But in truth any slave was a sex slave if their master so desired, and it was primarily through master-slave relationships that sex between males occurred in Ancient Rome.
It turns out they weren’t nearly as tolerant as you might like to think.
And of course, the island of her birth, Lesbos, gives us the word ‘lesbian’ that we still use today.
Sex between women wasn’t illegal, but, like the Victorians, the Greeks and Romans simply refused to believe it happened.
Many of the most famous names to come down to us in history from the Greek world have been same-sex attracted – from bisexual Alexander the Great whose father Phillip destroyed the all-gay Sacred Band of Thebes to the philosophers Plato and Socrates.
Few lesbian voices come to us from the ancient world but the lyric poet Sappho is a notable exception and her love poems for other women speak down to us through the ages.