The Sapphic Stanza
This chapter concentrates on a single, representative metrical system from Roman lyric poetry — the sapphic stanza — and traces its use through Catullus, Horace, and Statius. In Statius we find that the form carries with it the associations of its most prolific user, Horace, but still retains a tangibly ‘Sapphic’ quality, recalling the archaic Greek poet whose name it carried. In Catullus the evocation of Sappho is more obvious, the adoption of her signature metre in 51 accompanying a version of a sapphic poem, but the power of delivering the demolition of that affection, the iambic Poem 11, in sapphics has not been appreciated. Horace's sapphics play an important role in his self-positioning within the broad lyric field, in particular in poems such as Odes 1.12 and 4.2 where comparison and contrast with Pindar are in play. But the ability of the sapphic stanza to imply humility and lower aspirations is discernible in other odes as well, a number of which are analysed here.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.