Chapter Five: Types of Homosexualities / Age-Structured

Saturday 3 September 2011.
 

Chapter Five Age-Structured Homosexuality

3. Age Structured Homosexuality: Greek Pederasty

Although this article is included in the section of age-structured homosexuality, its scope is broader in that it addresses more than Greek pederasty. It discusses Greek sexuality in general, adult homosexual, and compares our modern western society to that of ancient Greece. What, then, can we conclude about homosexuality in the modern American culture if one only listens to those on the political left, from those on the political right, or from the various court cases? One may find a fourth view when the issue of homosexuality is on a ballot up for vote. Two contradictory outcomes have been the result depending on whether the question has been an issue of discrimination or the definition of marriage. In an overwhelming majority of times when the vote has been to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples the results have been not to change the historical definition of marriage of one man and one woman. There have been more favorable outcomes when the question is discrimination against homosexuals. So then our modern American culture view of homosexuality is very similar to that of ancient Greece as seen in the following quotes by historians David Cohen and Bruce Thornton.

“What, then, is one to conclude about a culture whose laws expressed a deep-rooted anxiety about pederasty while not altogether forbidding it? A culture in which attitudes and values ranged from the differing modes of approbation represented in Plato’s Symposium to the stark realism of Aristophanes and the judgment of Aristotle that homosexuality is a diseased or morbid state acquired by habit and comparable to biting fingernails or habitually eating earth or ashes? A culture is not a homogeneous unity; there was no one "Athenian attitude" towards homoeroticism. The widely differing attitudes and conflicting norms and practices which have been discussed above represent the disagreements, contradictions and anxieties which make up the patterned chaos of a complex culture. They should not be rationalized away. To make them over into a neatly coherent and internally consistent system would only serve to diminish our understanding of the "many-hued" nature of Athenian homosexuality.” (Cohen, Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens, p. 21)

“What, then, is one to conclude about a culture whose laws expressed a deep rooted anxiety about pederasty while not altogether forbidding it. A culture in which attitudes and values range from the differing modes of approbation represented in Plato’s Symposium to the stark realism of Aristophanes and the judgment of Aristotle, that in a man, the capacity to feel pleasure in a passive sexual role is a diseased or morbid state, acquired by habit, and comparable to biting fingernails or habitually eating earth or ashes. A culture is not a homogeneous unity; there was no one “Athenian attitude” towards homoeroticism. The widely differing attitudes and conflicting norms and practices which have been discussed above represent the disagreements, contradictions, and anxieties which make up the patterned chaos of a complex culture. They should not be rationalized away. To make them over into a nearly coherent and internally consistent system would only serve to diminish our understanding of the “many-hued” nature of Athenian homosexuality.” (Cohen, Law, Sexuality, and Society The Enforcement of Morals in Classical Athens, p. 201-202).

“First, most of the writing on ancient sexuality these days grinds the evidence in the mill of an “advocacy agenda” supported by some fashionable theory that says more about the crisis of Western rationalism than it does about ancient Greece. Thus we are told that the Greeks saw nothing inherently wrong with sodomy between males as long as certain “protocols” of age, social status, and position were honored, an interpretation maintained despite the abundance of evidence, detailed below in Chapter 4, that the Greeks-including pederastic apologists like Plato-were horrified and disgusted by the idea of male being anal ling penetrated by another male and called such behavior “against nature.” One purpose here is to get back to what the Greeks actually say without burying it in polysyllabic sludge.” (Thornton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p. xiii)

Sex was viewed as directional, and having two roles active and passive

While this article is written to discuss the homosexuality, specifically Greek pederasty, a discussion of how the Greek’s saw sexuality must be understood. In our modern understanding of sexuality, except in cases of abuse such as rape, the partners are equals. But this was not the case in ancient Greece. First there was a fundamental inequity in favor of the free male in relationship to boys, women and slaves. Secondly this resulted in sex having a directional quality, with an anatomic imperative, again in favor of the free male. Sex was something he did to someone else and what he used to do it with, his male sex organ, the penis. Thirdly, sex had active/passive roles, one partner was the penetrator and the second partner was penetrated. Thus the ancient Greeks may be seen as having a greater acceptance for bisexuality.

“For the ancients, many historians agree, sexuality was not a separate realm of experience, the core of private life; instead it was directly linked to social power and status. People were judged by public behavior, for which there were clear roles; marriage, for instance, was a duty that bore no necessary relationship to erotic satisfaction. Socially powerful males (citizens) enjoyed sexual access to almost all other members of the society (including, in Greece, enslaved males, younger free males, foreigners, and women of all classes).” (Clausen, Beyond Gay or Straight, p. 51)

“First, the expression of sexuality was centered on a fundamental inequity, not only in male-female relationships, but also between male partners in a homosexual relationship.” (King, “Sowing the Field: Greek and Roman Sexology, p. 29 in Sexual Knowledge Sexual Science: The History of the Attitudes in Sexuality editors Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich)

“In Greece the sexual relationship was assumed to be a power relationship, where one participant is dominate and the other inferior. On one side stands the free adult male; on the other, women, slaves, and boys. Sexual roles are isomorphic with social roles; indeed, sexual behavior is seen as a reflection of social relationship not as itself the dominant theme. Thus it is important for us to remember that for the Greeks it was one’s role, not one’s gender, that was salient. Sexual objects come in two different kinds – not male and female but active and passive.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p.135-136)

“In the late twentieth century it became fashionable to assume that penile penetration expressed the power of the penetrator and subordination of the penetrated (Foucault 1976/80-1984/6; Keuls 1985; Parker 1992). Many studies then concluded, rightly I feel, that men had sexual access to all those beneath them in society (unmarried females, non-citizen males, slaves; Richlin 1992: xviii; Sutton 1992; 5); only proper women and citizen males were off limits.” (Younger, Sex in the Ancient World From A to Z, p. xiv)

“Although sexual pleasure and marriage were not necessarily linked, sexuality and domination most certainly were. Far from being a mutual experience, sexual activity always had a directional quality for the Greeks. Sex was something one “did” to someone, and anatomic imperative dictated that it was a man (or more precisely the penis) that did the doing.” (Mondimore, A Natural History of Homosexuality, p. 7)

“In both Greece and Rome, as the most recent studies have correctly argued, the fundamental opposition between different types of sexual behaviour was not the heterosex/homosexual contrast, but the active/passive contrast, the former category – activity – being characteristic of the adult male, while the latter – passivity – was reserved for women and boys.” (Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World, p. x)

