Ancient Greek love poems have been found in every corner of Greece, on the islands and the mainland, in cities covered by the dust of time. Not surprisingly though.
Poetry has always been associated with feelings. What could poetry express better than love? Since the antiquity, many erotic poems have been created in Greece, expressing both platonic and intimate love. Greeks are known, since the earlier centuries, to be erotic and sensual people, prone to love and passion.
Until today, thus, ancient Greek love poems fascinate, revealing angles of human relationships that we obviously did not know about.
Ancient Greek Love Poems from Sappho
Sappho, the most important lyric poet of the antiquity in Greece and one of the most significant poets worldwide wrote, many centuries ago, tantalized by her love for one of her female students:
Again love, the limb-loosener, rattles me
a crawling beast.
As a wind in the mountains
assaults an oak,
Love shook my breast.
You came, Atthis, you did so good
You refreshed my heart that was burned by desire
Whiter than milk
Fresher than water
Softer than the finest veil.
I loved you, Atthis, long ago
even when you seemed to me
a small child.
It was you that enchanted the mortals,
Child of Aphrodite,
You the best of stars
And whiter than milk…
This poem written by Sappho was set to music by Spiros Vlassopoulos and was sung by Aleka Kanellidou. The song is entitled Atthis and you may listen to it in the featured video.
To my hetaeras
And your laugher, ah, that seduces my heart
I promise you
Because whenever I turn to look at you
I feel going completely speechless…
Ancient Greek Love Poem by Archilochos from Paros
Archilochos, the oldest lyric poet in Europe, born on the island of Paros, wrote at approximately 690 BC.
A slender, lovely, graceful girl,
Just budding into supple line,
And you scare her and make her shy.
Laid her down in a thousand flowers,
And put my soft wool cloak around her.
I slid my arm under her neck
To still the fear in her eyes,
For she was trembling like a fawn,
I caressed the beauty of all her body
And the desire of love wringed my heart
Like a huge cloud cloaked my eyes
And stole the sweetest breath from my chest.
Love Poem – Anacreon
Anacreon, also wrote this love poem in 550 BC
Love the tamer
And scarlet Aphrodite
Play with you King
And the Nymphs with their black eyes.
To you that wander on mountains
I sacredly bow
Listen to my prayers
And come to me
Give me what I desire
Advise him well
My love, King, make him accept the boy.
Again the blond Eros
Threw his red ball and poked me
To start my game with this girl
Who wears fancy sandals.
But she is from Lesbos
The full of mansions island
She ignores my white hair
And gazes elsewhere..