#Chapter IV: Epiphany

Chapter IV: Epiphany

The difference enacted

So in a voice, so in a shapelesse flame
Angells affect us oft, and worshipped bee

John Donne, Aire and Angells
The epiphany of Aphrodite, like the rest of the poem, has received a variety of critical response. Page’s view is that it contains “much detail irrelevant to [Sappho’s] present theme,” [1] Burnett’s, which she declares to be different, that Sappho “doesn’t seem to care” that her detail might give Aphrodite a “loophole.” [2] According to both, Sappho directs the epiphany towards her listeners rather than towards the goddess. In contrast, Gentili chooses to see in the epiphany the roots of a concrete occasion for a formal prayer, the use of exact detail for the purpose of recreating the epiphanies of the past in order to provoke those of the future. [3]
This difference of opinion is especially interesting from the perspective of my study. The two sides of scholarly opinion seem to represent the two sides of the difference I am in the process of exploring. The opinion which I think has its most eloquent statement in Burnett (though she does not differ as much here from Page as she thinks) that the epiphany contains detail directed towards the earthly audience has much in common with a view of the prayer as a simple poem, designed to persuade, designed to sway the listener and capture the fancy. Such a poem takes shape under the speech acts “I describe” and “I persuade.” As I noted in Chapter II, the poetic effect of such a {37|38} descriptive, persuasive poem relies on the many differences within the individual descriptive and persuasive speech acts. I followed that side of Sappho’s poem in the last chapter as the re-definition of the traditional ritual. In Sappho’s poem, I proposed, the two exist only in the mutual dependence I noted. Occasional critics like Gentili strive to isolate the ritual element in the prayer as the main force of the poem, for as far as they are concerned, the epiphany

Must also mirror a precise ceremonial for which a place was set aside in the area where the private religious rites of the community were performed. Otherwise there would be no way of explaining why Sappho felt it necessary to structure the account of the course of her own love according to the formal scheme of a prayer of invocation (emphasis mine). [4]

Gentili clearly considers that “precise ceremonial” the entire motivation of the poem. His use of the word “precise” finally tells everything about his reading. A precise ceremonial admits of no difference, just as traditional ritual thinks of itself as without difference. My treatment of the first strophe has already illustrated the presence of both sides and the necessity of difference between them. In light of Chapter II, both sides of the dispute seem inadequate, even taken together. [5]

A meaningful reading of the epiphany, and so the poem as a whole, must realize that both elements are fundamental not only to the language of prayer but also to prayer’s constituent parts. The epiphany is the heart of the poem. It occupies the central position and introduces the alternative to μὴ δάμνα—it is the aid Sappho wants, the positive expression of her desire. An analysis ignores at its own peril the crucial role the incident plays in the prayer. My study, in its information with the tension of the ritual and the persuasive, will expose a dimension of the epiphany which has gone unnoticed: the {38|39} descent of Aphrodite to Sappho’s aid enacts the difference between the ritual and the different and thus works through it the actual success of the prayer.
The section begins with another imperative at the start of the new metrical unit, after a strongly adversative ἀλλά. The division of the section by meter and by ἀλλά clearly indicates that Sappho has finished with what she wants Aphrodite not to do and will now detail the aid she wants the goddess to render. The imperative ἔλθε continues the force of the initial λίσσομαι and the following αἴ πότα κἀτέρωτα represents the traditional formula for recalling past relations with a deity. [6] The ritual force of these words continues the structure of ritual performance which I detailed in the first strophe.
The repetition inherent in πότα κἀτέρωτα ἔλθες looks to the same unchanging conception of prayer as a pure performative utterance. The conflation of the indefinite πότα (“once”) and the definite yet undefined ἐτέρωτα (“at another time”) indicate an incessant habituality about the epiphanies Sappho describes. Πότα refers to an indefinable “once upon a time” event, which happens only once, κἀτέρωτα to a definite time when a previous epiphany happened. The interaction of the two temporal words forces the πότα to define itself, but since it must remain essentially indefinite the combination implies a timeless series. The combination of those two terms ensures that the present description refers not to one or two, but to an infinity of occasions when Aphrodite came down from heaven to aid Sappho. As I noted in Chapter II, just such an unending series provides the authority behind ritual.