“The ancient world, both Greek and Roman, did not base its classification on gender, but on a completely different axis, that of active versus passive. This has one immediate and important consequence, which we must face in the beginning. Simply put, there was no such emic, cultural abstraction as “homosexuality” in the ancient world. The fact that a man had sex with other men did not determine his sexual category. Equally, it must be emphasized, there was no such concept as “heterosexuality”. The application of these terms to the ancient world is anachronistic and can lead to serious misunderstandings. By the fifth time one has made the qualification, “The passive homosexual was not rejected for his homosexuality but for his passivity,” it ought to become clear that we are talking not about “homosexuality” but about passivity.” (Parker, The Teratogenic Grid, p.47-48 in Roman Sexualities editors Judith P. Hallett and Marilyn B. Skinner)

“As we remarked earlier, the Greeks showed a pronounced tendency to attach greatest importance to (indeed, to glorify) the sexual instinct itself rather than the particular object; consequently they were much freer than modern men to vary sexual objects on their relative merits. Greek culture, unlike modern cultures, imposed on adult males no limitations as to the choice of sexual objects per se, and the only “perversions” remarked by the comic poets (reflecting, we may be sure, community opinion) are cases in which sexual acts other than vaginal intercourse, otherwise perfectly acceptable, are pursed to excess (see Cratin. 152, for example) or practiced in an inappropriate setting.” (Henderson, The Maculate Muse, p.205)

“The third, closely related, feature is the importance of penetration; the main distinction in all sexual encounters, heter- or homosexual, was presented as being between penetrator and penetrated.” (King, “Sowing the Field: Greek and Roman Sexology” p.30 in Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The History of the Attitudes to Sexuality editors Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich p. 30)

“The Greeks associated sexual desire closely with other human appetites – the desire for food, drink, and sleep – and saw all these appetites as entailing the same moral problem, the problem of avoiding excess.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p.134)

“The Greek sexual ethic emphasized not what one did but how one did it; it involved not an index of particular forbidden acts but an inculcation to act with moderation.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p.135)

Homosexuality in Ancient Greece

“The ancient Greek and Latin languages have no word that can be translated as homosexual, largely because these societies did not have the same sexual categories that we do. Our concepts and categories of sexual expression are based on the genders of the two partners involved: heterosexuality when the partners are of the opposite sex, and homosexuality when the partner are of the same sex. In other times and among other peoples, this way of thinking about people simply doesn’t seem to apply-anthropologists, historians, and sociologists have described many cultures in which same-sex eroticism occupies a very different place than it does in our own.” (Mondimore, A Natural History of Homosexuality, p. 3-4)

“Both of these explanations for homosexuality-as either an “unnatural” perversion of sex and an excessive expression of its essential nature-can be found in ancient Greek literary remains. Choosing one of the two to the exclusion of the other, which is often the practice among modern scholars, oversimplifies the complexity of the attitudes attested in the evidence.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p. 101)

“Ancient Greece is often cited as an example of a civilization in which homosexuality was accepted as normal, even encouraged. This is not quite true. All males were expected to make love to women, to marry, and to sire a family, whether or they had a male lover or not. Moreover, love and sex between adult males was thought to be a bit ridiculous. The norm was for an adult male to have a relationship that lasted several years with an adolescent boy. When the boy reached maturity, he, then, was also expected to take a young lover.” (Goode, Deviant Behavior, p.193-194)

“Homosexuality was a universally recognized sexual option throughout the ancient world, particularly in Dorian areas, where it seems to have had a religious, ethical, and legal sanction and to have been more a part of man’s everyday public life than was the case in Athens.” (Henderson, The Maculate Muse, p.204)

“The second feature is more applicable to classical Greece culture. Male homosexual activity was, to some extent, seen as normal, but only if it was kept within certain clearly defined social parameters. Relationships between equals in age were frown upon. In classical Athens, homosexual relationships ideally had some features of an initiation rite, between a young, beardless boy and an older mentor. However, even such relationships were hedged round with etiquette regarding the process of courtship and the giving and receiving of gifts and other signals, while a ‘deep-rooted anxiety’ about pederasty was expressed in classical Athenian law. Aristotle argues that any enjoyment of what he saw as the subordinate, defeated role of the passive partner in a homoerotic relationship was unnatural; on Athenian vase-paintings, the passive partner is never showed with an erection. The Athenian figure of the kinaidos, the man who actually enjoys the passive role, is presented as a ‘scare-figure’, both socially and sexually deviant.” (King, “Sowing the Field: Greek and Roman Sexology” p. 30 in Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The History of the Attitudes to Sexuality editors Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich)

“Both of these explanations of homosexuality-as either an “unnatural” perversion of sex or an excessive expression of its essential nature-can be found in ancient Greek literary remains. Choosing one of the two to the exclusion of the other, which is often the practice among modern scholars, oversimplifies the complexity of attitudes attested in the evidence.” Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.101)

“The ambiguity and complexity of Greek attitudes toward homosexuality can be seen first in the various speculations about its origins, which oscillate between the poles of culture and nature. Whatever its source, though, habitual, passive homosexuality is clearly considered an aberration, a disorder linked to violence and disease, even the supposedly accepted institution of pederasty.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p. 101-102)

“Whether the origins of homosexuality are to be found in nature or history, though, it clearly is problematic, even in its presumably accepted forms of pederasty, a phenomenon needing to be accounted for mythically in the crime of Laius.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p. 103)

“One of our difficulties when reading about ancient Greece is that the most common manifestation of homosexuality in the evidence concerns pederasty, the quasi-ritualized, transient, physical and emotional relationship between an older male and a youth, an activity we view as criminal. Very little, if any, evidence from ancient Greece survives that shows adult males (or females) as “couples” involved in an ongoing, reciprocal sexual and emotional relationship in which sex with women (or men) is moot and the age difference is no more significant than it is in heterosexual relationships. Thus the evidence from ancient Greece involves either man-youth homosexuality (the idealized social relationship we will discuss in Chapter 8), or more precisely defined passive homosexual or kinaidos, the adult male who perversely enjoys being penetrated by other males and who has sex with women only because of societal pressure. These two categories, as we will see, are not as mutually exclusive as they might appear, which accounts for the anxiety tingeing even the most enthusiastic ancient celebrators of pederasty.” Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.100

“In the first place it appears extremely likely that homosexuality of any kind was confined to prosperous and aristocratic levels of ancient society. The masses of peasants and artisans were probably scarcely affected by habits of this kind, which seem to have been associated with a sort of snobbery.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.62)

“In Athens, for a boy to have a homosexual relationship with an adult was considered not only acceptable, but also, under certain conditions, socially approved.” (Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World, p. 17)

“By the time Athens entered period of her greatest power in 480 B.C., male homosexual practices were undoubtedly common and socially tolerated, but were they sanctioned? The age of pederastic innocence was over and a certain anxiety about the subject can be traced in art and literature. The misgivings expressed over male homosexuality usually concerned either homosexual prostitution or the possibility of homoerotic relations between peers.” (Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus Sexual Politics in Ancient Greece, p. 287)

