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Lesbos
The Greek Island of Lesbos


As well as being a beautiful island, and having an amazing classical history going back thousands of years, and having nice warm weather, and having a traditional culture which has changed and evolved through a variety of Ages, the Greek island of Lesbos is famous worldwide for something specific: The Lesbian Poets and most famously, Sappho.

The island of Lesbos, also known as Lesvos, and Mytilini (after the capital city), has gone alternatively through a Golden Age (when the culture is driven by artists, philosophers, and creative thinkers generally), and a "Dark Age" (where conservatism and orthodoxy are the controlling influence), and then another Golden Age, and so on. Which is it going to be next? Well, it depends on who wins the current battle; freethinkers or orthodoxy-dogmatists. It may be a matter of democracy, (worth mentioning that the Ancient Greeks famously invented "democracy"), or it may be an imposed situation, depending on who wins. Then again, these days "the pen is mightier than the sword", originally "the tongue is mightier than the blade". Who said that? Euripedes, who was an ancient Greek.

In the sort of style in which Panama accepts that its success is going to have something to do with the Canal, and Tuvalu knows it has a resource in its TV Domains, it's also an interesting idea that Lesbos has a greater prosperity because of the fame of Sappho. Indeed, a great many people go on a kind of pilgrimage to the island of Lesbos and visit Sappho's home town of Eressos.

Admittedly not everyone likes this fact, but denying it would be like the town of Stratford upon Avon deciding they didn't want to have anything to do with Shakespeare!

Yet, there was an astonishing court case in 2008 in which three people of a conservativist disposition decided to sue a lesbian group for using the term "lesbian"! (www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/08/gayrights.greece ). If they won, it would set a legal precedent leaving the way open for the Isle of Dogs to sue all dogs, the Isle of Wight to sue all white people, and the Isle of Man to sue all of mankind. History is not something just in the past, but is a continuing saga. We will see what happens next.

Incidentally, most of the inhabitants of Lesbos, (for which the term is lesviots or lesvonians according to www.lesvosisland.com/news/newspage.php?pageid=196&lang=EN ), are quite happy that it was their island that was blessed with a historical figure who would attract so many tourists who spend money, and maybe the folks on the islands of Crete, Evia, Lefkas, and Chios wish they'd got a word in the dictionary and the associated tourist boom.

According to some sites, the government of Greece was at the time lagging behind most of modern Europe in its acceptance of diversity, and I have even seen it said that there could come a time when Lesbos declares independence from Greece, making it a country in its own right, like Cyprus. In some ways it would be like Israel, where it's a country with an associated philosophy. Note: You don't have to be Jewish to live in Israel. Similarly, an independent Lesbos would be diversity tolerant.

Anyway, here are a few helpful resources about the history and culture of Lesbos:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbos_Island

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sappho

http://www.greeknet.com/history1.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7376919.stm

http://omadeon.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/lesvians-instead-of-lesbians/

www.lawcrossing.com/article/index.php?id=4194

www.virtualgreece.net/lesvos/lesvos.htm

Olympic Holidays .htm

http://www.lesvos.gr/ - gone?

http://www.lesvos.com/

http://www.lesvostravel.co.uk/ - was www.lesvostravel.co.uk

Great for Hotels

http://www.greekisland.co.uk/lesbos/lesbos.htm

http://www.heliotrope.gr/

http://www.lesvos-travel.com/

Plus, not forgetting, our own tourism and travel page!

Yes, it's true, they've renamed the island, but on a Google search at the time of writing this page it was 10,400,000 results for "Lesbos" versus 1,310,000 for "Lesvos".

Other Greek islands include Elafonissos, Kos, Rhodes, Samos, Kefalonia, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Skiathos, Ios, Zante, Naxos, Sifnos, Minos, Skopelos, Symi... in fact around 1400 islands of which 227 are inhabited, according to Wikipedia (2008).

If you're wondering why Greek places have variations in the spelling, it's because the names are originally in Greek (not surprisingly) and the Greek alphabet is different, and the names don't translate in a 1 to 1 relationship exactly.