While Ancient Historians have studied Sappho at length despite the lack of sources and small excerpts of her poetry, few know of the several other women writers of Ancient Greece. Whether during the Archaic Period or the Classical Age, women are being found to have been excellent artists.
The one depicted in the sketch below was Corinna (Κόριννα), who hailed from Tanagara, in Boeotia. Tradition states, mostly in the writings of Pausanias and Antipater of Thessalonica, that she was so recognized she took on her own pupils, one of which, from Thebes, was none other than the mega-famous Pindar. She is also said to have defeated Pindar in poetry competitions and had a monument erected in her name due to her victories in art.
Unfortunately, we only have a couple of her poems, and only in fragments, which reflect her style. Here is one:
“Terpsichore [told] me
lovely old tales to sing
to the white-robed women of Tanagra
and the city delighted greatly
in my voice, clear as the swallow’s.”
Whether or not Corinna lived in the 4th century is a matter of hot debate; however, that she was part of a community of women-writers is becoming more evident over time. Names such as Sappho, Corinna, Myrtis, Praxilla, Megalostrata, and Telesilla, are becoming part of the cannon of Ancient History poets and artists.