Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pederasty in Ancient Greece

For a discussion of the topic please see:

The subject of Pederasty in ancient Greece came to my attention recently and caused me to reevaluate my thinking about bisexuality among men, while affirming my thinking on bisexuality as experienced and practiced by women.

Before reading about Pederasty in ancient Greece and based only on my observations of society in our times and in the recent past; I came to the conclusion that bisexuality is not only more prevalent among women than among men, but also perhaps more natural to their nature.

In the light of what I have learned about Pederasty, as practiced in ancient Greece by men and analogous behavior among women; it now seems to me that bisexuality is the norm for both sexes and will be the commonly practiced form of sexuality in the absence of societal pressures to be otherwise.

Note: Pederasty is not Pedophilia, even though it would not accord with ages of consent in conservative countries like the US. Herein we are discussing relationships between mature men and young men or adolescent boys, not between pubescent adults and pre-pubescent children, which I consider a gross form of abuse, wholly unnatural and thus a serious crime against nature.

Ancient Greece was a society in which Pederasty was not only considered normal or desirable, it was considered essential for the full development of the citizen. The Wikipedia article describes the phenomenon thusly: "The
erastes-eromenos (the older lover-young object of his love, my parentheses) relationship was fundamental to the Classical Greek social and educational system, had its own complex social-sexual etiquette and was an important social institution among the upper class."

We note a number of elements of ancient Greek Pederasty.

First, it was not an abusive relationship, but one of love. I mention this because today the definition of Pederasty includes any type of mature-youthful homosexual relationship, including violent and otherwise abusive ones.

It was tremendously widespread in ancient Greece, truly a societal norm, which assumed various forms in accordance with the various cultures of the various City-States.

Ancient Greek art depicts the
eromenoi (the term used for the "beloved" youth, the objects of love of the mature men) as physically well-developed. They are clearly fully sexually mature, quite muscularly developed and, admittedly in some but not all cases, in their full height.

The statues and art of ancient Greece teach us that neither the erastes nor the eromenos look "queer". They practiced homosexual relationships freely, but were very male in appearance, behavior, emotional make-up and thought patterns.

The Pederasty was in addition to, not instead of, relationships with women in which men were married and had children. As the Wikipedia article states: "The Greeks considered it normal for any man to be drawn to the beauty of a boy - just as much if not more than to that of a woman."

It is important to consider the implications of the fact that the practice was extremely widespread. It is impossible that an entire culture was based on an unnatural sexuality. That is to say, that in a culture in which homosexual expression of love is not forbidden, it will arise spontaneously, be widespread and exist side-by-side with heterosexual expression of love. The article also states: "Analogous relations between Greek women and adolescent girls have been reported by Plutarch, Xenophon and others." Bisexuality seems to be the norm for humans if not suppressed, that being, as I have (tentatively) concluded, as true for men as for women.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel