Sappho’s Poems: Portraits of a Poetess

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The intimate nature of Sappho’s poems has led to different conclusions about her life and her feelings, though few are certain. Plato considered her the 10th muse, marking her importance in Ancient Greek literature. Yet, we only know a few of her fragments. Are these fragments a reflection of the feelings
of the poetess towards some of her disciples? Or are they related to what has sometimes been thought her last passion – an old sailor, whose disappearance may have been the cause of her death? Fernando Campos’ recent novel – A Rocha Branca – is based on her life using several fragments by Sappho. Are these fragments sufficient to document the poetess’ life? Is Campos’ analysis adequate?
Does he use these fragments with the specific purpose of offering an image of Sappho distinct from the usual one, which associates her with lesbian love?
The purpose of this paper is to examine Sappho’s fragments, comparing them with Fernando Campos’ readings, and to test how effective they may be as the basis for an historical novel rather than as a true portrait of Sappho in Antiquity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-213
Number of pages6
JournalRes Antiquitatis. Journal of Ancient History
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe International Conference Sources to Study Antiquity: Between Texts and Material Culture - NOVA FCSH, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 9 May 201610 May 2016


  • Sappho
  • love
  • reception
  • Fernando Campos
  • life


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