“The above outline of the homosexual ethos in Athens shows that it underwent a fundamental change between the Archaic and the Classical ages. The archetypal homosexual relationship was that between a childlike or prepubescent boy and a mature man. The contact had strong paternal overtones, and it involved affectionate response from the child partner and mild sexual response from the pubescent partner. The original image of the ideal “beloved” did not include any feminine traits. In general, the sexual approach was frontal and the copulation intracrural. The period when this pattern took shape was the Archaic age of Athens, before the greatest flowering of Attic culture. During the fifth and fourth centuries this patterned became compromised and led to male prostitution by citizens and to adult male love affairs; both of these practices were consistently stigmatized as socially unacceptable. Anal sex, generally associated with obscenity and coarse behavior, were the common form these discredited types of homosexual contact.” (Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus Sexual Politics in Ancient Greece, p.298-299)

“This was especially so if the youth allowed himself to be penetrated, an act considered unworthy of a man and a free citizen, and one which could threaten his citizenship.” (Bishop and Osthelder, Sexualia From Prehistory to Cyberspace, p.208)

“The situation was totally different in the case of grown equals, however. Whereas the Dorian boy would attain manhood through his submission, the grown man who submitted to another man would lose his manliness and become effeminate, exposed to shame and scorn.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 89)

“Regardless of actual behavior patterns, anal copulation between two males was equated with sex between two adults, not between a mature man and a young boy, and it was obviously not approved” (Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus Sexual Politics in Ancient Greece, p. 291)

“Homosexuality, then, to the Greeks is a historical innovation, a result of the depraved human imagination and vulnerability to pleasure.” Thornton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.102)

“Already in 1964 Dover sounded the themes of his later publications: the centrality of Athenian law-court speeches; due attention to painted pottery; distinctions of genre, context, class, between beliefs and behaviors; the tendentious use of terms of personal abuse (such as “prostitute”) in political propaganda; and above all, the contrast between the older, active erastes and his passive junior partner in a homosexual pair, the eromenos. These Dover saw as essentially two stages in the social development of a Greek citizen rather than as life-long identities.” (Golden and Toohey, editors, Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, p. 6-7)

Kinaidos

In ancient Greece there is one particular adult male who is identified with homosexual behavior. The Greeks had a name for this individual, “kinaidos’. This individual was the one who took the passive receptive role in the male homosexual behavior of anal intercourse. In doing so by being willing to take the passive, submissive role he was seen as unworthy to be a free man, and more like a male prostitute. As a result forfeited his right as a citizen to hold office. The man who would allow himself to be anally penetrated it was thought would also subject himself to the abuse of alcohol, eating, money, or power.

“Another male image, the kinaidos, was totally negative. This was the man who was represented as acting in an effeminate fashion, by implication taking the passive role in sex because he could not control his appetites. The male prostitute or kinaidos was very different from our modern notion of the homosexual. The male prostitute was not expelled from society because, like the female prostitute, he provided a sexual service, albeit a shameful one. A man was not seen as born a kinaidos or male prostitute-it was a role he acquired.” (Clark, Desire A History of European Sexuality, p. 22)

“What we find is the kinaidos as emblem of unrestrained compulsive sexual appetite, of surrender to the chaos of natural passion that threatens civilized order, a traitor to his sex, a particularity offensive manifestation of eros’s power over the masculine mind that is responsible for creating and maintaining that order in the face of nature’s chaos.” Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.101)

“But in nearly every genre of Greek literature the kinaidos’s appetite is sterile, useless, good only for pleasure, rendering the male prone to other appetites, for money or power, that also threaten culture and its discriminating categories, particularly if he is a citizen responsible in some measure for the political functioning of the city.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.101)

“The situation was totally different in the case of grown equals, however. Whereas the Dorian boy would attain manhood through his submission, the grown man who submitted to another man would lose his manliness and become effeminate, exposed to shame and scorn.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 89)

“Once we have accepted the universality of homosexual relations in Greek society as a fact, it surprises us to learn that if a man had at any time in his life prostituted himself to another man for money he was debarred from exercising his political rights.” (Dover, Classical Greek Attitudes to Sexual Behavior, p.122-123 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey.)

“In so far as the “passive partner” in a homosexual act takes upon himself the role of a woman, he was open to the suspicion, like the male prostitute, that he abjured his prescribed role as a future solider and defender of the community.” (Dover, Classical Greek Attitudes to Sexual Behavior, p.125 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey.

“As a rule, the only sexual practice attacked as a demeaning perversity is passive anal sex by menž the “wide-asses” (euryproktoi) who willingly submit to another man’s assertiveness. In this society, any form of submissiveness was considered unworthy of a free man. While all understood that a woman is naturally to be penetrated by a man, it was considered only for a slave or male prostitute to submit in this way to another male.” (Garrison, Sexual Culture in Ancient Greece, p.161)

“A man who enjoys playing the receptive partner is derogated as a prostitute and as having forfeited his right as a citizen to hold office. The assumption is that a man who would willingly make himself available would do anything! Only slaves, women, and foreigners would willingly choose to be treated as objects” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p. 139)

“Whether created by history or nature, childhood sexual abuse or deformed seminal ducts, the man who enjoys anal penetration by another man is an aberration, a volatile locus of potential social disorder that like the woman he resemble must be dealt with.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.105)

“The protocols explain why. Since sexual activity is symbolic of (or constructed as) zero-sum competition and the restless conjunction of win, the kinaidos is a man who desires to lose. Contrary to all social junctions prescribing the necessity of men to exercise their desires in a way that shows mastery over self and others, the kinaidos simply and directly desires to be mastered.” (Winkler, “Laying Now the Law: The Oversight of Men’s Sexual Behavior in Classical Athens”. p. 186 in Before Sexuality The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World editors David M. Halperin, John J. Winkler and Froma I. Zeitlin)

Pederasty

After discussing how the Greek’s viewed sex in general, and specifically homosexuality, along with the ‘kinaidos’, the man who is the passive receptive partner in anal intercourse we now will discuss the Greek practice of pederastry,’ the love of boys’. Ideally pederasty did not have a sexual component, but was a rite of passage and an educational mode for an adult male (not a biological father) to take on the role of mentor for a young male entering puberty, growing and maturing into an adult male, who as a free male citizen was to be a political leader in the Greek city-state. Pederasty served the role for the moral and political formation of young men. More importantly it was not a private affair between two individuals but was a public affair for the benefit of all.