At the same time the words carry the force of the beginning of a story. Compare again our familiar “once upon a time.” The statement carries two main forces. The first is to invoke the tradition of a fairy tale and to bring the authority inherent in that tradition to bear on the listener. The second force actually begins the story. In the same way αἴ πότα κἀτέρωτα begins the narrative of the “fairy tale” of Aphrodite’s appearance. This narrative, descriptive force we can clearly identify with the different element of prayer, in {39|40} this case the speech act of persuasion: it represents the traditional attempt to win divine favor by use of past aid.
The different narrative force of this beginning represents a different act from the ritual prayer just as the same element did in the opening invocation (epithets like ποικιλόθρονε and the description of pain by both ἄσα and ὄνια). The initial effect of the difference between the two is the same sort of appropriation and re-making undertaken by the different at the outset. Sappho’s persuasive, different language appropriates the ritual authority of an infinite past series, just as a fairy tale appropriates its tradition for its authority and Lord’s bards appropriate The Song for the authority behind their epics. In doing so, the prayer generates an effect which Burnett calls its “trickery.” [7] The description of the epiphanies as past establishes the occasion of the prayer in the present, and yet the infinite series “is subsumed into the very latest coming,” [8] as Burnett points out. I would add to Burnett’s documentation of this effect my emphasis on its source—in the difference between ritual and the different persuasion. By subsuming the infinite series of the ritual tradition into the immediate narrative of the different persuasive which relies on a present occasion Sappho causes Aphrodite literally to appear in the present. The goddess’ appearance is effected by the different narrative persuasion which occurs following the trickery of αἴ πότα κἀτέρωτα. How the narrative works to produce the epiphany and the effect of the resulting struggle of ritual and difference is the concern of the remainder of this chapter.
The deceptive effect of the temporal words which locate the epiphany in time leads me to explore also the incident’s location in the language of the poem. It is obvious from the shift in verb mood from imperative to indicative (ἔλθε to ἦλθε) that the epiphany is a narrative, albeit one dependent on the imperative ἔλθε. As a narrative of what Sappho has seen in the past and hopes to see again, the story takes place in the descriptive, {40|41} different mode of discourse, removed from the structure of the speech act λίσσομαι. In considering what takes place in the narrative, then, we must suspend the ritual structure of the poem and see what the story tells us about it. To continue noting the difference of each part of the narrative from λίσσομαι would serve no purpose, for the distance is constant and pre-determined by the epiphany’s all taking place at the level of the different narrative. Consider again my formulation of the different as the element which creates difference between Sappho’s prayer and the prayers which have gone before (Chapter III). The narrative of the epiphany, because it belongs to Sappho alone (except for its function as a hypomnesia) takes shape in the mode of that different element.
The descriptive, different force continues in the picture we receive of the goddess listening to Sappho and leaving Zeus’ house. For the sake of clarity I refer to this stanza as the Olympus Section. The emphasis in the scene is on Aphrodite’s distance and separation from Sappho. The distance is primarily expressed in the physical terms we see in πηλοί, a word which implies a great remove. More importantly the focus on Aphrodite’s response to Sappho of the verbs αἴοισα, ἔκλυες, λίποισα, and ἦλθες strongly reinforces the separation of the goddess from the praying Sappho. These verbs all rely on the supposition of vast separation between the two, and this effect is carried out by πήλοι on the level of spatial distance rather than the other way around. The twice repeated concepts of hearing and departure demand that the we visualize the two characters as distinct and far apart.
