Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lesbianism, Island of Lesbos and the Poetess Sappho

The Word Lesbian

Lesbian is 
a word that is common now. It denotes love of a sexual nature between women. There was a time when being a Lesbian wad thought to be an aberration. But now people understand that sexual love between two women  is normal though deviant.

The word Lesbian is many century’s years old. It is connected with the Greek poetess Sappho. She lived on the island of Lesbos around 610-570 BC. The word Lesbian is based on the island of name Lesbos where Sappho lived.

Sappho The Greek Poetess

Sappho wrote passionate poetry about love and women. She believed that loving another woman in a sexual way was a normal affair. Her poetry is lovely and passionate. The word Lesbian thus is a tribute to the poetess Sappho who wrote passionate verses eulogising women. I am thankful that Sappho wrote these verses, for life is now that much more interesting. Hats off to the master poetess. It is sad, but most of Sappho’s verses were burned by Christians in 380 AD. However a few of her works have survived the carnage.

Opinion about Sappho

It is worth quoting the 3rd century philosopher Maximus of Tyre. He .wrote that Sappho was "small and dark" and that her relationships to her female friends were similar to those of Socrates (with men):
As per him this love of the Lesbian woman is nothing but the Socratic art of love. She (Sappho) practiced love with women, he with boys. For they said they loved many, and were captivated by all things beautifull.
I will end this small paragraph by quoting from one of her verses. She wrote “Some say that the fairest thing upon the dark earth is a host of  horsemen, and some say a host of foot soldiers, and others again a fleet of ships, but for me it is my beloved.”

Last Word

An example of Sappho’s poetry is worth a read
And if she flees, soon will she follow,
and if she does not take gifts, she will give,
if she does not love, she will love
despite herself"
Come to me now, the harsh worry
Let loose, what my heart wants to be
Done, do it!, and you yourself be
My battle-ally