“The word pederasty is derived from the Greek paiderasteia, literally meaning the love of boys. In English pederasty has come to signify almost exclusively the practice of sexual inversion. But in Greek literature paiderasteia is used to refer to both to pure, disinterested affection and to physical homosexual relations.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.62)

“In the Greek language the word “paederasty” had not this ugly sound it has for us to-day, since it was regarded simply as an expression for one variety of love, and had no sort of defamatory meaning attached to it.” (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, p.413)

“I hope that sufficient documentary evidence has been given to show that paiderasty was cultivated by heterosexually normal men in ancient Greece, where it did not presuppose an inversely homosexual type of personality. It was not considered a transgression, to be tolerated, nor was it felt to betoken to any laxity in moral standards; it was a natural part of the life-style of the best of men, reflected in the stories of the gods and heroes of the people.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 32)

“Paiderasty served the highest goal – education (paideia). Eros was the medium of paideia, uniting tutor and pupil. The boy submitted and let himself be taken in the possession of the man.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 87) “But it was only after the formation of the city that the Greeks took to loving other men, and more particularly boys? Male homosexuality in Greece, in fact – or at least its most socially and culturally significant forms – was, in practice, pederasty, and was extremely widespread. The problem if its ‘origins’ remains open.” (Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World, p. 4)

“In Athens, homosexuality (which as we know was really pederasty, in the sense the sexual relationship between and adult and a young boy) held an important position in the moral and political formation of young men, who learned from their adult lovers the virtues of a citizen.” (Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World, p. viii)

“Such pederasty was supposed to transmit manly virtues of mind and body from nobleman to young lover (Vangaard, 1972).” (Karlen, “Homosexuality in History,” p.79 in Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal, editor Judd Marmor)

“For instance, in ancient Greece, homosexual relationships between older men and younger men were commonly accepted as pedagogic. Within the context of an erotic relation, the older man taught the younger one military, intellectual, and political skills. The older men, however, were also often husbands and fathers. Neither sexual relationship excluded the other. Thus, although ancient Greek society recognized male homosexual activity, the men in these relationships rarely defined themselves as primarily “homosexual.” (Escoffier, American Homo: Community and Perversity, p. 37)

“So these love relationships were not private erotic enterprises. They took place openly before the eyes of the public, were regarded as of great importance by the state, and were supervised by its responsible authorities.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 39)

“They were tied together in a pact equally compelling for both. It was the obligation of the erastes always to be an outstanding and impeccable example to the boy. He should not commit any deed that would shame the boy. His total responsibility to the boy made him dependent on the boy in ways far beyond the purely erotic. He was judged by the development and conduct of the boy. Even in regards to the bodily aspect of the relationship the boy could assert himself against his tutor.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 88)

“Many scholars have written much about early paiderastra-since Homer does not mention it, some scholars argue that it must be an innovation of the later Iron Age. Scholars than looked for causes (population control [Percy 1996], or a byproduct of athletic nudity [Scanlon 2002]. Paiderastra, however, is not homosexuality; it is a coming-of-age rite, and as such it has anthropological parallels that situate it in a stage of state-formation, at the tribal level. In that case, paiderastria should originate in the Bronze Age (Cantarella, 1992; 5), and I myself would put its development no later than the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1900- 1600 BCE).” (Younger, Sex in the Ancient World From A to Z, p. xv)

“The practice born in the Greek gymnasium to which Cicero refers to is not homosexuality but paiderastia, the courtship of free youths by older males, and the central issue was status rather than gender.” (Williams, Roman Homosexuality Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity, p.64)

“The abundant surviving literature composed by the ancients in praise of pederasty always assumes it to be an affair of minds, not bodies, a pure, ‘Platonic’ love, as still call it today, from which carnality is excluded. It was declared that Eros in such cases would not tolerate the presence of his mother Aphrodite. For Eos, as we have already suggested, symbolized the passion of the soul, and Aphrodite fleshly unions, whether homosexual or not.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.67)

“Instead the homosexual connection favored by the Greeks was not so much homoerotic as pederastic; the archetypal relationship was between a mature man at the height of his sexual power and need and a young, erotically underdeveloped boy just before puberty. The standard Greek nomenclature gives the older, aggressive partner the title of the “lover” (erastes) and the young, passive male that of the “beloved” (eromenos).” (Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus Sexual Politics in Ancient Greece, p.275)

“The model of socially validated homosexuality was paiderastia (following Thorkil Vanggaard I will use this form to avoid identifying the Greek practice with the associations “pederasty” has in our world), the love of an older man for a youth (By older man here we mean mostly men in their twenties, while youths were adolescents.) The context was the gymnasium, where youths went to exercise (and display) their physical gifts, and the older men went to watch, appreciate and select. The arena was an upper-class one paiderastia was essentially an aspect of the paideia, the training for citizenship of aristocratic youths. (That same-sex love tended to be mocked in comedy, an art form that attracted the masse may indicate it played a less focal role in their lives.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p. 137)

“To facilitate the understanding of the Hellenic love of boys, it will be as well to say something about the Greek ideal of beauty. The most fundamental difference between ancient and modern culture is that ancient is throughout male and that the woman only comes into the scheme of the Greek man as mother of his children and as manager of household matters. Antiquity treated the man, and the man only, as the focus of all intellectual life. This explains why the bringing up and development of girls was neglected in a way we can hardly understand; but boys, on the other hand, were supposed to continue their education much later than is usual with us. The most peculiar custom, according to our ideas, was that every man attracted to him some boy or youth and, in the intimacy of daily life, acted as his counselor, guardian, and friend, and prompted him in all manly virtues. It was especially in the Doric states that this custom prevailed, and it was recognized so much as a matter of course by the State that it was considered a violation of duty by the man, if he did not draw one younger to him, and a disgrace to the boy if he was not honoured by the friendship of a man. The senior was responsible for the manner of life of his young comrade, and shared with him blame and praise.” (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, p.418)

“It is beyond dispute, therefore, shocking as the fact may appear, that ‘homosexuality contributed to the formation of the moral ideal which underlies the whole practice of Greek education. The desire in the older lover to assert himself in the presence of the younger, to dazzle him, and the reciprocal desire of the latter to appear worthy of his senior’s affection necessarily reinforced in both persons that love of glory which always appealed to the competitive spirit of mankind. Love-affairs accordingly provided the finest opportunities for noble rivalry. From another point of view the ideal of comradeship in battle reflects the entire system of ethics implied in chivalry, which is founded on the sentiment of honour. (H.-I.Marrou, Histoire de l’ Education dans l’ Antiquite, pp. 58-59) But the apprenticeship to courage and the love of honour and glory, important as they were to the Greeks, comprised only a part of Greek education. For lovers claimed that they participated actively in all the moral and intellectual development of their loved ones.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.87)

“Basic to the understanding of the nature, meaning, and importance of paiderasty is the following: Firstly, the age difference between the erastes and his eromenos was always considerable. The eraste was a grown man, the eromenos still an immature boy or youth.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p.43)

“Secondly, as has been demonstrated, an ethical basis was essential for the Dorian relationship.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 43)

