesting that the lines are consecutive, however unlikely that my seem” (Campbell 1990: 95).

I loved you, Atthis, once long ago

a little child (παῖς) you seemed to me and graceless

–> Plutarch (Amat. 5): “Addressing a girl who was still too young for marriage, Sappho says: ‘You seemed to me a small, graceless child.'”

12. Sappho fragment 96*, translated by Anne Carson (2002).
* transmitted by a 6th c. CE parchment (P. Berol. 9722).

] Sardis
often turning her thoughts here

you like a goddess
and in your song most of all she rejoiced.

But now she is conspicuous among Lydian women
as sometimes at sunset
the rosyfingered moon

surpasses all the stars. And her light
stretches over salt sea
equally and flowerdeep fields.

And the beautiful dew is poured out
and roses bloom and frail
chervil and flowering sweetclover.

But she goes back and forth remembering
gentle Atthis and in longing
she bites her tender mind

But to go there
talks [

Not easy for us
to equal goddesses in lovely form



and [                  ] Aphrodite

] nectar poured from
] with hands of Persuasion


] into the Geraistion
] beloveds
] of none

] into desire I shall come

13. Sappho fragments 177 and 179, translated by Anne Carson (2002).