Friday, July 7, 2017


In connection with research I did on roses in writing about the Latin poem De Rosis Nascentibus, I decided to change my translation of Sappho 2.  I now have its second stanza as follows (the underlined clause is the one I changed):

In here comes cool water, babbling through the branches of
pomegranate trees, rose petals scattered all over the sacred ground, shimmering leaves casting a spell

The reason for my change relates to (1) the fact that wild roses bloom only once a year and then only briefly before dropping their petals (which when freshly fallen remain fragrant and can be harvested to make, inter alia, perfume as well as rosary beads) and (2) the fact that the word Sappho uses for 'ground' came to have a special meaning in Plato's Timaeus and there seems no reason to doubt Sappho had such a special sense in mind here given the overall mood of S. 2.

Here is the link to my interpretive essay on De Rosis Nascentibus --which remains a work in progress and probably will be revised based on comments I receive on it.

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