Starting with Anacreon while preparing a compendium of essays on Sappho and her ancient reception
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CitationNagy, Gregory. 2021.02.06. "Starting with Anacreon while preparing a compendium of essays on Sappho and her ancient reception." Classical Inquiries. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:Classical_Inquiries.
AbstractIn consultation with the editorial team of Classical Inquiries, I am preparing to submit to them, for a hoped-for free-standing online publication, a compendium of my published essays on the topic of Sappho’s ancient reception. In essays I have published more recently on this vast topic, especially in Classical Inquiries, I have tried to track, more thoroughly than in my less recent essays, other topics that are at least in part relevant to my overall project, which aims to reconstruct not some hypothetical prototype of Sappho’s supposedly original text but, instead, what I am calling the “ancient reception” of Sappho’s songs as they were being performed in earlier phases and as they were being performed or read in later phases and as they were being merely read as texts in still later phases. When I say “ancient” here, I am referring, in the most general terms possible, to a premodern era extending from the late seventh century BCE all the way to the early Byzantine era, where intellectuals like Paul the Silentiary (“Paulus Silentiarius”), who lived in the late sixth century CE, were still imitating what they were reading in their transmitted texts of Sappho. To be contrasted is today’s impoverished state of affairs, where all we have left of the ancient textual tradition is a frustratingly small number of quotations found either in other ancient texts or in fragments of papyri dating from Hellenized phases of Egypt. My project aims at reconstructing considerably more than the textual remnants, concentrating on what I have just defined as her “ancient reception.” For this kind of reconstruction, as I said at the beginning, I need to delve into other topics—which may not always be relevant to what little has actually survived directly from the songs of Sappho but which can still lead to a fuller understanding of the overall reception of her songmaking. In this essay, I track one such topic, which centers on questions about sexual preferences or attractions as expressed or at least implied by female beauties in the poetics of Sappho. And I start by focusing on a song attributed to Anacreon, an old male poet who was supposedly in love with Sappho—according to at least some ancient traditions about the lives of Sappho and Anacreon.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367198
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