With that separation in mind, we can establish a view of the Aphrodite away from Sappho with the little detail we have. In the Olympus Section, we see Aphrodite πάτρος δὲ δόμον λίποισα / χρύσιον. [9] The notion of her leaving there of course places her there to begin with, in telescoped fashion. Aphrodite is thus in residence with Zeus, whom we know to {41|42} be her father from the definition of the first strophe. The goddess therefore takes on in her description and its different force the aspects of majesty and absolutism which inform such versions of the gods in the Homeric hymns. [10] The brief view Sappho gives us of the (golden) house and in the next section the (golden) chariot, which (to anticipate) is not so much a parody as a different persuasion, makes the goddess appear as a mythic figure. Sappho’s language evokes the traditional mythic conception of the goddess found in the hymns and epics. To establish a link between this force and the rest of my study, that traditional conception of the goddess is the same one to which the ritual refers. The Aphrodite who bends her ear (a free translation of ἀίοισα ἔκλυες), simply because she must bend her ear to hear to Sappho’s cries and then leave her station in her father’s house (δόμον λίποισα ἦλθες), represents the distant and unchanging object and referent of the prayer which λίσσομαι begins. The goddess first appears in the epiphany as her ritual self, though the manifestation takes effect completely in the different realm of description. The start of the epiphany captures the unattainable ritual conception of Aphrodite to the extent that a necessarily different description can. Our first glimpse of the goddess is of the ritual other with which the tradition of prayer identifies. [11]
As I noted above, the epiphany takes place in the mode of different descriptive narrative, and from within that framework refers to the ritual in description like that of Aphrodite in the house of Zeus, whereas the invocation took shape in the mode of the ritual and refers to the different. There is no specific ritual marking like λίσσομαι in the epiphany, but the view of Aphrodite in the Olympus Section (πάτρος δὲ δόμον λίποισα / χρύσιον) assumes that function, the identification with ritual tradition, though at the remove of the different. Aphrodite is distant, on Olympus; she is the object of ritual prayer, unchanging as ritual, in its own view, should be. The epiphany thus captures in {42|43} its different moment the ritual conception of the goddess; by also referring to its own different persuasion later on in the words of Aphrodite (τίνα πείθω, which I discuss more fully below) the narrative of the goddess’ descent to earth and aid to Sappho encompasses both the ritual and the different speech acts. Placed side by side in the narrative of the epiphany the two speech acts enact the tension and difference between the two sides of the poem: they enact what happens to the ritual element in contact with the different, in the different mode. As I detailed in Chapter II, the difference between the two sides produces the true constative element of language, which conveys poetic meaning. The different persuasion of the narrative of the epiphany serves to bring about the success of the prayer because it moves the ritual from its unchanging conception to a re-made, “persuaded” conception, which Sappho herself defines in bringing it there. In the process, the constative difference arises. To anticipate, Sappho takes Aphrodite from Olympus, where she can only listen, to earth, where she can speak, and ask τίνα πείθω. Aphrodite goes from the absolute, persuaded other to the different, persuasive other in the movement of the narrative. The exploration below should clarify this effect much further.
The section which follows, which I dub the Sparrow Section, depicts the departure of Aphrodite from her ritual station to go to Sappho on earth. The Sparrow Section represents the mediation of the ritual and the different. Here, Aphrodite passes from Olympus, where she must only listen (ἄιοισα, ἔκλυες) and be invoked (ποιλόθρον᾽ ἀθανάτα κτλ in the invocation), to earth, where she may differ and so persuade (a different speech act). The vehicle for this passage is, as we might expect, the re-making of a ritual attribute of a goddess into a different, descriptive gesture, the chariot drawn by sparrows. Burnett’s anaylsis of the chariot as a “curricle beside the chariot that Hera would have driven” [12] and Rissman’s as a remodeled Homeric allusion [13] do not go far enough into the {43|44} language of the prayer. The word Sappho uses, ἄρμα, is not a diminutive of a chariot but a fixed attribute any god would have—it invokes, to repeat, the ritual tradition of chariots. The word ὑπασδεύξαισα also represents the formal concept of someone yoking up their conveyance. In fact, through the word ὤκεες the poem depicts a perfectly ritual—in the sense that it invokes tradition—yoking of a divine chariot. Κάλοι σ᾽ ἆγον ὤκεες could easily apply to horses or oxen, and in the context of tradition probably should. [14] The στροῦθοι literally turn the image to their own use. Instead of the horses or oxen which rightfully belong under a goddess’ yoke, we see a flock of birds, as Page puts it “notorious for wantonness and fecundity.” [15] The effect is very much the same as that of the invocation, the different description appropriating the ritual, but as I noted above the appropriation happens in the mode of the different epiphany, so the stakes are different; in contrast to a difference within the goddess herself in the very performance of the prayer, the chariot represents the mediation of the difference, since it stands in a mode of description where the necessity of ritual performance has been suspended. The chariot thus combines in itself the two sides of the language of the poem; it is both the ritual ἄρμα and the persuasive, re-made, sparrow-drawn ἄρμα.
The rest of the Sparrow Section, where the chariot descends to earth, furthers this relationship in a spatial movement. Aphrodite travels ἀπ᾽ ὠράνω ἴθερος διὰ μέσσω, a graphic representation of the mediation of the ritual and the different. The middle has no designation as anything but an abstract—there is no noun attached—so we may read in it a huge variety of constative differences, one of which, I submit, should be the space between the ritual and the different, since this is the principal opposition of the poem. Aphrodite thus travels through that space on her way to Sappho, enacting the difference of the poem in response to Sappho’s prayer (ἔλθε). {44|45}
The question of response is fundamental to the epiphany, for the very travel of Aphrodite indicates within the frame of the narrative that the goddess has answered Sappho’s prayer and has decided to come. The enactment, therefore, is the result of the success of the prayer. If such be the result, we must also see in the epiphany the condition for success, for clearly the conditions which prevail in the response of Aphrodite are also the conditions which brought her in the first place: Aphrodite must cross the boundary from ritual into different, joining the two sides in her action. Such reasoning seems on the surface circular, but considering the dialogic relation of the two sides of the poem and the repetition inherent both in the tradition of ritual and in the epiphany as Sappho describes it, it is not difficult to see that such a doubling back represents a perfectly natural reflex of Sappho’s prayer.
Doubling back, in fact, is exactly the function of the epiphany. As the next section, which I call the Question Section, shows, the appearance of Aphrodite serves as the confirmation of the favor of the goddess in that it uses the recounting of her words to enact in the goddess her own persuasion. The first and only glimpse Sappho gives us of the goddess herself is the enigmatic smile which precedes her words. Aphrodite is μειδιαίσαισ᾽ ἀθανάτῳ προσώπῳ, a gesture which represents a definite separation from the faceless, unchanging Other of the ritual tradition. A smile necessarily means a change from a neutral expression, a difference from a frown or a grimace. Aphrodite could not always smile in her eternal tradition, or the smile would cease to have any meaning. Once again, the different, re-making element makes the goddess differ from herself. As she begins to speak, though, we see in her questions to Sappho the goddess’ own invocation of the tradition of prayer, especially Sappho’s prayer. The most noticeable element of Aphrodite’s speech is the triple use of δηὖτε with ὄττι, “What now?” In this phrase we see in a microcosm the enactment which pervades the epiphany: as Aphrodite emphasizes the repetitive nature of Sappho’s prayer, she repeats herself. Together the two repetitions create the feeling of the repetitive ritual tradition which Sappho invokes, both {45|46} through Sappho’s repetition of Aphrodite’s words in the poem and through the repetition of the words themselves which within the prayer enacts its own ritual. Aphrodite’s words also carry the weight of the goddess’ traditional, ritual persona in their repetitive ritual nature. More importantly, the questions embody the different element of the poem in that they themselves are different persuasion, a speech act in tension with λίσσομαι. They represent both Aphrodite’s persuasion of Sappho and, since Sappho herself speaks the whole prayer, Sappho’s persuasion of Aphrodite. Since Aphrodite is the explicit audience of the prayer, she in hearing the prayer will hear herself speaking the words which indicate that the prayer is successful, since she has come down to Sappho. This is the sort of reflexive action of the epiphany which I began to detail above. Once Aphrodite has descended to earth, she is, as Burnett might say, caught in a snare. Her actions are endlessly reflective upon themselves in a complex of the ritual and the persuasive, which time after time lead back to each other: the ritual repetition of δηὖτε leads to the persuasion which Aphrodite manifests in her questions (τίνα πείθω) and thence to the ritual of the prayer itself, which uses Aphrodite’s persuasive words to invoke its own success, through which Aphrodite will come down and persuade the lover to return to Sappho.