“Thirdly, the homosexuality of the paidersty relationship had nothing to do with effeminacy. On the contrary, among the Dorians the obvious aim of education was manliness in its most pronounced forms. Refinement in the manner of dressing and in regards to food, house, furniture, or other circumstances of daily life was looked upon with contempt. Contemporary as well as later sources agree in stressing that it was among the warlike Dorians in particular that paidersty flourished.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 44)

“Fourthly, Dorian paiderasty was something entirely different from homosexuality in the usual sense in which we use the term, as inversion (see definition on page 17). We have repeatedly pointed out that ordinary men regularly cultivated paiderasty and active heterosexuality at the same time. Men who stuck exclusively to boys and did not marry were punished, scorned, and ridiculed by the Spartan authorities, and treated disrespectfully by the young men.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 44)

“From the point of view of many older male lovers, boys and girls were equally desirable, but elite girls were secluded at home, while boys went to school and exercised nude at the gymnasium. Teenage male youths were seen as the most beautiful objects of desire, muscular yet, still hairless, smooth-skinned, with the small, delicate penises adult Greek men regarded as erotic. Since they were young they did not have the status of adult males and could be seen as somewhat feminine. When boys reached the age where they began to sprout beards and public hair, when their skin grew coarse they seemed much less desirable; they acquired the status of citizens, and might pursue their own young male lovers before they married.” (Clark, Desire A History of European Sexuality, p. 23)

“If we are to draw conclusions from what has been said as to the ethics of Greek love of boys, the following emerges as an undeniable fact: The Greek love of boys is a peculiarity of character, based upon an aesthetic and religious foundation. Its object is, with the assistance of the State, to arrive at the power to maintain the same and at the fountain-head of civic and personal virtue. It is not hostile to marriage, but supplements it as an important factor in education.” (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, p.445)

“Although the Greeks believed that the same desire attracted one to whatever was desirable, they nonetheless thought this desire entailed particular problems when it arose in a relationship between two males of distinct age cohorts, one of whom had not received yet achieved the status of adult citizen. The disparity was what gave the relationship its value-and what made it morally problematical. An elaborate ritualization of appropriate conduct on the part of both participates was designed to give such relationships a “beautiful” form, one that would honor the youth’s ambiguous status. As not yet a free adult male, he was an appropriate object of masculine desire; as already potentially a free citizen, his future subjectively must be honored. The active role can only be played by the older partner, but the younger partner must be treated as free to accept or reject his suitor. Thus the Greeks believed that the relationship should be designed so as to provide an opportunity for the younger to begin to learn the self-mastery that would be expected of him as an adult. The older man’s desire was seen as unproblematic; what was difficult was how to live that desire in such a way that its object might in turn become a subject.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p. 138)

“The truth is that pederasty is a vice encouraged by abnormal social conditions, such as life in military camps or purely masculine communities. Society was essentially masculine in the classical period of Greek civilisation, even outside of Sparta. Homosexuality in fact develops wherever men and women live separate lives and differences in education and refinement between the sexes militate against normal sexual attraction. The more uncompromising such separation and diversity become, more widespread homosexuality will be.” (Flaceleitere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.215-216)

erastes and eromenos

In a pederastic relationship there were two partners, the older one was called the erastes and the younger was the eromenos. The relationship was to end when the younger one was around 18 years of age, when he started growing facial hair. While the relationship begin about the time the younger one started puberty. After the relationship ended the younger, eromenos, was expected to marry, and then he could then become the erastes to a younger partner. The relationship was based a mutual liking of both partners towards one another. Ideally, more importantly the older, erastes, was always to have the best interest of the younger, eromenos, in mind. Thus this was not a sexual relationship, but one of educating and training the younger by the older to be a successful adult male in Greek society.

“In Athens, the adult man socialized the boy into adult male society and the adolescent expressed his gratitude by granting his erasted (favor” (kharis), sexual license, even intercrural intercourse. Only the erastes was meant to experience Love (eros); the eromenos should experience “friendship” (philia; but see Johns 1982: 101; DeVires 1997; Halperin 1997: 45-54).” (Younger, Sex in the Ancient World From A to Z, p. 92)

“The erastes, adult male lover, would offer gifts, such as the apple (with its erotic significance) or a rooster, or more extravagantly, a horse or chariot to his young male beloved, the eromenos. In vessels probably intended for symposia, painters depicted sex between men and youths as “intercrural” intercourse, the man’s penis inserted between the boy’s thighs’. It would have been shameful for the boy to submit to anal sex. This behavior continued in classical fifth- and fourth- century Athens, but it had to be carefully modulated. A man gained honor by aggressively pursuing and conquering a boy, but if the boy surrendered for money, than he would lose honor. It was shameful for a father or guardian to prostitute his own son, and if he did so, the boy had no obligation to support him in his old age.” (Clark, Desire A History of European Sexuality, p. 23)

“Furthermore, it is only the desire to play the active role that is regarded as “natural”. The younger male yields to the older’s importunities out of admiration, compassion, or gratitude but is expected to feel neither desire or enjoyment.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p. 139)

“It is important to remember that the erastes/eromenos relationship was an idealized model for sexual contact between males and that the realities of passions may have more closely resembled the lusty comedies of Aristophanes. It is probably erroneous to assume that intracrural intercourse the exclusive form of intimacy between males among the ancient Greeks.” (Mondimore, A Natural History of Homosexuality, p. 9)

“Among ancient Greeks, sexual contact between males of the same social group was scrupulously concerned with status and was played out according to rules that assured neither party was degraded or open to accusations of licentiousness. The idealized sexual partnership between men consisted of an active older and a passive younger partner. While the older took pleasure in the sexual act, the younger partner was not expected to. The two roles were distinguished by having different labels; the older partner was called the erastes and the younger the eromenos.” (Mondimore, A Natural History of Homosexuality, p. 8)

“Though youths were taught to resist, they were also taught that it was acceptable to yield to the worthy eremenos. They could take it for granted that their taking on the roles of erastes and later eromenos would be acceptable to their fathers and uncles-as long as they followed the rules for playing those roles, played their assigned role within the highly stylized pursuit-and-flight pattern” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p. 139)

“The age of a beloved boy seems always to have been between 12 and twenty.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.68)

“As a rule the first sign of down on the chin of the beloved deprived him of his lover.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.68)

“As a rule the lover in these associations was a mature man less than forty years of age.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.68)

“When discussing the Greek love of boys, one thing especially must not be forgotten: that it is never a question of boys (as we mostly use the word), that is, of children of tender age, but always of boys who are sexually mature, that is, who have reached the age of puberty.” (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, p.416)

“Paiderastia, the eroticized socialization of an adolescent boy into Greek male society by an adult man (contrast Roman boy-love), especially in the sixth and fifth century BCE (Aristophanes; Homoeroticism; Sexual Attitudes). The adolescent (11-18) was the eromenos (beloved, or paidika, “kid”); the man (late 20s-early 30s) was the erastes (lover) perhaps the boy’s maternal uncle (Bremmer 1983; Iolaus).” (Younger, Sex in the Ancient World From A to Z, p. 91)

