In 1972, Greek composer Μάνος Χατζιδάκις released an album called Ο Μεγάλος Ερωτικός. This album featured a version of the Gongyla poem (LP-Campbell 22 part 2, Edmonds 45, P.Oxy. 1231 fr. 15 - and 12 for LP-Campbell part 1) which, instead of filling the lacuna at the start of line 2 with [Ἄβ]ανθι (LP, Campbell, I guess Voigt too) or β[ρόδ]ανθι (Edmonds), proposed the perfect imperative π[έφ]ανθι. Interpretation problems aside (for which cfr., at a opportune time, my blog post on this poem), I was wondering: where did this idea come from? Who proposed this restoration? Was it Manos himself who had an illumination from above and came up with this, or were there one or more critics who proposed it?


Googling the perfect imperative, I found out Οδυσσέας Ελύτης translated all of Sappho to modern Greek in 1984 according to this, and his text of the Gongyla poem had the perfect imperative (and the translation in the link of the 1972 musical version is in fact his). Now the dates suggest he wasn't responsible for the invention, but maybe he was in touch with Manos and they both had the text, perhaps they came up with it together or one of them came up with it and told the other one about it before Manos's disc was released?


Further in the Google search, here is that text again, with the following annotation:

L’interpretazione del testo segue l’accreditata traduzione di Gianfranco Nuzzo e l’apparato critico contenuto ne “L’amore in Grecia” di Claude Calame (Laterza, edizione 2015).

That is:

The interpretation of the text follows the credited translation by Gianfranco Nuzzo and the apparatus criticus contained in "Love in Greece" by Claude Calame (Laterza, 2015 edition).

So the "culprit" for this perfect imperative appears to be Claude Calame. Now, I haven't found this book online, except as a Google book I cannot access, and I don't expect to find it in a nearby library, so does anyone have access to that book?


Scratch UPDATE 2. I mean, who is this ***** who posts a translation, then a Greek original that blatantly does NOT match the translation (which indeed matches the Campbell text far better), and then an English version matching the Greek?

  • The book you mention is available at Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense COLL.IT.P.0424/ 0028 000694141 1 v. Could anyone wish a better place to study? E stupendo!
    – Alex B.
    Apr 3, 2018 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


Google search has finally paid off: it says here that the culprit is Παναγής Λεκατσάς, a Greek «φιλόλογος και από τους θεμελιωτές της θρησκειολογίας και εθνολογίας στην Ελλάδα» (philologist and among the founders of religion and ethnology in Greece). Unfortunately, scribd has deleted his Sapphous Hapanta, formerly here, but this is probably the inventor of the perfect imperative.

Luckily, this other site still has that book, and I am certainly going to look at the apparatus criticus and post it here.

enter image description here

Oh so the culprit is Wilamowitz, with Panagis following suit and spreading this text to Manos and Odisseas and thus to me via the internet. Case closed.


The link has rotten. Projet Homère has the book, luckily. Hopefully that won't rot.


So the work has no publication date apparently. However, looking at the biblio, we see he had the Reinach edition of 1937. If we assume he is the culprit for the Xatzidakis text, then he must have published before 1972. Looking at his texts, he had P.Oxy. 2076 (despite not mentioning it in the sources), which was published in 1927, but didn't have P.Oxy. 2166(a), which was in Ox. Pap. XXI, published 1952. Curiously he didn't have the Ostrakon Florentinum, also published in 1937. So he must have published between 1937 and 1952. Perhaps in 1937, after the Reinach edition but before the Ostrakon? Maybe he, like safopoemas, followed Reinach closely, except for putting in that perfect imperative? Nope, the ordering of the fragment is different. Welp, Idk.

  • 2
    Very good work. A side note: θεμελιωτές της θρησκειολογίας are not founders of religion, but founders of religious studies (sometimes considered a part of ethnology.) There is a difference!
    – Dario
    Apr 3, 2018 at 5:45
  • @Dario That was Google's fault. Did sound strange but I was too lazy to look all the words up.
    – MickG
    Apr 3, 2018 at 7:31
  • 1
    I am not surprised. Wilamowitz was a very clever man.
    – fdb
    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:23

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