The play of different persuasion and ritual in the words Sappho puts into Aphrodite’s mouth presents us with a fascinating view of what happens when the two forces come into contact. Each time we proceed another step to the endless chain of ritual and persuasive (from ὄττι δηὖτε to τίνα πείθω to λίσσομαι to a repeat of the entire epiphany in the different mode and on into eternity) we notice that the other element has receded before us, so that we must pursue it again in our attempt to fix its place and end the chain in certainty. We are a long way from the easily grasped ritual element of λίσσομαι with which the poem began and from which Aphrodite descended to come to Sappho. The distance emerges markedly in Aphrodite’s words, where the goddess progresses from the second person to the first, her words first related by Sappho then spoken directly by the goddess. It is as if the further she gets from the ritual, the freer she {46|47} is to admit difference within herself in the necessarily differential nature of speech. The goddess’ first utterances are direct questions, too, oriented most towards their effect, more explicitly performative than descriptive, “poetic,” persuasive speech. The goddess becomes a speaker in her performative’s difference from that of Sappho, which represents the motion of the different: Sappho’s voice branches into Aphrodite’s and persuades through a different voice, putting the questions at that distance from herself. As Sappho’s own voice rises in the difference of the ritual from the different persuasion in the way I detailed in Chapter III (the re-making of the tradition through difference, especially clear in my comparison to epic), the presence of another voice representing the speech act of another character opens a difference within Sappho’s voice, allowing that voice to take a position of its own. To take such a position Aphrodite must descend to earth and assume a stance directly opposite to Sappho, thus already assuring her servant of her aid. Simply by asking the questions the goddess enacts not only her appearance but her earthly position through her presence in Sappho’s poem, and thus necessarily her aid. The last of these questions is, of course, τίνα πείθω; “Whom shall I persuade?” the question which at a basic level informs the entire poem. Aphrodite has reached a point where different persuasion has become possible, not just for her but for Sappho; she has been caught.
To finish the enactment of the difference in the poem, Aphrodite’s statement of the entire predicament follows the questions, a descriptive, different passage, completing the epiphany in a culmination and illustration which beautifully demonstrates the motion of the entire poem. The sixth strophe of the poem represents the reciprocal motion of love, the eternal reversal and changing tide of the two lovers. The beloved Sappho wants Aphrodite’s help in persuading will turn about and pursue, give, and love, (διώξει, δώσει, φιλήσει) even if she is not willing now. The future holds not only the fulfillment of Sappho’s wishes but the complete reversal of the situtation. As Page shows, the lover will pursue Sappho as the latter flees. [16] Instead of simply receiving gifts, the lover will in fact {47|48} give them, perhaps even though Sappho then refuses. The relationship of Sappho and the lover in the situation to which the poem refers thus mirrors the relation of Sappho and Aphrodite in the poem in its never-ceasing motion between the two voices. Aphrodite begins as the ritual, absolute Other besought by Sappho’s prayer, but as she speaks the goddess becomes the persuaded, differentiated other and thus also the persuader on behalf of Sappho. The same motion appears in the goddess’ words, the movement of the beloved from pursued Other, who adamantly will not be persuaded, to the persuaded and thus the persuader of Sappho, who may then become the Other and let the cycle continue endlessly. Finally, in that motion we can also find the enactment of the eternal retreat of the different from the ritual. Sappho’s prayer and every other prayer necessarily differ from the ideal performative prayer; Aphrodite in the prayer admits difference within herself because no prayer and no prayed-to Other can be the ritual ideal. The different force of the words of the prayer must differ forever. Just so the beloved recedes from the lover in Aphrodite’s words, each changing places and so differing from herself. Each time Sappho or the lover change their station in the motion of love which the goddess describes, from φεύγει to διώξει, from μὴ δέκεται to δώσει, from μὴ φίλει to φιλήσει, she has been persuaded and leaves her status as the Other, re-made as Sappho remakes Aphrodite.
