Professor C. Michael Sampson,, University of Manitoba.
Sappho, the enigmatic Greek poet from the Island of Lesbos, was praised for her poetic style and ridiculed for her supposed immorality even in antiquity. Subject to controversies about her life, her family, and of course, her sexuality, her poetry continues to be a focus of fascination and study. Her work survives almost entirely in small but precious fragments.
In 2014 a surprise announcement that two new fragmentary poems preserved on papyrus had been discovered, one of which was five stanzas long, made international headlines and excited scholars around the world. Soon thereafter, however, details of the discovery began to raise eyebrows: the provenance of the fragments—their origins, acquisition, and ownership history—were all very murky.
Research has subsequently shown that the history of the fragments is entangled in the sensational allegations, featured repeatedly in major media outlets since 2019, of the removal of and illicit trade in Oxyrhynchus papyri from the collection of the Egypt Exploration Society at Oxford.
Professor Sampson is Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Classics at the University of Manitoba. He obtained his PhD from the University of Michigan, his MA from Dalhousie University and his BA from University of King’s College.