Banning Sappho’s poetry

History tells us that Sappho’s works were burned en masse in the fourth century C.E. and later in the eleventh century C.E., eras in which her poems were considered pornographic because they featured sexual relationships between women. Pick one character or author from the list below and write one paragraph telling what that figure would say about burning/banning Sappho’s poetry. Remember, you are not giving your opinion. Rather, your job is to imagine the opinion of the author or fictional character:

  • Homer
  • Odysseus
  • Penelope
  • Confucius
  • Sophocles
  • Creon
  • Haemon
  • Ismene
  • Antigone

Part B: What do you think? (Yes, now it is time to give your views!). In two paragraphs, argue that one, several, or all of Sappho’s poems should or should not be banned. Be sure to explain your position in detail.

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Select poems by Sappho: “An Epithalamium,” “He is more than a Hero,” “To Any Army Wife, in Sardis,” “No Word,” “Before They were Mothers,” “Cleis,” “Maidens Dancing In Moonlight,” “Loneliness,” and “I Have No Complaint”.

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