Sappho 44

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Fragment 44 is a fragment of a poem by the archaic Greek poet Sappho, which describes the wedding of Hector and Andromache. It was preserved on a fragment of papyrus found at Oxyrhynchus[1] The poem's meter is the glyconic with double dactylic expansion (gl2d) – each line is of the form "xx -uu -uu -uu- ux".[2] In the Alexandrian edition of Sappho's poems, it was included in Book II.[3]

The poem tells the story of the marriage of Hector and Andromache, which is mentioned in Book 22 of the Iliad, and may have been written for performance at a wedding.[1] However, as early as 1966, some scholars had begun to question this belief, noting that the story of Hector and Andromache – culminating in the death of Hector and the enslavement of Andromache – is not particularly suitable for a wedding.[4] Holt Parker describes the theory that the poem was intended as a wedding song as a "silly idea".[5] Lawrence Schrenk argues that the poem specifically alludes to two scenes in the Iliad – firstly, Andromache's seeing Hector's body being dragged from the battlefield and the subsequent flashback to her wedding in Book 22, and secondly, the recovery of Hector's corpse in Book 24.[6]

The poem has received relatively little scholarly attention, and many scholars consider it not to be one of Sappho's best works.[7] However, Schrenk argues that the poem is more subtle than has often been appreciated.[8]


  1. ^ a b Rayor, Diane and Lardinois, André. Sappho: A New Translation of the Complete Works. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2014. pg. 112.
  2. ^ Voigt, E. M. Sappho et Alcaeus. Polak & Gennep: Amsterdam, 1971. pg. 18
  3. ^ Campbell, David A. Greek Lyric I: Sappho and Alcaeus. Harvard University Press: Harvard, Massachusetts, 1982. pg. 53.
  4. ^ Dale, Alexander. "Sapphica". Harvard Studies of Classical Philology: vol. 106, 2011. pg.58.
  5. ^ Parker, Holt. "Sappho's Public World". n. 4. In Greene, Ellen (ed.). Woman Poets in Ancient Greece and Rome. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman OK, 2005.
  6. ^ Schrenk, Lawrence P. "Sappho Frag. 44 and the 'Iliad'". Hermes: vol. 122, issue 2, 1994. p.145.
  7. ^ Schrenk, Lawrence P. "Sappho Frag. 44 and the 'Iliad'". Hermes: vol. 122, issue 2, 1994. p.144.
  8. ^ Schrenk, Lawrence P. "Sappho Frag. 44 and the 'Iliad'". Hermes: vol. 122, issue 2, 1994. p.149.