Here again we may find studies like Page’s and Burnett’s useful. Page’s explication of the smile of Aphrodite through the tenor of her words to Sappho strike me as revealing, especially in the context of the play of the persuasive which I am here exploring. According to Page,

Aphrodite smiles for a most obvious reason: because she is amused. A little impatient, but tolerant, as a mother with a troublesome child. And we must not forget that the smile and speech of Aphrodite are given to her by Sappho herself who is speaking, and the smile must be Sappho’s too, laughing at herself even in the hour of her suffering.—This everlasting sequence of pursuit, triumph, and ennui is not to be taken so very seriously. [17] {48|49}

I acknowledge here the debate over the smile in relation to the “everlasting sequence”; [18] I offer a solution in Chapter V when I discuss the tenor of the poem’s final words. I submit, though, that the amusement Page attributes to Aphrodite takes on a new reason and force in the context of the descriptive, different nature of the smile’s setting. In examining the “everlasting sequence” she is about to elaborate upon, the goddess sees the same play of the persuasive to which she becomes party the instant she opens her mouth. Her only response to such a web must be in the persuasive, non-ritual realm—she must come down from heaven and enter the complex. Her gesture leads away from the ritual into the different and takes her from an undifferentiated, unchanging position of ritual into the ever-receding dance of lovers and poetry.

Others cite the magical nature of the same dance (φεύγει … διώξει, κτλ), finding that such reciprocal action indicates enchantment. [19] Such an incantation necessarily returns once again to the same complex of ritual and difference which is at work in the prayer itself, and so it is hardly surprising that Aphrodite’s words are reminiscent of ritual magic. That Aphrodite has become the enchantress, the invoker of ritual instead of the invoked, as she was when she began, illustrates once more the motion of the epiphany from persuaded to persuader, ritual to different, absolute to differentiated. That Sappho lies behind it all illustrates her voice arising in the difference between the ritual and the different, her enchantment of the goddess she entreats.
The epiphany, then, forms the heart of the poem in that it shows forth the motion of the whole gesture and performance of prayer, bringing the goddess from her station in the heavens, presenting her on earth as a voice within Sappho’s voice, and so persuading her as she persuades the beloved, for Aphrodite has encompassed the difference Sappho’s words opened in her simply by speaking coherently to her devotee. Aphrodite arises out of the difference between her ritual tradition and Sappho’s persuasion, and as Sappho {49|50} gives her voice she becomes both once again ritual in the way Sappho herself is ritual in praying to her and persuasive as Sappho herself is persuasive. Perhaps the best corollary for this view of the devotee and the goddess entwined in the web of the ritual and different elements of prayer is the relationship of god and poet-hero which Nagy outlines. [20] The poet, like a hero, is a therápôn of her patron divinity in myth, a notion which incorporates the ritual death of the poet-hero by antagonism with the divinity and subsequent worship in hero-cult. At the same time, the poet-hero acts as a ritual substitute for the divinity. The same sort of relationship shows up in the epiphany of Sappho’s prayer, where the ritual action of prayer represents the level of cult while the different implementation of the prayer corresponds to myth, the descriptive adjunct to ritual. [21] When we look at the poem, especially the epiphany, in this light, both Nagy’s mythic death-antagonism/cult worship and the literary prayer are illuminated. While, in the first part of the poem, Aphrodite sits in power on Olympus (πάτρος δόμον λίποισα), Sappho may entreat her in normal cult fashion. When, however, Sappho causes the goddess to descend through the middle (διὰ μέσσω), the two in fact interact, both because Aphrodite speaks eventually directly (τίνα πείθω κτλ) to Sappho and because Sappho forces the interaction by herself giving the goddess a voice and thus demanding her aid—in that the goddess must do and say exactly what Sappho persuades her to do and say through the persuasion in her language. Sappho becomes the therápônof the goddess in receiving her aid in the epiphany.
