Sappho & the Middle East and the Far East

There are a number of fascinating connections Sappho has with cultures east of Lesbos.  The time periods involved cover literally thousands of years and many cultures across thousands of miles, including:

*Hittites (Sappho may have been of Hittite ancestry and her poetry may reflect Hittite influence); A recently published book on Hittite poetry and its relationship to Greek poetry is worth consulting on this issue: M.R. Bachvarova, From Hittite To Homer.

*Hebrew culture (Sappho appears to have been particularly popular among Hellenized Jews)

*Indian culture (Aeolic meters Sappho uses appear to be related to meters of the Rsis (Vedic poets))

*Chinese (there are surprising affinities with some of Sappho's poetry and Chinese poetry)

To a great extent these connections relate to the oral tradition of poetry before as well as after Sappho lived.

One example of how this might relate to literature after Sappho is the possible connection of the worship of Aphrodite with the emergence of Tantric Buddhism.  A discovery of a statuette of Aphrodite near what is now the Bagram Air Base the US has in Afghanistan is possibly significant in this regard (see my discussion of S.105a for that).

That obviously involves more than any one person could hope to study and I am for the most part going to provide links to what I have read with the hope that it stimulates others to pursue what they find relevant to their own interests.

A preliminary discussion can be found here.


No comments:

Post a Comment