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The paper takes a look at Sappho’s life and work in order to account for her suicide, which is almost certainly a legend, at least in the form transmitted by tradition. Sappho gave archetypal or paradigmatic expression to erotic feelings while proving remarkable stylistic and prosodic skill as well as an amazing ability to make use of conventions and cultural codes so as to enhance the impact of a personal, idiosyncratic discourse. Even though the episode of her jumping off the Leukas rock for the love of Phaon might seem far-fetched, it is very much consistent with the poetess’s psychology as emerging from her own body of work. Sappho’s poetry reveals the uncanny affinity between passionate love (Eros) and the death wish figured by Thanatos. pp. 27–36


Keywords: Eros & Thanatos, Leukade, ritual plunge

Carmen Popescu
University of Craiova, Romania
Dragos Marinescu
Craiova University School of Medicine, Romania

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