PART FOUR

 

GREECE

 

Ancient Greek representation of male love. Bisexual practices were widely accepted and honored in ancient Greece

The bearded man is depicted in a traditional pederastic courtship gesture, one hand reaching to fondle the young man, the other grasping his chin so as to look him in the eye. The youth is putting up symbolic resistance only.

What is the History of same sex unions? Well, There is a long history of same-sex marriages in the western world. Many early western societies tolerated it. Surprisingly, they even celebrated same sex relationships. Proofs of same-sex marriage are not clear, but there are some evidences, of same-sex marriages in ancient Rome. They can also be traced in ancient Greece, and even in medieval Europe. There are also some other evidences of Same-sex unions among Native Americans and Africans.  By Dhananjay Kulkarni, 7/17/2004
 

 

Now let’s have a look at the West. Ancient Greece gives us the earliest western documents concerning same sex relationships. In ancient Greece, same-sex relationships were a societal norm. Certainly, these relationships did not replace marriage between man and woman, but occurred before and beside it.

One can find more information about History of Homosexuality at http://en.wikipedia.org at the link provided. As the content on the site says these relationships were typically pederastic, and it would be unusual for a man to have a mature male mate (though some did, such as Alexander the Great and Agathon in Plato's Symposium); a greater number of men would be the erastes (lover) to a young eromenos (loved one). In this relationship, it was considered "improper" for the eromenos to feel desire, as that would not be masculine. Driven by desire and admiration, the erastes would devote himself unselfishly to providing all the education his eromenos required to thrive in society.

Is their any examples of homosexual relationships in the history? Of course there are! But, the sexual orientation of pre-modern figures is a topic of intense controversy. It may be accepted, for example, that the sex lives of historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Plato, Hadrian, Virgil, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Christopher Marlowe included or were centered upon relationships with people of their own gender. Terms such as homosexual or bisexual might be applied to them in that sense. But many regard this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a modern social construction of sexuality that is foreign to their times. For example, their societies might have focused upon the sexual role one took in these encounters, namely active, passive, both, or neither, as a key social marker. This particular system of designation is currently the norm in many areas of Latin America. Ibid

 

With the failed epic Alexander, based on the life of a Greek conquering king, the homosexual theme was displayed and rejected by the viewing public.  There would be no reason for me to view this travesty even if only for historical purposes.  This epic brought out the fact of Alexander's homosexuality.  Although married, Alexander was truly in love with another man.  Greece like other pagan Nations entertained homosexuality in its seamy societal undertones.

 

I would once again like to return to a book already used in this series to quote from.  In his book, The Construction of Homosexuality, Author David F. Greenberg says the following.  This will be quoted from, Early Civilizations: Homosexual Themes.

 

CLASSICAL GREECE

  Contacts with the East beginning in the late Neolithic (end of the fourth millennium BCE. to 2800 BCE) gave Crete its g-ddess worship Minoan depictions of men wearing women’s clothing in cult scenes suggest that that worship included homosexual cult prostitution, as it did in West Asian g-ddess worship. Later Greek myths of g-ds changing men into women (e.g., Tiresias, Kaineus) may derive from garbled recollections of transvestism in the pre-Olympian cults. By the time the Greeks emerged from the Dark Age and produced the writings that tell us of life in the classical age, they considered these cult practices to be alien.

  By that time, the homosexual component of tribal initiation rites had also disappeared in most of Greece. The desexualization of Greek initiations did not, however, lead to the disappearance of homosexuality: vase paintings, drama, poetry, oratory, and philosophical treatises show that from the sixth century on, secularized male homosexuality flourished in many of the Greek city-states. Nowhere was it prohibited by law. Public opinion was complex and undoubtedly not uniform, but did not generally stigmatize sexual contacts between males. Relations between women were also known. Few written records of it survive, but vase paintings show lesbian activities among female prostitutes.

  The extent of homosexual participation is difficult to judge. In Sparta it seems to have been universal among male citizens. In Athens, only the wealthy would have had the leisure to loiter near the gymnasia, or the wealth to purchase gifts for the adolescents they were trying to seduce. Many of the male couples depicted in Attic vase-paintings clearly belong to the urban patriciate that flourished in Athens during the roughly half- century of Peisistratid rule that began in 561 BCE.

  This was a period of decline for the old Athenian aristocracy. Prevented by the tyranny and the rise of the hoplite army from participating in politics and warfare on the same basis as in the past, aristocrats competed for youthful male flesh. The symposium or banquet, originally the common meal of a tribal age-grade’s warrior club, lost its educative function and became more hedonistic. Originally associated with the forest and the hunt, pederasty moved within the city walls and became domesticated, a theme of poetry and visual art.

  Of course, youthful partners did not have to be rich; perhaps that is why they often asked for gifts. Some were prostitutes and/or slaves. Nor were participants always city-dwellers. Solon’s lover, Pisistratus, came from the rural town of Brauron; and Xenophon feared that the foreman on his farm would find a male lover and neglect his chores.

