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Monday, January 23, 2017

The Acceptability of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece

"For Greenberg the homosexuality of Classical Athens - subject of a definitive study by Kenneth Dover - was transgenerational (in that the lover was older, the beloved little more than a boy without the first growth of a beard); it was based on a differential of power (the lover was older, richer, more experienced. and took the active role; the beloved was younger, without resources, gaining an education, and took the passive role): it was transitional (both parties filled the roles of beloved and lover at different stages); and it was not exclusive (it was indeed "just a stage they were going through", and the lover would frequently have a wife and children at home and in due course the beloved would become an adult citizen and take a wife). This homosexuality — more accurately pederasty — played an institutionalized role in Greek society in the 5th and 4th centuries BC...

However, though 4th-century BC Athens readily accepted this “homosexual” ethos of eromenos and erastes (with evidence provided by the Attic comedies of Aristophanes, by Plato, and by Aeschines’ speech of 346 BC in prosecution of Timarchus), the freedoms were constrained. The eromenos who, voluntarily or due to parental pressure, gave his favours for material gain in overt prostitution lost his place among the citizens and could be arraigned for hubris if he subsequently attempted to act as a citizen by speaking in the assembly or holding reserved ofiice. Similarly. the man or boy who took the passive (receptive) role in anal intercourse (who allowed himself to be penetrated) separated himself from the citizens and was ordered with women, foreigners, and prostitutes. The role of the beautiful yet aloof object of a worthy male citizen's desire was allowed the beardless youth: a coeval relationship between men — more especially if anal intercourse was imputed to it — was not."

--- Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece (ed. Nigel Wilson)


In other words, Ancient Greece was certainly not a gay paradise
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