It is fitting that any celebration of women’s history reaches back into antiquity to honor Sappho. Sappho was one of the most celebrated poets of the ancient world and her influence is still felt today in spite of the fact that much of her work has not survived. She was born around 630 BC and the range of her knowledge and the settings she described in her poems suggest she came from an aristocratic family and had three brothers. She was born in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Her family had ties to political leaders and regional strife led to her exile to Sicily. It is believed that she died around 570 BC.
She wrote over 10,000 lines of lyric poetry; however, only 650 of them have survived to the present. While some historians suggested her works were destroyed because of concerns about their subject matter, others believe a lack of demand prevented most of them from being transcribed on to more easily preserved parchment after her death. She wrote poems about love and family and her style was marked by wit, word play, and an immediacy that conveyed emotion and urgency. She was admired by Alexandrian scholars and a critical edition of some of her works was compiled in the 3rd century BC. She died in 570 BC. Tennyson and Housman admired her works and were influenced by her style of writing.