The History of Lesbianism

Origin of the Term Lesbian

The earliest mention of the world Lesbian is in ancient Greece. An early Greek female poet Sappho is known to have written love poems to women as well as men, thus making her an early example of bisexuality. Two terms referring to female homosexuality derive from Sappho; Sapphic, referring to Sappho's name, and Lesbian, referring to the Island where Sappho was born. It has been suggested that Sappho's relationships did not include any overt sexual relations, though it has also been suggested that female homosexuality was common place on the Island of Lesbos.

Historic Legality of Female Homosexuality

Historically different nations and cultures have treated same sex relations differently, and also have had different standards for male and female same sex relations. For instance in the Jewish culture same sex relations between men are forbidden where as relations between women constitute minor moral issues. Greek culture in general did not regard same sex relations as distinctly perverted though the idea of same sex relations being perverted did prevail in some ways. 

Political Considerations & Same Sex Relations

Many nations have ignored same sex relations in general regardless of the sexes involved. However, certain political considerations have affected these policies. During times of expected war there is always an incredible desire for able-bodied fighters. Even today with many nations facing population decline there is a prevailing attitude toward same sex relationships as 'preventing the future of the nation'. At the same time many nations have turned a blind eye toward these relationships especially when, much as did Sappho, the persons involved bare children. Historically many same sex relations were between persons who did maintain heterosexual relations, and resulted in children.

Famous Lesbians in History

There are many openly same sex relationships between women recorded in history. There are also some relationships that are accepted as probably between two female partners without explicit support for these claims. There are also many mythological characters who were either implicitly, or explicitly same sex females (or males).

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