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In this paper, I argue that in her poetry Sappho engages in the public discourse of her community in significant ways. She composed hymns for and participated in religious festivals on Lesbos, thus sharing in its “holy and sacred obligations”. She actively engaged in politics by vilifying women of other aristocratic families and by promoting certain aristocratic ideals or, more subtly, by explaining what the current political situation did to her and her family. Finally, in her poetry she presents a female perspective that highlights the importance of women and the domains associated with them in society. We don’t know if Sappho was ever addressed with the word πολῖτις (“female citizen”), but her poetry strongly suggests that she would have been regarded as a prominent member of her community.

In: Politeia and Koinōnia
In: Sophocles and the Greek Language
In: Myths, Martyrs, and Modernity
In: Speaking Volumes