All the way from 7th Century BC, meet Sappho, an ancient Greek lyric poetess, residing for much of her life on the island of Lesbos, which was a cultural centre at the time. The daughter of a wealthy aristocrat, Sappho led an eventful
life, which included both fame and infamy. She was exiled to Sicily for a time, probably for political activities, where she was treated as an honourable guest and had a statue erected in her name. She was later hailed by the Alexandrians, who listed her as one of nine significant lyric poets. Although not the case with the poem featured here, the beloved subject of much of her poetry was women.
It seems to me (to borrow a phrase) that the Ancient Greeks knew a lot about the erotic life. They valued beauty in architecture, and the arts held a central place in Grecian cultural life, with tragic and comic theatre festivals held over several days. They were a sexually liberal culture too, with an acceptance of homo-eroticism and same-sex love. Then there was their love of wine and feasting! Two schools of thought that resolved around pleasure as a central focus had both philosophers and strong followings in Ancient Greece – Epicureanism and Hedonism. I could certainly entertain living in those times – at least if I was born into the wealthy classes!