|only_gremo (only_gremo) wrote in slashy_hotness,|
@ 2007-10-07 17:09:00
|Current music:||Man must dance - Johnossi|
|Entry tags:||discourse: book, historical|
Homosexuality in ancient Greece
Sometimes it's strange: You live your daily life and have special interests, say slash. Then there comes along one film, which you haven't seen in cinema, because you watched the trailer and it was urgh. One day however your interest guides you back to this film and whoops, you are anxious to collect more and more knowledge on the films content.
That's what happened to me, when I watched "Alexander". I don't want to be monotonous, I know that I already posted about the film and all. Also, it's really not the film that's highly interesting, but the time it plays in. What do we now about that epoch? How come an ancient society accepted the relationship between two men or two women? Why don't I know anything about this stuff from my history lessons?
So many questions and no answers. But I am not a slash fan and student for nothing. So I went to my university's library and did some research to satisfy my curiosity. I found a nice book, which has some answers in it: "Bisexuality in the Ancient World" by Eva Cantarella.
For example there is one chapter about the beginnings of homosexuality in Greece. Well, it doesn't show why homosexuality occured in ancient Greek society, but it tries to find reasons for the development.
One reason mentioned is the close companionship. Greece in it's old days was very much influenced by it's military activities. Men had to trust other men, because they fought side by side in battle. Also the ideals of that epoch correlated with the masculine virtues (loyalty, strength,...). Researcher H.I. Marrou even affiliated the absence of women (in this military structure) with the tendency to built homosexual relationships.
Yeppa, we already know it all from military slash, don't we? Groups of men, companions, everyone wants to shag (for example in the middle of the desert [Jarhead] or in the dark Mines of Moria [LotR]). Closeness, strength, danger and tension! Did Marrou know fandom?
Eva Cantarella does not completely go with his arguments though. She says it's not the absence of women that led to homosexuality, because the inaccessibility of women is not true for all ages in ancient Greek. In fact, she times the origins of Greek homosexuality much earlier than Marrou's definition does, back to a time, when the community wasn't organised politically, but based on age categories.
In this tribal times the boy had to undergo a ritual or initiation to become a men, an accepted member of the community. The initiation itself meant segregation from the community for some time. But the boy was not completely alone. He was educated by an elder man, who taught the boy the virtues he needed to be an adult. The teacher himself was not only educator but also lover. Am I paranoid or does this somehow sound like the Padawan system of Star Wars?
There's one passage about Crete. Adult men (so called 'lovers' or erastai) kidnapped the adolescent (eromenoi) they loved and took them away for 2 month there. In this time both men built up a relationship, which was specified by the law. After the period of segregation the young man was presented with a military kit and could return home. He had become an adult.
Sparta had a similar system. When boys turned twelve, an older man took care of them and taught them how to be a Spartan. That's so definitely pederasty! (Spartans in "300", I am sure now, each of them did it!)
The most amusing part in the text I read was the quote of an inscription. In Thera (today called Santorini) a rock wall with inscriptions was discovered and there stands:
'here Krimon had anal intercourse with his pais [his boy], the brother of Bathycles'*