The two aspects of the prayer clearly represent the same two elements Nagy outlines, cult and myth, but viewed in the context of Sappho’s poem, the two opposing sides become the same sort of double motion as the movement of ritual and difference in the very essence of the prayer. As Nagy outlines in his treatment of Sappho and {50|51} Aphrodite with respect to the Phaethon and Phaon myths, [22] Sappho and Aphrodite act as interchangeable lovers of the men, therapóntes . Likewise, in Sappho 1, Sappho asks Aphrodite to stand in for her. But when Aphrodite arrives and the two are free to converse, as Page points out, Aphrodite smiles at her devotee-heroine-poet in a manner we might call slightly derisive, and informs her of the circular nature of love, where the lover and beloved continually antagonize one another. In fact, we can view Sappho and Aphrodite themselves as part of that dance, the one praying, the other deriding that prayer. This is Nagy’s formulation of ritual-death [23] at its most basic level. The two sides, therápôn and cult-hero, thus come together (and so move apart) in Sappho’s prayer, as they do also in Homer [24] and Hesiod, [25] where Diomedes speaks prayers to Athena, [26] Hector kills Patroclus with Apollo’s help, [27] and Hesiod meets the muses and is insulted by them. [28]
So we see in the epiphany, finally, a real enactment of myth—first hand, for Sappho speaks the prayer herself. The prayer embodies both cult and myth in its movement between performance of ritual and different persuasion of the goddess. Aphrodite’s descent from the ritual to the different enacts to difference between the two aspects of the language of the prayer. Sappho tells a story in the epiphany, using her memory of Aphrodite’s aid as the heroes in Martin’s view of the Iliad use their memory of the stories they use to persuade each other. [29] Sappho calls up the vision of Aphrodite in the present, enacting the success of the prayer, by using her memory of the past as a persuasion. My final chapter explores the results of this different persuasion for both Sappho and Aphrodite. {51|52}


[ back ] 1. Page 18.
[ back ] 2. Burnett 253.
[ back ] 3. Gentili 80.
[ back ] 4. Gentili 80.
[ back ] 5. The other critical disagreement over the epiphany has been whether Sappho records a “genuine mystical experience” (Burnett 258; Gentili 78–79 and E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational [Berkeley: U of California P, 1951] 116–117; Bowra 193; Page 18). The controversy over the external appearance of Aphrodite has little relevance to my study. I hope to show, however, that in many ways the goddess manifests herself internally, within the poem.
[ back ] 6. Burnett 247. Cameron 2–3.
[ back ] 7. Burnett 253.
[ back ] 8. Burnett 254.
[ back ] 9. I choose not to enter the arena on either side of the debate of to which δόμον and ἄρμα the adjective χρύσιον should apply. I see no reason, even if we decide to follow only the intentions of Sappho, why we must choose. Perhaps a case could be made for an adverbial sense of χρύσιον. See Rissman 3 for a useful discussion.
[ back ] 10. See especially the Hymn to Apollo, 1–18, where the sizable beginning section is devoted to Apollo on Olympus, and the Hymn to Aphrodite, 1–33, where the priamel of the deities she cannot subdue represents the same trope.
[ back ] 11. See my Chapter II and its references to Burkert, Greek Religion.
[ back ] 12. Burnett 254.
[ back ] 13. Rissman 9.
[ back ] 14. Rissman 9. Wilamowitz 45.
[ back ] 15. Page 7.
[ back ] 16. Page 15. See my treatment of this debate in Chapter V.
[ back ] 17. Page 15–16.
[ back ] 18. See Cameron, “Sappho and Aphrodite Again,” HTR 57 (1964):237–239 for the best argument against Page.
[ back ] 19. Burnett 255. Segal 149.
[ back ] 20. Gregory Nagy, The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Ancient Greek Poetry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1979) 289–297; Nagy, Greek Mythology and Poetics (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990) 48, and, in connection to Sappho, 259–262.
[ back ] 21. Burkert, Structure and History 56–58.
[ back ] 22. Nagy, Mythology 223–262.
[ back ] 23. Nagy, Mythology 48; Nagy, Achaeans 295.
[ back ] 24. Nagy, Achaeans 295.
[ back ] 25. Nagy, Mythology 48.
[ back ] 26. Iliad V 115–120.
[ back ] 27. Iliad XVI.
[ back ] 28. Theogony 26–28.
[ back ] 29. Martin passim.