In Sappho Edmonds 76 Campbell 147, the tradition gives μνάσασθαί τινα φάμη καὶ ἔτερον ἀμμέων. I can see why one would amend this to μνάσασθαί τινά φαμι καὶ ὔστερον/ἄψερον ἀμμέων on metrical grounds, but:

  • φαμι is typically (by which I mean Edmonds, Lobel-Page and Campbell) further modified to φαιμι;
  • Campbell proposes μνάσεσθαι.

On what grounds is that iota added in item 1? And what arguments are there pro or contra the tradition's μνάσασθαι, which Lobel-Page says «potest fieri ut etiam […] recte se habeat»?


According to LSJ, the indicative conjugation of φημί in Aeolic is:

Aeol. φᾶμι Sapph.32, 2sg. “φαῖσθα” Alc.Supp.20.6, 3sg. φαῖσι ib.26.5, Sapph.66, 3pl. “φαῖσι”

That makes the φᾶμι form suspect; the emendation to φαῖμι is to bring the 1sg in line with the other persons attested. The Aeolic yod appears to be echoed in the 2sg Attic φῄς, although its relation to Indo-European *bheh2 is not obvious to me. (Chantraine refers to "F. Bader, BSL 71, 1976, 86–91" for it).

μνάσασθαι is the aorist infinitive, μνάσεσθαι the future infinitive. The latter is a clearer match to "I think people will remember us even hereafter." If the traditional reading was "I think someone else remembered us too", you can see why the past tense aorist was chosen instead, and why Lobel–Page muse that maybe that's what it actually was. Given the aspect/tense messiness of indirect speech, I suspect you could even argue for an aorist infinitive somehow with the "remember us hereafter" sense; but the future is much less sophistic.

  • What numbering of Sappho does LSJ use? Just curious to know what the 66 is. I'm also wondering whether one of the Alcaeus fragments mentioned is the "o d'Areus phaisi ken Aphaiston agen bia" which Bergk and Edmonds put in the Sappho section. – MickG Aug 19 '18 at 5:55
  • LSJ uses Bergk, for both Sappho and Alcaeus; the "Suppl." for both is Diels, "Supp. Lyr." – Nick Nicholas Aug 19 '18 at 7:36
  • Curious. Sappho 32 in my Bergk is "Ai d' ekhes eslon imeron e kalon" (the one addressed to Alcaeus and quoted by Aristotle's Rhetoric, which contains no form of phemi, whereas the fragment at hand is 36. 66 is just "parthenon adyphonon", no phemi there. Were there more than one Bergk? – MickG Aug 19 '18 at 7:49
  • A typo is not out of the question, either in the original LSJ or in the Perseus transcription. – Nick Nicholas Aug 19 '18 at 9:57

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