Background and research:

As I am planning to post this poem on my blog relatively soon, I was doing some research on the first line. From what I had written previously, I seem to have found two different versions:

Παῖδες, ἄφωνος ἔοισα τόδ' ἐννέπω, αἴ τις ἔραται


Καίπερ ἄφωνος ἔοισα ποτεννέπω, αἴ τις ἔραται

I opted for the first one for my translations, because καίπερ only stresses the concessive (is that the word?) nature of the participle, and I preferred to have a vocative there like παῖδες, and also because instead of a seemingly useless prefix I preferred an object for the verb ἐννέπω. Tonight I was trying to get more info on the sources. I looked into bibliotheca Augustana, and the ἐπιγράμματα link does not exist. I looked at Edmonds (who proposes another version, παῖς ἔτ', which I prefer to the one I opted for back in the days, and has τόρ' instead of the object, an adjective referred to the speaker meaning "clear, distinct", perhaps I will adopt this reading), and he says Anth. Pal. 6 269. Sadly, I found no scans of that. I looked at Campbell hoping for a more detailed critical note, and the poem isn't there! Wharton agrees with me, The Complete Poems of Sappho follows Cox (or so he says), and ends up agreeing with my choice -- almost, he has τότ' instead of τόδ', perhaps a typo, as "then" doesn't seem to fit in there. I'm starting to wonder where I got the other choices. Well, the καίπερ might have been off the weird safopoemas.doc (pdf version here), for which cfr. my post on the completion of Sappho 94. But the other thing? Even the Greek Wikisource completely agrees with me on this! Googling Σαϋναϊάδα yields this with ποτεννέπω. I don't remember this source, but perhaps that was it.


I am wondering what the experts think about this line, what the likeliest "correct" reading is, what the sources for this poem have to say, and why Campbell doesn't include it.

Is it perhaps of disputed authorship, along with the other two epigrams in elegiac couplets?

Addenda: Reference to Greek Wikisource with texts of epigrams

Two of these (the present one is Απόσπασμα 118, the other one 119) can be found here. The third one, to the fisher Pelagon (τῷ γρίπει Πελάγωνι πάτηρ ἐπέθηκε Μένισκος / Κύρτον καὶ κώπαν, μνᾶμα κακοζοΐας), has strangely been removed even from there. Somebody here probably doesn't have a clear idea what an epigram is :). Anyway here is someone following Edmonds on the poem of the question and including all 3 epigrams.


Bergk p. 636 ha all epigrams, his line 1 reads:

Παῖδες, ἄφωνος ἐοῖσα τότ' ἐννέπω, αἴ τις ἔρηται

and he has this critical note:

Bergk's critical note for the epigram

Acknowledging a mistake

Whoopsies! I missed them in Campbell because they were in smaller font. p. 113. Et voilà: good morning ποτεννέπω, though Campbell agrees on the vocative. Here is a screenshot of all the epigrams in Campbell:

The three epigrams in Campbell's Sappho edition

  • 1
    Hey. I fixed a typo in your post, and also removed the default alt text from your picture; the alt text is there to make it easier for people and machines that can't see images, and the default text is worse than nothing. If you could edit your question to include a useful alt text, that would be great. (I'd offer to help, but this post is all Greek to me :P) See literature.meta.stackexchange.com/q/489/481 and some of the links therein for more information.
    – Shokhet
    Jun 13, 2017 at 23:02
  • 1
    @Shokhet done that.
    – MickG
    Jun 14, 2017 at 7:23
  • Perhaps someone on the Latin Language site can answer this excellent question, as it seems it has languished without an answer for many years here. Latin Stack Exchange does accept questions about ancient Greek
    – verbose
    Feb 14 at 21:04
  • 1
    @verbose I cross-posted this one week after posting here :).
    – MickG
    Feb 15 at 1:33


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