History of Homosexual: Ancient Greece
How we from being happily accept in society to being hate and have to fight for equality? Let start begin in the ancient world work our way to the source of the problem.
The Ancient Greece
"The noble lover of beauty engages in love wherever he sees excellence and splendid natural endowment without regard for any difference in physiological detail." - Plutarch
The ancient Greeks are widely known for their gay exploits. Many people are aware of Greek homosexual love poetry, the same-sex relations of Greek gods and heroes, and the gay relationship between Alexander the Great and Hephaestion.
It is important in the beginning to define our vocabulary. The term ’homosexuality’ as it is used and understood today is not mainly applicable to Greek of ancient times for three reasons: First of all, most Greeks were bisexual. Second, homosexuality and 'gay' as sexual identities are recent developments. They were emerged only in the 2Oth Century (our idea of what it means to be gay or a homosexual has largely been influenced by recent gay activism and the emergence of gay rights on the cultural landscape). Last, and most important of all, passion and erotic love between two adult men (the model for modern gay relationships), was generally considered unusual and held up to ridicule except the military and slaves. Homosexual love in Greece was love between a man and a boy (teenager age 13-18).
Institutionalized homosexuality is the answer, and a most fabulous arrangement it was as well. It was ancient Greek practice for a young man, the eromenos - the beloved, to continue his education under the guidance of an older unmarried man, the erastes - the lover. Don’t get me wrong, these older men weren’t very old, most of them were in their twenties, and all were pretty fit looking. The tradition was that after a few years as an eromenos, when the youth were deemed to have reached maturity and he took on a young lad of his own to nurture, thus becoming an erastes. He might work his way through four or five of these young lads, depended on how keen he were on that sort of thing; but eventually he were expected to get a wife and pump out a few kids.
Some erastes restricted themselves to a bit of groping, casual flirtation, that sort of thing. But the majority liked to get their end away; and quite rightly so. What was the point of taking on a young lad if you didn’t fuck him every day? Officially it was viewed as unmanly to take it up the ass, so penetrative sex between these formalized gay couples was rather frowned upon by old folk. Instead, they engaged in non-penetrative sex which usually involved fucking the lad between his thighs.
Besides their physical charm, youths were also valued for their minds, held to be especially capable of reason and debate and therefore meant to be cultivated. Thus homosexual love was the driving force not only of the sexual but also of the educational side of Greek pederasty. Ancient culture was male oriented through and through. To the Greek man, his spouse counted mostly as mother of his children and keeper of his household. With very few exceptions women (and royal family wives in particular) were excluded from intellectual and public life. Girls were considered capable only of chitchat, and unworthy of education.
The aim of the Greek educational system, the paideia, was summed up by the words: kalos k’agathos, “beautiful and good”, meaning that beauty of body and goodness of soul were the essence of human specifically male perfection. Homosexual love between men and youths striving together to develop these virtues was seen as the most effective way to cultivate that ideal.
It was said that even Herakles (Hercules) could perform his mighty deeds with more ease when his beloved Iolaus watched him. It was in commemoration of their union that the Iolaeia, gymnastic and equestrian games, were celebrated in Thebes.