It is well-known that Ancient Greeks had a diferent sight over the sexuality issues. Why do I say this? Because eventhough they were excellent warriors, great at culture and astonishing at politics, their way of thinking was absolutly different to ours, or maybe to everyone who lives in the nowadays world, mostly referring to the topic we are going to have an insight into. This piece of work will be based mostly on Angelo di Berardino’s article (Angelo di Berardino (1997), Homosexuality in classical Antiquity (19 March 1997), in L’Osservatore Romano , p.10, Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://www.ewtn.com/library/humanity/homo2.htm).
But, what was actually this regard towards the theme? Well, they did not mistreat people for being homosexuals or heterosexuals, they did not even had that division. They had made differences between who had the active role and who the passive. The last one was considered to be the one of the weak, wimps . They were teased for not being active, in fact. Regularly, the active role was held by the oldest person and the other was entitled to the youngest. Or it may happened in another term such as owner-slave. From the first one might have derived the “paiderastia” meaning “boy love”. It was not truly regarded as a nasty happening, moreover, it was considered to be wealthy for the young man to be loved by an older human being. Furthermore, general knowledge states that ancient Greeks were not shy about their sexuality, or their preferences
In the military context, it was a “necessary” fact, because they were ruder than other soldiers because the military bodies were fulfilled by homosexual lovers, who would take care of a man better than another man? They used to fight with fierce, and when their love fell off the ground, they were even fiercer, stronger and less conscious of their handicaps. Everyone was afraid of them. Who would not? Actually, according to Pammenes’ opinion, according to Plutarch, was that:
- “Homer’s Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army when he advised the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe… he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the same tribe little value one another when dangers press; but a band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken.”
A funny state to tell regarding the situation we are living nowadays towards the homosexuals, is that these people who were in fact homosexuals, were assimilated as strong and very virile people. “Weird”, huh?
Romans were far more against this way of behave and it took them quite longer to accept those kind of feelings. But, afterwards, they completely changed their mind if we regard the point that one out of twelve emperors of the Roman Empire, just one of them liked only women, and he was deeply teased for that. About the Caesar there were some rumors which told that he might be the husband of every woman, but the wife of every man. Everything changed, though, with the breaking entrance of the Christianity in both worlds. So this leads me to a question, is religion the cause of our prejudices agains this? Has it something to do with it? Or does not it?
But, what about women? Were they as free as men? Well, we know barely a few details about their situation in the past, if there were as many lesbians as men who liked men. We do not know it for sure, but there are states which tell us that in fact they existed, and Sappho wrote it down on her poems. But it was not socially admited, they were chased and teased. Generally speaking, women were kept in the household to procreate, take care of children and do the housework. Gods, they were just a step before the slaves! And they were not allowed to have more than one lover, her own husband, so if they were caught with another man they may had been put to death.
- My question is, have we really changed? How and how far?
- Wikipedia (2013) Homosexuality in ancient Greece. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Greece
- Hein van Dolen (2013) Greek homosexuality. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://www.livius.org/ho-hz/homosexuality/homosexuality.html
- James Davidson, The Guardian, (2007) Mad about the boy. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/nov/10/history.society
- Wikipedia (2013) Homosexuality in the militaries of ancient Greece. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_the_militaries_of_ancient_Greece
- Wikipedia (2013) Homosexuality in ancient Rome. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Rome
- Angelo di Berardino (1997) Christian Anthropology and Homosexuality: homosexuality in Classical Antiquity. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013 from http://www.ewtn.com/library/humanity/homo2.htm