The poet Sappho, according to unreliable late biographies, was born here circa 612 BC. Dubbed the Tenth Muse by Plato because of her skill and sensitivity, she perhaps presided over a finishing school for marriageable young women. She was married herself and had a daughter. Some of her songs erotically praise these girls and celebrate their marriages. Sappho's works, proper and popular in their time, were burned by Christians, so that mostly fragments survive; one is "and I yearn, and I desire." Sapphic meter was in great favor in Roman and medieval times; both Catullus and Gregory the Great used it, and in the 19th century, so did Tennyson. Since the 1970s and until today, many gay women have come to Skala Eressou to celebrate Sappho (the word "lesbian" derives from Lesvos), although the welcoming town is also filled with plenty of heterosexual couples.
FODOR'S GO LIST 2016
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