Gregory Nagy “A rethinking of Sappho in the light of the newest fragments”
This lecture presents a reassessment of Sappho on the basis of
(1) the newest fragments that have just recently been published, including the so-called “Brothers Song”
(2) what we know about the history of the reception of Sappho in Lesbos, her native island, and, later, in Athens.
An essential aspect of this reception is the tradition of performing the songs of Sappho in the context of
(A) choral and sympotic performance in Lesbos
(B) sympotic and citharodic performance in Athens.
In the sympotic and the citharodic contexts, it is argued, the songs of Sappho have undergone variations that transcend
what had once been a primarily choral context. But one feature remains invariable: the role of Sappho as a virtuoso singer.