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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Sappho: Love and Life on Lesbos (BBC)

οὐ γὰρ θέμις ἐν μοισοπόλων οἰκίαι
θρῆνον ἔμμεν'· οὔ κ' ἄμμι τάδε πρέποι

BBC 4, iPlayer - fascinating programme

Sappho: Love and Life on Lesbos

"With a PhD in papyrology, Margaret Mountford goes in search of the truth behind the legend of Sappho, the most controversial writer of the ancient world and the first authentic woman's voice in western history.

The sensational discovery of a lost papyrus containing the words to songs unheard for 1700 years sends Margaret on a journey of exploration.

From the fragmentary documents, ruined temple architecture and surviving oriental jewellery, the programme conjures the real world of the woman, whose erotic writings gave us the words 'sapphic' and 'lesbian', after the island of Lesbos the place of her birth.

Was she indeed the first lesbian, a priestess, prostitute, a stern schoolmistress or an aristocratic lady of leisure as readers over the centuries have variously alleged. Plus how each generation's view of the archetypal liberated woman of letters tells us as much about us and our fears and concerns as it does about her".

Sappho's Reputation in Classical Athens

Sappho's "New Poem " sung

Margaret Mountford Q and A

See also, Delphi "Delphi: The Bellybutton of the Ancient World"

"What really went on at the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi, how did it get its awesome reputation and why is it still influential today? Michael Scott of Cambridge University uncovers the secrets of the most famous oracle in the ancient world. A vital force in ancient history for a thousand years, it is now one of Greece's most beautiful tourist sites, but in its time it has been a gateway into the supernatural, a cockpit of political conflict, and a beacon for internationalism. And at its heart was the famous inscription which still inspires visitors today - 'Know Thyself'."

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