Sappho: Poems and Fragments

how does love/lust in Sappho's culture differ from our understanding?

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Okay, Sapphic poetry isn’t my strong point and it's a bit hazy but this is what I recall. Sappho celebrated love and beauty in her poetry. She divided from traditional ancient Greek poetry in that her songs were not in praise of the Gods rather than "love" itself. Much of her poetry had to do with a woman's right to seek love wherever she finds this beauty. Frequently this involved other women. The general idea was that sex, love and beauty transcended gender into whatever the Gods chose to bestow onto earth. This, of course, is radically different than western society's ideas of love and beauty. Our views are largely formed from traditional Judeo-Christian teachings. Homosexuality is still considered "taboo" by many people. The idea that lust and beauty exist for their own sake rather than part of a wider social or religious institution is not commonly shared by society today.