There seem to have been two Greek poetesses of this name.
1. A contemporary and friend of Sappho (about B. C. 612), who died at the age of nineteen, but left behind her poems which were thought worthy to rank with those of Homer. Her poems were of the epic class: the chief of them was entitled Ἠλακάτη
, the Distaff :
it consisted of three hundred lines, of which only four are extant. (Stob. Flor.
118.4; Athen. 7.283
d.; Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graec.
It was written in a dialect which was a mixture of the Doric and Aeolic, and which was spoken at Rhodes, where, or in the adjacent island of Telos, Erinna was born.
She is also called a Lesbian and a Mytilenaean, on account of her residence in Lesbos with Sappho. (Suidas, s.v. Eustath. ad Il.
2.726, p. 326.)
There are several epigrams upon Erinna, in which her praise is celebrated, and her untimely death is lamented. (Brunck, Anal.
vol.i.p.241,n. 81,p.218,n. 35,vol.ii. p. 19,n. 47, vol. iii. p. 261, n. 523,524, vol. ii. p. 460.)
The passage last cited, which is from the Ecphrasis
of Christodorus (vv. 108-110) shews, that her statue was erected in the gymnasium of Zeuxippus at Byzantium. Her statue by Naucydes is mentioned by Tatian. (Orat. ad Graec.
52, p. 113, Worth.) Three epigrams in the Greek Anthology are ascribed to her (Brunck, Anal.
vol. i. p. 58; Jacobs, vol. i. p. 50), of which the first has the genuine air of antiquity; but the other two, addressed to Baucis, seem to be a later fabrication.
She had a place in the Garland
of Meleager (5.12).