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Living on the island of Lesbos around 600 BCE, Sappho was a priestess lyric poet who wrote and sang eloquently on themes of love, passion and longing. Her work and influence spread across ancient Greece. Plato called her ‘the tenth Muse’ and her likeness appeared on coins. However, only small fragments of her work have survived the passage of time and the actions of those once tasked with preserving it. This animation from TED-Ed details Sappho’s influence, life and work, and the many mysteries that still surround her. In particular, the video explores why the erotic and homoerotic themes in her poetry would eventually lead to its destruction, and how her life inspired the word ‘lesbian’.
Video by TED-Ed
Director: Amir Houshang Moein
Writer: Diane J Rayor
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