The poet Sappho was so celebrated in the ancient world that the Roman Empire was still producing statues and paintings of her centuries after her death. Her work was organized into nine books of lyric poetry in the famous library at Alexandria, yet we know almost nothing about her life, except that she lived on the Greek island of Lesbos and wrote love poems to women. She remains famous to the present day, even though only a few fragments of her poetry have survived. One of these fragments, called “Midnight Poem,” was written in the mid-sixth century BCE to an absent lover. Due to tantalizing hints in the poem, scholars have long debated when it was written. Now, thanks to software used to simulate night skies in planetariums, scientists have figured it out.
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