Sappho entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
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Sappho, the female poet who stands at the head of the lyric tradition in Europe, has been a major figure of identification, of desire, of influence, of adulation, and of opprobrium in British women's writing, though little remains of her texts. All of her estimated 12,000 lines of verse has been lost except a handful of complete poems and many fragments, either quotations of her work by other writers, or scraps deciphered from papyri used to wrap mummies in ancient Egypt. This mutilated body of work amounts to somewhere around seven hundred intelligible lines.
About 612 BC Sappho was probably born in the late seventh century BC (Archaic period), possibly at Eresus if not at Mytilene, in either case on the Greek island of Lesbos, close to the coast of Asia. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
Early 6th century BC Around this time Sappho composed nine books of verse amounting to probably around 12,000 lines; the surviving fragments have made her a major figure of identification in British women's writing. Bibliographic Citation link.
Early 6th century BC The date and cause of Sappho's death are unknown. Bibliographic Citation link.
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