Sappho, Mother & Daughter

Sappho Fr. 98A

My mother me
It was stylish in her day
To pin back your hair
With a purple headband.
That was the style.
But if a woman’s hair
Was more fair than fire
She fastened it with garlands
Made of blooming flowers.

Sappho Fr. 132

I have a lovely daughter
Who looks like golden flowers.
The beloved girl is Kleis.
I would not her
For all of Lydia . . .

Fr. 98A

. ] . θος· ἀ γάρ με γέννα[τ

σ]φ̣ᾶς ἐπ’ ἀλικίας μέγ[αν
κ]όσμον, αἴ τις ἔχη φόβα⟨ι⟩ς̣[
π̣ορφύρ̣ῳ κατελιξαμέ[να πλόκῳ,

ἔ̣μμεναι μά̣λα τοῦτο δ̣[ή·
ἀ̣λλ’ ἀ ξανθοτέραις ἔχη[
τ̣αὶς κόμαις δάϊδος προ[

σ]τεφάνοισιν ἐπαρτία[ις
ἀ̣νθέων ἐριθαλέων·

Fr. 132

ἔστι μοι κάλα πάις χρυσίοισιν ἀνθέμοισιν
ἐμφέρην ἔχοισα μόρφαν Κλέις ἀγαπάτα,
ἀντὶ τᾶς ἔγωὐδὲ Λυδίαν παῖσαν οὐδ’ ἐράνναν . . .

Stylized oil painting of a mother and daughter, somewhat abstract. One woman looks out at the viewer, the other turns to look at her
Max Beckmann. Mother and Daughter.
1946. Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

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