“The relationship would continue from its inception when the boy was young (eleven years old, Straton) to the time when he begins to get facial hair (Plutarch, Erotikos 770b-c) and is inducted into the military, at age eighteen.” (Younger, Sex in the Ancient World From A to Z, p. 92)

“However much the Greeks at all times approved of the relation between man and youth that rested upon mutual liking, they in the same manner rejected it if the boy sold himself for money.” (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, p.437)

“As we have seen in chapter 4, the most celebrated variety of homoeroticism was a traditional social construct long before the Classical period began. It was something men of the better class did together apart from women of the better class. As often in sexual relationships, there was an understood distinction of roles; the older partner, the initiator and aggressor, the active “lover,” or erastes, dominated the younger, passive, modest eromenos. The role of the erastes was to comport himself with moderation and restraint, whereas the young eromenos was to display no sexual desire of his own, reciprocating his lover’s eros with simple goodwill, philia. If he accepted a lover’s attention he was perceived to “grafify” (kharizesthai) his suitor out of gratitude (kharis) rather than sexual desire, but the gratitude was less for love of gives (never for money) than for the older man’s time and attention. In return for being “gratified” through intercrural sex (as in fig. 5.12), the older man would introduce the younger boy to adult society and social skills; through this means the eromenos would take his place in the male world of wellborn aristocrats, the “beautiful and good” kalokagathoi. For the adolescent boy, it was both an education in the customs of his class and a rite passage to privileged society.” (Garrison, Sexual Culture in Ancient Greece, p.157)

“They were tied together in a pact equally compelling for both. It was the obligation of the erastes always to be an outstanding and impeccable example to the boy. He should not commit any deed that would shame the boy. His total responsibility to the boy made him dependent on the boy in ways far beyond the purely erotic. He was judged by the development and conduct of the boy. Even in regards to the bodily aspect of the relationship the boy could assert himself against his tutor.” (Vanggard, Phallos A Symbol and Its History in the Male World, p. 88)

“The relationship between erastes and eromenos was seen as having an educational and moral function, to be apart the youth’s initiation into full manhood. Therefore, it was a disgrace not to be wooed -although also a shame to yield to easily. The lover became responsible for the youth’s development and honor. Because the more mature partner was assumed to be motivated by true regard his beloved’s well-being, and because what was wanted was love and consent not simply sexual satisfaction, rape, fraud, or intimidation were disallowed (indeed proof of coercion was grounds for banishment). The two shared fame and shame.” (Downing, Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love, p. 139)

“The relationship rarely continued (Male Homosexuality). Both partners were expected to marry, the erastes soon after his paiderastic relationship ceased. The eromenos thus could be the erastes of another eromenos (Peisistratos).” (Younger, Sex in the Ancient World From A to Z, p. 92)

Greek Philosophers

A review of the surviving historical written records from the three greatest philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle will show that they regarded homosexual conduct as intrinsically immoral. Therefore they would have rejected the “idea of a modern gay identity”.

“All three of the greatest Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, regarded homosexual conduct intrinsically immoral. All three rejected the linchpin of modern “gay” ideology and lifestyle. At the heart of the Platonic-Aristotelian and later ancient philosophical rejections of all homosexual conduct, and thus of the modern “gay” ideology, are three fundamental theses: (1) The commitment of a man and a woman to each other in the sexual union of marriage is intrinsically good and reasonable, and is incompatible with sexual relations outside of marriage. (2) Homosexual acts are radically and peculiarly non-martial, and for that reason intrinsically unreasonable and unnatural. (3) Furthermore, according to Plato, if not Aristolte, homosexual acts have a special similarity to solitary masturbation, and both types of radically non-martial act are manifestly unworthy of the human being and immoral.” (Finnis, “Law, Morality, and Sexual Orientation”, p.33)

“Philosophers such as Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle expressed this attitude in a more radical form, and consequently were only prepared to accept pederastic relationships in their nonsexual form. Thus they attempted at least theoretically to put an end to the ancient tendency to sexually abuse boys and youths.” (Detel, Translated by David Wigg-Wolf. Foucault and Classical Antiquity Power, Ethics and Knowledge, p. 135)

Plato

“But Plato at least understood the myth to finger Liaus as the inventor of homosexuality. In the Laws, the Athenian Stranger, tacking the difficult problem of regulating sexual passion, “the cause of myriad evils both for the individual and whole states,” says that “following nature” legislators should make the law as was “before Liaus,” when sex with men and youths as though they were women (a reference no doubt to sodomy) was forbidden on the model of animals, which Plato mistakenly believed restricted sex to procreation. Plato sees the state of nature as one where homosexuality does not exist, sex between males thus being an unnatural invocation whose origin is Laius. This would be consistent with Peisandros, who calls Laius’s passion a “lawless eros”, “lawless in the sense of “contrary to natural law,” an interpretation supported by another epithet Peisandros uses, atheniton, which means “lawless” in the sense of “contrary to established customs,” the unwritten laws handed down by the gods before history, not those legislated by men. Nor is Plato’s view of homosexuality as “unnatural” merely a consequence of his old age. In the earlier Phadrus, one of the great encomia to pederasty, he likewise calls same-sex gratification “lawless” and criticizies the lesser soul that cannot see the form of beauty in a handsome boy and so “is not ashamed to pursue pleasure against nature.” Homosexuality, then, to the Greeks is a historical invocation, a result of the depraved human imagination and vulnerability to pleasure.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.102)

“The pederastic milieu of the gymnasium, where young men exercised naked, was considered a Spartan invention, along with the innovation of rubbing olive oil on the body before exercising, to protect the skin but also no doubt to increase the athlete’s erotic allure. Plato’s Athenian Stranger indulges these culture stereotypes when he holds the Dorians responsible for “corrupt[ing] the pleasures of sex which are according to nature, not just for men but for beasts”. Again Plato see homosexuality as a historical phenomenon, an “enormity” arising out of the “inability to control a pleasure defined as “against nature” because it is its own end rather than serving the goal of procreation. Later in the Laws he again condemns homosexuality, along with adultery and heterosexual sodomy, on the grounds of being “not according to nature” because it does not lead to procreation.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.103)

“ Plato’s distaste for homosexuality is shared by his contemporary Xenophen, a great admirer of the Spartans who is anxious to resolve them of their traditional responsibility for legitimizing homosexuality. The mythical lawgiver of Sparta, Lcyurgus, Xenophon tells us, forbade physical intimacy between the boy and his admirer, categorizing homosexuality with other crimes like incest. Like Plato, Xenophon considers sexual relations between men a depravity that all right-thinking men should abhor as much as they would incest.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.103)

