Saturday, November 21, 2015


Eros, now again, the loosener of limbs, buzzes me: a bittersweet ungraspable bug

That is my translation of Sappho 130, by far one of her most famous fragments.  Because it is so famous I am very surprised that no translations of it have been based on interpreting the relevant Greek as referring to an insect (for a full explanation of such an interpretation click on the hyperlink above).  Not only does this substantially change the meaning but it is relevant to another fragment (44(A)(a)) where Sappho refers to Eros as not coming near Artemis.  That can be taken to imply she knew of Artemis as Artemisia, the insect repellent herb.

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