Greek But No Myth

The Island of Lesbos, located in the Northeastern Aegean Sea, is the homeland of the right-on 7th-century B.C. gay-interest poet Sappho, revered during an entire eon and saluted today by Queerty.com. In her era, Sappho had so enormous a reputation as a poet that when she visited Syracuse, they erected a statue in her honor. Her contemporaries praised her art so profusely and in such detail that we compare their discussions of it to the extant work and surmise that much of her poetry has been lost. Nobody knows who lost it, but if you find any missing bits lying around, please let us know. Many fragments of Sappho’s poems have been studied to a fare-the-well by scholars straight and gay. To llustrate now: in Sappho’s People Do Gossip, the hot gossip is that Leda once found an egg hidden under wild hyacinths. You can’t get gayer than that if you spend Saturday night inebriated and shakin’ your booty to deep house in a disco on Ibiza.

Bust of Sappho

Maximus of Tyre, though a philosopher, nonetheless loved gossip himself. Besides writing that Sappho was “small and dark,” he compared her relationships with females to those Socrates had with his bepenised brethren: “What else was the love of the Lesbian woman except Socrates’ art of love? For they seem to me to have practiced love each in their own way, she that of women, he that of men. For they say that both loved many and were captivated by all things beautiful. What Alcibiades and Charmides and Phaedrus were to him, Gyrinna and Atthis and Anactoria were to the Lesbian.”

Sappho has never ceased to inspire. In the 19th-century, Charles Gounod composed an opera based on her life. Author Diana McLellan titled her book exploring female relationships in Tinseltown Sappho Goes to Hollywood. To more thoroughly explore lesbian poetry through the ages, you can go to www.sappho.com.