Aristotle

“Although Aristotle, as we saw, implies the Dorians invented homosexuality, elsewhere he recognizes that homosexuals can be born as well as made. Either way, though, they are a deviation from the norm. While discussing the Nichomachean Ethics why some unpleasant or disgusting practices are pleasurable, he says that some “diseased things” result from “nature” or “habit,” and he instances pulling out one’s hair, nailbiting, eating coals or earth, and “sex between males.” The latter, he notes, often results from childhood sexual abuse. Such persons are no more “unrestrained” in their sexual behavior, than a woman, whether they are made that way by nature or the “disease” of habit. Despite Aristotle’s tolerant and objective tone, homosexuality is still characterized as a “disease” (nosematodie), a compulsive, unpleasant, and destructive behavior akin to manias like eating dirt or chewing one’s fingernails. Even pederasty, that supposedly accepted institution of the city-state, is here seen as possibly contributing to what Aristotle considers a morbid condition. Today’s kinaidos is yesterday’s eromenos or “boy-favorite.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.104)

“The Aristotelian corpus offers other evidence for the belief that homosexuality results from a physiological deformity brought about by either nature or habit. A bizarre passage from the Problems explains why a man would find pleasure in being anally penetrated-obviously in the Greek mind a disturbing anomaly, needing some explanation. Starting from the assumption that every form of excretion has a region in the body from which it is secreted, the write explains that the passive homosexual, due to some damage to the ducts that take semen to the testicles and penis, is “unnaturally constituted” and so has semen collect in his anus. This damage could be a result of an inborn deformity or childhood sexual abuse. The collected fluid caused by desire, a desire that cannot be gratified because there is no way to discharged the accumulated semen. Hence the catamite seeks out anal intercourse in order to relieve the swelling. The writer goes on to note that boys subjected to anal intercourse will become habituated to it, thus associating pleasure with the act. Environment and childhood experience play a major role in creating the passive homosexual by deforming the body.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.104-105)

Physiognomy

“The pseudo-Aristotelian Physiognomy similarly describes the effects of passive homosexuality on the body: The effeminate man is drooping-eyed, knock=kneed, his head hanging on one shoulder, his hands carried upturned and flabby. He wriggles his loins as he walks, or tries not to, and he looks furtively. Both these passages, like the ones in Plato, see homosexuality as a deformed condition brought about by a natural disorder or by habit-something, in short, “abnormal,” not quite the practice “accepted by and fully integrated into society” that some modern scholars believe it to be.” (Thorton, Eros The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, p.105)

Greek Laws

Also there are written records of legal provisions regulating various forms of homoerotic behavior. These legal provisions may be may be grouped into three categories. The first group has been mentioned before, legal provisions surrounding male prostitution. The male lost the right to address the Assembly and to participate in other areas of civil life if he engaged in homosexual intercourse for gain. These legal provisions against male prostitution also applied to pederasty. A second group addressed laws relating to education and courtship. General provisions concerning sexual assault comprised the third group of laws that may apply to all sexual behavior, whether it was heterosexual or homosexual in nature. Concerning pederasty itself, numerous laws addressed it, and in various ways throughout Greece. Because it was mostly limited to the ruling class and therefore for the most part socially acceptable in practical terms the laws were rarely enforced. Except in cases where within the ruling class they were used to gain political advantage in disputes.

“But in Greece, though pederasty was forbidden by law in most cities, it had become so fashionable that no one troubled to conceal it. On the contrary, such tendencies were respected and even approved.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.63)

“We are clearly in a different realm from the romantic pursuit of young men in their teens by young men in their twenties known as paederasty, an activity well illustrated on Athenian vases of the late sixth and early fifth centuries B.C.E. and portrayed in Plato’s dialogues as an experience sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes delicious, but always of general interest and approval. In paederasty, as Dover, Golden, and Foucault have carefully demonstrated, a variety of conventions combined to protect the junior partner from the stigma of effeminacy, of being a kinaidos. (Winkler, “Laying Now the Law: The Oversight of Men’s Sexual Behavior in Classical Athens”. p. 186 in Before Sexuality The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World editors David M. Halperin, John J. Winkler and Froma I. Zeitlin)

“As Dover has aptly observed (1978, 88 f.), the same kind of two-faced morality must have governed homosexual seduction that controls heterosexual relations in most societies; pursuit and seduction are sanctioned, the yielding to seduction is not. Athens went to great lengths to protect its handsome young sons from men preying on their beauty; stringent measures were built into the legal system to prevent boys from falling into prostitution. However since love gifts and social favors were part of the pederastic pattern, it must have been difficult to determine exactly at which point prostitution began.” (Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus Sexual Politics in Ancient Greece, p. 296

“All the same, at Athens, a whole body of laws existed for the purpose of restraining the spread of pederasty. This legislation probably dated back to the time of Solon. It aimed among many other things at keeping male lovers out the schools and exercising arenas so far as possible. (See Aeschines, Against Timarchus, 9-11.) But laws can do very little to suppress widely disseminated and inveterate habits.” (Flacelliere, Love in Ancient Greece, p.67)

“The available evidence points to a certain Athenian nervousness regarding all types of homosexual encounters. Solon’s laws concerning homosexuality, for which our chief source is Aeschines’ speech Against Timarchus, attempted to regulate its practice and to protect Athenian citizens from sexual abuses: slaves could not indulge in homosexuality willingly or unwillingly or frequent the palaestras; free persons could not be prostituted or violated; and fathers were encouraged to protect their sons from seduction by employing guardians to watch out for their best interests, at least until they reached an age at which they could make intelligent decisions regarding the conduct of their lives.” (Henderson, The Maculate Muse, p.204-205)

“From Aeschines’ speech it is possible to perceive something of the code of behavior that surrounded the carrying out of such affairs. Love affairs between men and boys or between grown men could, depending on the circumstances, be licentious and depraved or noble and chaste. If a man conducted the affair high-mindedly, without any kind of payment and out of proper regard for his lover’s beauty and -----, then no one could blame him for satisfying his desires. But if a man prostituted himself for payment or made a habit of surrendering his body or pursuing young men for purely sensual purposes, than he could legitimately be called to account for lewdness.” (Henderson, The Maculate Muse, p.205)

“An important turning-point is indicated by the name of Solon (Aeschine, Tim., 138; Charicles, ii, 262 ff.), who, himself a homosexual, issues important laws for the regulation of paederasty, providing in the first place, especially, that a slave might not have connection with a free-born boy. This shows two things: first, that paedophilla was recognized in Athens by the legislator, and secondly that the legislator did not consider the feeling of superiority of the free born to be diminished by intimate relations with a slaves. Further, laws were issued (Aeschines, Tim., 13-15) which were intended to protect free-born youths from abuse during their minority. Another law deprived those of their civic rights who incited free boys to offer their charms for sale professionally; for prostitution has nothing to do with paedophilla, of which we are speaking here, and in which we must rather think always only of a voluntary relationship that is based upon mutual affection.” (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, p. 452-453) “Solon, the famous lawgiver and chief archon at Athens in 594/3 B.C., is alleged to have instituted two pieces of moral legislation in Athens pertaining to homosexuality in the gymnasium. The first prohibits slaves from activities of the gymnasium and from having freeborn slaves as lovers:” (Scanlon, Eros and Greek Athletics, p. 212)

