Two New Poems By Greek Poet Sappho Discovered on Ancient Papyrus

Posted on February 14, 2014

Researchers have recovered two new poems by Greek poet Sappho on a papyrus fragment from 7th Century B.C. BBC News reports that an expert at Oxford University confirmed the previously unknown poetry came from Sappho's first book. She wrote a total of nine volumes of poetry.

NPR reports that an anonymous collector show the ancient papyrus to Dr. Dirk Obbink, an expert on papyrology and Greek literature at Oxford University. Dr. Obbink says the first poem references two of Sappho's brothers and the second is a poem addressed to Aphrodite.

Albert Henrichs, a Harvard classics professor who examined the papyrus with Dr. Obbink, told The Daily Beast, "The new Sappho is absolutely breath-taking. It is the best preserved Sappho papyrus in existence, with just a few letters that had to be restored in the first poem, and not a single word that is in doubt. Its content is equally exciting."

Obbink will publish a preliminary paper on the papyrus in the journal, Zeitschrift f�r Papyrologie und Epigraphik.

A new Sappho poem was also discovered in 2005. That poem - the fourth known work by Sappho - was found in the wrappings of an Egyptian mummy.
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