General background

What I gather from Edmonds is that the fragment at hand is found in a letter written by Iulianus (Julian the Apostate?) to Iamblichus, and the "offending" part of the letter reads thus:

Ἦλθες καὶ ἐποίησας ἦλθες γὰρ δὴ καὶ ἀπὼν οἷς γράφεις· ἐγὼ δέ σε μὰ ὤμαν· ἄν δ' ἐφύλαξας ἐμὰν φρένα καιομέναν πόθῳ [...] χαῖρε δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἡμῖν πολλά, καθάπερ ἡ καλὴ Σαπφώ φησιν, καὶ οὐκ ἰσάριθμα μόνον τῷ χρόνῳ ὃν ἀλλήλων ἀπελείφθημεν, ἀλλὰ γὰρ καὶ ἀεὶ χαῖρε.

After the obvious emendation of μὰ ὤμαν -> μαόμαν, the above translates to:

You came, and you did: for you came, even not being here, in your writing; and I was longing for you; and you guarded my heart which burnt with desire […] and you yourself be very well, as the beautiful Sappho says, and not only for as long as we've been parted, but be well forever too.

This would thus seem a two-part quote, part one containing what comes before the […] and part 2 containing what comes after. I have a couple questions here.

Question 1: ἐφύλαξας

For metrical reasons, and probably semantic reasons too, this verb is typically amended someway. Edmonds has ἔφλαξας=ἔφλεξας, "you burnt up", Campbell, Lobel-Page, Thomas, and The Complete Poems of Sappho have ἔψυξας, "you cooled down", and Greek Wikisource, Bibliotheca Augustana, and Wilamowits have ἔφλυξας.

What verb is that last form from, and what does it mean?

I'd guess φλύγω, φλύκω, φλύχω, or φλύσσω, but neither give results on Pereus Greek Word Study Tool…

Question 2: Bergk

Now I'm used to Bergk missing a lot of fragments because they were on papyri unearthed only after his edition, but this is a quotation, so I'm surprised it's not there.

How come Bergk doesn't have this fragment?

Bonus: What are the bracketed numbers here referring to? Was there a prior Bergk edition with different fragment arrangement?

Question 3: The vanishing second part

As far as I can tell, the first part isn't even attributed to Sappho (but maybe the […] had that attribution). The second part is explicitly καθάπερ ἡ καλὴ Σαπφώ φησιν though, so it's weird to see it missing from LP/C 48, and from The Complete Poems of Sappho. In fact, I flipped through all LP yesterday and I just couldn't find it.

How come that second part seems to be completely missing from Lobel-Page? Where is it in Campbell? And in Voigt too, though the TEST has that part of the quote:

Voigt TEST part

Question 4: reconstructing part 2

From part 2, one would expect the poem being quoted to contain, maybe a few lines further down, something like:

χαῖρε (δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἡμῖν) πολλά, ἰσάριθμα τῷ χρόνῳ ὃν ἀλλήλων ἀπελείφθημεν.

Given that, after any of the emendations above, l.2 is «ὂν δ' ἔ≤≥ξας ἔμαν φρένα καυομέναν πόθῳ», a gl2d (i.e. xx–uu–uu–uu–ux), one would start a hypothetical extra line with:

χαῖρε πόλλα ... ἰσάριθμα

So we have a hole, perhaps filled with σὺ κάλ' or similar, and we are left with:

τῷ χρόνῳ ὃν ἀλλήλων ἀπελείφθημεν

One could try:

χαῖρε πόλλα ‹σὺ κάλ'› ἰσάριθμα χρόνῳ ὅτῳ
ἀλλάλαν †ἀπελείφθημεν†

Let's ignore for a moment that Aeolic would mandate ὄττῳ and bye meter, assume she used a poetic licence to make that tau single and not screw the meter :). How do we fix that verb? I thought of ἀπέλειμμεν, but that would probably be active, so perhaps ἀπελείμμεθα. Except that would be perfect, so we need reduplication: ἀπυλελείμμεθα would be perfect medio-passive indicative. That is one syllable too many.