“A second “Solonian” law, this probably dating to the late fifth century, prescribes hours for opening and closing schools and palaestrae to discourage homosexual liaisons from taking place there in the dark or without the presence of the proper supervisors:” (Scanlon, Eros and Greek Athletics, p. 213)

“The Athenians themselves were not unaware of these ambiguities and contradictions. To begin with: according to the Xenophon, Greeks were well aware of that laws and customs regarding pederasty varied widely between different states. Some prohibited it outright, others explicitly permitted it. In the Symposium Plato put into the mouth of Pausanias an econcomium of love which explicitly addresses the conflicts within Athenian norms and customs pertaining to pederasty. Whereas for the rest of Greece these laws and customs are clear and well defined, explains Pausanias, those of Sparta are “poikilos”-intricate, complicated, subtle. He comments that Athenian legislation in this are is admirable, but difficult to understand; the difficulty consists in the simultaneous approbation and censure which social norms and legal rules attach to the pursuit of a pederastic courtship.” (Cohen, Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens, p. 152 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey)

“The legal provisions regulating various forms of homoerotic behaviour may be grouped in three categories: laws relating to prostitution; laws relating to education and courtship; and finally, general provision concerning sexual assault. These are only categories of convenience, however, and there can be considerable overlap between them. The laws concerning male prostitution may be considered first. One statue partially disenfranchised any Athenian citizen who prostituted himself, whether as a boy or as an adult; he lost his right to address the Assembly and to participate in other important areas of civic life. Secondly, if a boy was hired out for sexual services by his father, brother, uncle or guardian, they were subject to a public action, as was the man who hired him. Thirdly, a general statue prohibit procuring and applied any free-born child or woman.” (Cohen, Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens, p. 153 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey)

“The second category of laws pertained to education and set out a series of detailed prohibitions designed, among other things, to protect schoolboys from erotic attentions of older males. These laws regulated all the contacts which boys had with adult males during the period at school, and provided for an appointment of public officials to ensure that proper order was maintained. According to Aeschines, the law forbade the schools to open before sunrise or to stay open after dark, and strictly regulated who might enter and under what circumstances. Finally, another law prohibited slaves from courting free boys.” (Cohen, Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens, p. 153-154 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey)

“The third kind of statutory prohibition is rather more problematical than the first two and has received scant attention in regard to regulation of homoerotic conduct. Here I referto the law of hubris (outrage or abuse). Current scholarship on pederasty commonly asserts that there was no law prohibiting an Athenian male from consummating a sexual relationship with a free boy without using force or payment. This point is usually adduced as the cornerstone of the standard interpretation. This interpretation ignores, however, a series of questions concerning the legal context of pederastic sexuality which, to my knowledge has never been asked. Did the Athenian law acknowledge an age of consent in its conceptualization of sexual assault and seduction? If the consent of the boy was not a bar to prosecution, did any consummated sexual relationship with a boy fulfill the required elements of the offence? Did Athenian law have some notion equivalent to statutory rape in modern legal systems, where consent is the crucial issue in definition of rape offenses? An affirmative answer to any of these questions would require one to reassess the standard view that the active role in pederastic relationships was absolutely free from any taint of disapprobation. (Cohen, Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens, p. 154 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey)

“The set of legal norms embodied in these statues reflects a social order which encompassed a profound ambivalence and anxiety in regard to male-male sexuality; a social order which recognized the existence and persistence of such behaviour, but was deeply concerned about the dangers which it represented. The chief of these dangers was the corruption of the future of the polis, represented by the male, participated in sexual intercourse with men were believed to have pros children of citizen families. Boys who, under certain circumstances participated in sexual intercourse with men were believed to have acted for gain and to have adopted a submissive role which disqualified them as potential citizens. Likewise, adult citizens who prostituted themselves were subject to the same civic disabilities and opprobrium. These laws represented one of the severest sanctions which such a society could impose, and they reflect the level of concern for the preservation of the citizen body.” (Cohen, Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens, p. 156-157 in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome, editors Mark Golden and Peter Toohey)

“Scholars usually do not refer to hubris in connection with pederasty because they believe hubris to require violent insult and outrage. They have not paid sufficient attention, however, to the way in which the law of hubris may have provided for the principle criminal penalties for rape. But although rape is often characterized as hubris, so is seduction. Euphiletus, foe example, refers to the hubris which the lover of his wife has committed against him (Lysias 1.4, 17, 25) and an oration of Demosthenes involves a prosecution for hubris (hubreos graphe) brought by a son on account of the seduction of his mother. Such contexts perfectly match Aristotle’s definition of hubris as any behaviors which dishonors and shames the victim for the pleasure or gratification of the offender (Rhetoric 1387b). Indeed, it is in this connection that Aeschines introduced the law of hubris into the catalogue of statutes which he enumerated as regulating paederasty in Athens in the fourth century B.C. In fact, when he first refers to the law of hubris he characterizes it as the statute which includes all such conduct in one summary prohibition: “If anyone conmmits hubris against a child or man or woman or anyone free or slave . . .” (Aeschines 1, 15). Accordingly, Athenian sources qualify both rape and seduction of women and children as acts of hubris, for both violate the sexual integrity and honor of the family.” (Cohen, Law, Sexuality, and Society The Enforcement of Morals in Classical Athens, p.178-179)

“The violation of a free boy was hubris, or wanton disregard of the rights of another, and could lead to the death penalty. Apparently fathers scolded and schoolmates teased boys who had lovers. But we do not know how often these relationships were sexual; they might have been twilight moments, frequently occurring yet rarely acknowledged.” (Clark, Desire A History of European Sexuality, p. 23)

We can now in conclusion say homoerotic behavior in ancient Greece and our modern western culture has much more in common and for the most part it is in agreement. There is great confusion and disagreement. The whole idea of the societal acceptance and legalization of homosexual behavior is the agenda and focus of homosexuals themselves and those on the liberal political left. Attempting to bring about the acceptance and change, the social and legal tolerance of homosexuality by a minority upon the majority. When viewed in the context of the defining marriage to allow same-sex marriage, and voting by the general population homosexual behavior is not approved. Though one important difference when comparing homosexuality between the two is that concerning the sexual component to pederasty, sex between adult males and adolescent boys is legally and socially not allowed in modern western society.

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