Saturday, 15 November 2008


Monserrate : Music Room

Sappho was an Ancient Greek Poetess. Like Cecilia an historical person, albeit rather legendary. Her attributes shown here: laurel crown, pen with scrolled manuscript, a lyre. Just as Cecilia suffered at the hands of Pagans, Sappho of Lesbos suffered at the hands of Christians. Her manuscripts, including poems hundreds of lines long were destroyed by burning. First by Pope Gregory Nazianzen in AD 380 and then again by Gregory VII in AD1073. Only fragments have survived.

Such was her fame that Plato called her the "tenth muse". Hence her inclusion in the Music Room pantheon. The Victorian Sappho was an idealised figure constructed from fragments of her poetry and legend. She was a favourite representative of Greek Revival art.

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