The New Songs Of Sappho

There can never be too many new poems. New poems of Sappho are like new poems of Emily Dickinson — unexpected treasure.

The Dish

Exciting news for all you classicists out there:

P.Köln_XI_429Fragments of two previously unknown poems by seventh-century Greek lyric poetess Sappho have been discovered on an ancient papyrus. An anonymous private collector owned the papyrus, which dates back to the 3rd century A.D. He showed the tattered fragments to Dr. Dirk Obbink, a classicist at Oxford University, who recognized its significance and asked for permission to publish it. Dr. Obbink’s article will appear in a scholarly journal this spring, but an online version of one of the poems is already available via the Guardian. The first of the two poems mentions “Charazos” and “Larichos,” the names given to Sappho’s brothers in the ancient tradition. The second poem is a fragment of a piece about unrequited love.

Tom Payne, who provides a translation of the first poem, marvels at its integrity:

What we have of Sappho has often survived because ancient critics and philologists quoted…

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