Has a perfect without reduplication ever been recorded in poetry, something like ἀπυλείμμεθα? Or else could we change the prefix to e.g. προλελείμμεθα and get away with it, despite it being strange that Iulianus would change the prefix that way when pseudo-quoting? Could we perhaps use a tmesis and throw a muta cum liquida to avoid lengthening the alpha of ἀπ in ἀλλάλαν ἂπ λελείμμεθα?

Bonus: All Voigt has on this fragment

Voigt part 1

Voigt part 2

  • 1
    Well, the second part is "missing" (to use your word) in The Complete Poems of Sappho because it was not written by Sappho. You can see it on page 250 in Julian, Letters. Epigrams. Against the Galilaeans. Fragments in the section "The Apocryphal letters (letter 77 to Iamblichus), NB "Letters74–83, with the possible exception of 81, are certainly not by Julian."
    – Alex B.
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 5:30
  • @AlexB Wait a second, whoever wrote the letter says it's "just like beautiful Sappho says", how is it not written by Sappho?
    – MickG
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 7:19
  • The verb form you’re jnterested in so much, is it in Campbell or Voigt? I don’t think so.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 17:07
  • @AlexB Voigt adopts épsyxas, but mentions Wilamowitz suggested éphlyxas. Campbell follows Voigt but without the mention of éphlyxas.
    – MickG
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 17:13
  • I figured as much. But what does Voigt say about it? It could be important.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


@MickG, I am happy you ask these questions about Sappho, and unhappy that these questions are above us. I'll just offer the one guess about ἔφλυξας:

The only verb I can see in LSJ that it might conceivably relate to is φλύω ~ φλύζω "to bubble over, to burst out". LSJ reports the metaphorical usage "overflow with words, babble" in Aeschylus, and Nicander has the literal sense "to bubble over а thousand things with mania", μανίης ὔπο μυρία φλύζειν. The verb kind of makes sense in context: "you made my heart burst, which burnt with desire". Apollonius of Rhodes has ἐκφλύξαι γόον "to give vent to a groan", which suggests a palatal aorist for φλύζω. (That kind of thing happens routinely in Doric, but I don't think it does in Aeolic.)

I can't think of an Aeolic vowel change that would explain the upsilon with reference to a different verb, either.

but neither give results on Pereus Greek Word Study Tool

Having had access to the Perseus morphological analyser, and spent 13 years extending it for the TLG: I'm not surprised Perseus didn't have an account for it; it was quite underspecified for verbs, and incurious particularly about Aeolic and Late Greek. (The TLG version has had the opposite problem, of trying anything morphologically plausible, and that took a lot of work to bring under control.)

Has a perfect without reduplication ever been recorded in poetry, something like ἀπυλείμμεθα?

No syllabic reduplication, perfect not pluperfect, and not Byzantine/Demotic (from when reduplication had died out)? Not as far as I can work out, and not as far as any 19th century grammarian had worked out either.

  • I guess I'll have to change the prefix then, or drop it entirely :).<br> <br> Quite a far-fetched restoration, then, the one proposed by Wilamowitz, which probably was proposed on the grounds of that ἐκφλύξαι being possible in Aeolic too. Re the "underspecified" part, IIRC φλύγω, φλύκω, φλύσσω, φλύχω are all out of my reference dictionary as well, so that particular set of queries didn't suffer from underspecification of Perseus.<br> <br> I assume questions 2-3 have no answer that you could find?
    – MickG
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 16:03
  • TBH, I didn't look for answers to qns 2–3, although I do have a couple of editions of Sappho. Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 3:37
  • Which editions do you have? I have Bergk, Edmonds, Lobel-Page, Campbell, Voigt, Carson, Wharton, and Powell.
    – MickG
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 7:22
  • Page, maybe Lobel Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 8:09

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