  The institutionalization of male homosexuality in ancient Greece has sometimes been attributed to the inferior position of women. Athenian girls were unschooled, and the women were denied the opportunity to familiarize themselves with politics and civic affairs. Husbands tended to find them boring. Foreign-born women (mistresses and prostitutes) were available for cash and did provide extramarital heterosexual outlets, but paid partners do not necessarily provide the same emotional satisfactions as lovers. For lack of anything better, it is argued, men turned to other males (though with an enthusiasm that suggests many men found them more than just a second-best alternative). Yet the extreme subordination of Athenian women was fairly recent in the classical age, and as the evidence considered in chapter 3 indicates, male homosexuality was much older. Women of the Homeric age were not nearly as subordinate as in the classical age. According to Plato, homosexuality did not become institutionalized in Ionia, where women were especially secluded; whereas it did in Aeolia, where they were not.

  Slater has argued that Greek male homosexuality arose from the fear of women implanted by emotionally frustrated mothers, and had a strong narcissistic component.  However, small boys were not raised primarily by their mothers, but by male slaves who served as pedagogues. Freud points out in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality that a male child raised by men may more readily accept homosexuality in adulthood; the early attachment to the father or father-surrogate is simply transferred to another male later on. Conceivably this—along with the absence of repression—was a contributing factor.

  What is of greater interest to us is how and what the Greeks thought about homosexuality, and what they did about it. Greeks of the classical age had no word for a homosexual (or heterosexual) person. With few exceptions, the Greeks assumed that ordinarily sexual choices were not mutually exclusive, but rather that people were generally capable of responding erotically to beauty in both sexes. Often they could and did.

  An ambisexual capability is implied in the comments made by the Greek historian Alexis about Polycrates, the wealthy ruler of Samos in the sixth century B.C. Alexis expresses his astonishment that even though Polycrates had imported many expensive goods,

 

“the tyrant is not mentioned as having sent for women or boys from anywhere, despite his passion for liaisons with males.”

 

  In the same century, Aristogeiton, who, with his young male lover Harmodius, won renown by assassinating Hipparchus, the tyrant of Athens, also had a mistress. It was said of Alcibiades, Athenian general and politican of the last half of the fifth century B.C., “that in his adolescence he drew away the husbands from their wives, and as a young man the wives from their husbands.” His older contemporary, Socrates, whose attraction to young men is immortalized in the dialogues of Plato, also, according to Xenophon, patronized female prostitutes. Before he speaks at the symposium, the other guests all praise sexual love, irrespective of its object, with the only qualification being that of Pausanias—that it should be noble, not base.’ Timarkhos, who confessed to his homosexual experiences when put on trial in 346 BCE, also partied with flute girls and hetaerai (paid mistresses or high-class prostitutes).

The assumption of bisexuality persists in later sources. In the writings of Theocritos, a pastoral poet of the third century B.C., a young woman abandoned by her lover prays,

“Whether it be woman that lies by him now, or whether man, may he as clean forget them as once, men say, Theseus forgot the fair-tressed Ariadne.”

 

 The poet Meleager, whose Garland was completed around 100 BCE, writes:

 

  "Aphrodite, female (sc. deity), ignites the fire that makes one mad for a woman, but Eros himself holds the reins of male desire. Which way am I to incline? To the boy or to his mother? I declare that even Aphrodite herself will say: “The bold lad is the winner.”

 

  Still later, Lucian, a satirist of the second century A.D., expresses this catholicity of taste in the short story “The Ship or the Wishes.” One of the characters, Timolaus, wishes he owned a set of magic rings that would fulfill his desires. The ring he wants most will make the pretty boys and women and whole peoples fall in love with me—no one will fail to love me and think me desirable: I shall be on every tongue. Many women will hang themselves in despair, boys will be made for me and think themselves blessed if I but glance at one of them, and pine away for grief if I ignore them.

 

  This interchangeability of boys and women was widely taken for granted. Thus Xenophon remarks that when prisoners of war were ordered released, “the soldiers yielded obedience, except where some smuggler, prompted by desire of a good-looking boy or woman, managed to make off with his.  Similarly, when Plato argues in the Laws that it was possible for people to exercise sexual restraint, he recalls that the renowned athlete Ikkos of Taras “never had any connexion with a woman or a youth during the whole time of his training.

  To be sure, it was recognized that some men preferred women, and others, male partners. Atheneus, for example, remarked that “Alexander the Great was indifferent to women but passionate for males.” In Euripides’ play The Cyclops, Cyclops proclaims, “I prefer boys to Plato never married. The philosopher Bion (third century B.C.) advised against marriage and restricted his attention to his (male) pupils. The Stoic philosopher Zeno (late fourth and early third centuries BCE) was also known for his exclusive interest in boys.

  Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium explains these preferences by fantasizing that the ancestors of the human race had two pairs of arms and legs, two heads, and two sets of sexual organs. Some were double males, some double females, and some half male and half female. After the g-ds split the twins, their descendants sought, and continue to seek, reunion with the “missing half,” whether of the same or opposite sex. Since humans who preferred same-sex partners would still have had to reproduce heterosexually for the myth to explain same-sex preferences in the next generation, it is not so clear that Aristophanes’ explanation implies exclusive sexual choices. Still, it does presume specialized preferences.

  Hellenistic writers even imagined debates about the relative merits of male and female partners. Some argued that it made little difference. One of the characters in Plutarch’s Erotikos, or Dialogue on Love, argues that “the noble lover of beauty engages in love wherever he sees excellence and splendid natural endowment without regard for any difference in physiological detail.” He will be “fairly and equably disposed toward both sexes, instead of supposing that males and females are as different in the matter of love as they are in their clothes.” His interlocutors, however, have more definite tastes. So do the protagonists in Love, a sophistical treatise attributed to Lucian. Even here, though, the arguments in favor of boys or women largely concern the practical advantages of each. Moral considerations are never raised, and boy lovers win the debates as often as those who prefer women.

  In this sense, homosexuality and heterosexuality are treated as having equal status. Thus Athanaeus remarked that “Sophocles liked his young lads in the same way that Euripides liked his women.” As long as they were exercised in moderation, sexual preferences for boys or women did not become the basis for imputations of moral character or competence in other spheres of life.”

  Note that in most of these passages it is boys, not men, who are placed on an equal footing with women. This preference for youths stemmed from the intensely competitive individualism of Greek male culture.” Male competitiveness developed as clan structures broke down and property became privatized. It dominated aristocratic life everywhere except Sparta, where the kingship was hereditary, the senate of elders elected for life (minimizing rivalry for political office), and wealth distributed equally. Greek men were sensitive to status distinctions, and since status among the freeborn was not fixed, men vied for position.

  Preoccupation with status pervaded sexual culture to the point where the Greeks could not easily conceive of a relationship based on equality. Sex always involved superiority. Though The Interpretation of Dreams by Artemidorus Daldianus dates from the second century A. D., it reflects earlier attitudes on this score quite accurately. The section on sexual dreams indicates that having sexual intercourse with one’s servant, whether male or female, is good; for slaves are possessions of the dreamer, so that they signify, quite naturally, that the dreamer will derive pleasure from his possessions. . . . If a man is possessed by a richer, older man, it is good. For it is usual to receive things from such people. But to be possessed by someone who is either younger than oneself or destitute is unlucky. For it is usual to give things to such people. The same also holds true if the possessor is older but a beggar. . . . Possessing a brother, whether he is older or younger, is auspicious for the dreamer. For he will be on top of his brother and disdainful of him.  And whoever possesses his friend will become his enemy, since he will have injured his friend without provocation.”

  Submission was evidently not dishonorable when it was to someone whose social status was clearly superior, e.g., a rich older man. But when the partners were of similar social status (brother, friends), possession implied status derogation, and this was an insult. The Persian soldier who, on a red-figure vase painting, presents his behind to a sexually aroused Greek man is being humiliated by his captor.”

  Most men accommodated these status considerations by choosing a status inferior (a slave or prostitute), or a free younger partner, whose youth made him ineligible for military service or political office—hence someone who was not a rival. The idealized homosexual relationship thus involved an adult lover, usually between the ages of twenty and thirty (the erastes), and an eromenos or paidika, a prepubescent adolescent whose beard had not begun to grow. The relationship was ordinarily temporary, ending or becoming a nonsexual friendship when the youth reached maturity.

  Affairs between two adult men were less common, and were somewhat stigmatized, though not severely. Plato thought highly of those who love boys only when they begin to acquire some mind—a growth associated with that of down on their chins. For. . . those who begin to love them at this age are prepared to be always with them and share all with them as long as life shall last.”

 




Although the preceding quote was of extended length, I felt it necessary to include its' entirety for total context.  The subject matter depicts Greece as it was and perhaps still is to some extent.  Homosexuality has not vanished from various cultures in ages past but continues to date.  This abominable practice is still taught and held in high esteem among some perverted thinking individuals. 

Greece was the cultural standard for its' time.  The culture of Greece still holds superiority among many intellectual elitists.  Humans are prone to imitation.  The fashion of the day rules.  If homosexuality is considered acceptable, as it was in the Greek society, it will increase.  If the tone is "it's ok to be gay" and this evil practice continues to be promulgated to a copy-cat society, it will be accepted and prosper.  There are many individuals like those involved with Truth On The Net Dot Com, who condemn this abominable practice. 

It has been my intent to show the reading audience, the reasons for the destructions of various societies/cultures.  Most archaic societies were destroyed for abominations practiced within their culture. 

 

 Defile not yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you; and the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land vomits out her inhabitants. You therefore shall keep my statutes and my ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the home-born, nor the stranger that sojourns among you; (for all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you, and the land is defiled); that the land vomit not you out also, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall you keep my charge, that you practice not any of these abominable customs, which were practiced before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am Yahweh your Elohim. Leviticus 18:24-ff

 

Read this entire passage, and find out what abominations Almighty Yahweh is talking about.  There is nothing new under the sun.  The nations Israel inherited were defiled with their evil practices.  Even the animals had to be destroyed.  Wonder why?  Think about it!

I will end this part dealing with homosexuality in Greece. What's next? Stay tuned!

PART FOUR


Yours in Messiah Yahshua,  Hawke



 

 


 


 

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