Imagining Men: Ideals of Masculinity in Ancient Greek Culture (Praeger Series on the Ancient World)

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As the 5th century begins, he has become smaller and slighter, "barely pubescent", and often draped as a girl would be. No inferences about social customs should be based on this element of the courtship scene alone. There are many pederastic references among the works of the Megaran poet Theognis addressed to Cyrnus Greek Kyrnos. Some portions of the Theognidean corpus are probably not by the individual from Megara, but rather represent "several generations of wisdom poetry ". The poems are "social, political, or ethical precepts transmitted to Cyrnus as part of his formation into an adult Megarian aristocrat in Theognis' own image".

The relationship between Theognis and Kyrnos eludes categorization.

Although it was assumed in antiquity that Kyrnos was the poet's eromenos , the poems that are most explicitly erotic are not addressed to him; the poetry [70] on "the joys and sorrows" of pederasty seem more apt for sharing with a fellow erastes , perhaps in the setting of the symposium: "the relationship, in any case, is left vague. The poetic traditions of Ionia and Aeolia featured poets such as Anacreon , Mimnermus and Alcaeus , who composed many of the sympotic skolia that were to become later part of the mainland tradition. Ibycus came from Rhegium in the Greek west and entertained the court of Polycrates in Samos with pederastic verses.

By contrast with Theognis, these poets portray a version of pederasty that is non-pedagogical, focused exclusively on love and seduction. Theocritus , a Hellenistic poet, describes a kissing contest for youths that took place at the tomb of a certain Diocles, renowned for friendship; he notes that invoking Ganymede was proper to the occasion.

Imagining Men: Ideals of Masculinity in Ancient Greek Culture

Vase paintings and references to the eromenos's thighs in poetry [75] indicate that when the pederastic couple engaged in sex acts, the preferred form was intercrural. There are no known visual depictions of anal sex between pederastic couples, though this does not prove the behavior did not occur. The composition of these scenes is the same as that for depictions of women mounting men who are seated and aroused for intercourse. A man who acted as the receiver during anal intercourse may have been the recipient of the insult "kinaidos", meaning effeminate.

The eromenos is also said to have a desire "similar to the erastes', albeit weaker, to see, to touch, to kiss and to lie with him". The nature of this relationship is in dispute among ancient sources and modern historians, but it seems Spartan views on pederasty and homoeroticism were much more austere than those of other parts of Greece. According to Xenophon , a relationship "association" between a man and a boy could be tolerated, but only if it was based around friendship and love and not solely around physical, sexual attraction, in which case it was considered "an abomination" tantamount to incest.

Thomas F. Scanlon believes Sparta , during its Dorian polis time, is thought to be the first city to practice athletic nudity , and one of the first to formalize pederasty. Megara cultivated good relations with Sparta, and may have been culturally attracted to emulate Spartan practices in the 7th century, when pederasty is postulated to have first been formalized in Dorian cities. In Athens, as elsewhere, pederastia appears to have been a characteristic of the aristocracy. In Thebes , the main polis in Boeotia , renowned for its practice of pederasty, the tradition was enshrined in the founding myth of the city.

Another Boeotian pederastic myths are the stories of Narcissus and of Heracles and Iolaus. According to Plutarch, Theban pederasty was instituted as an educational device for boys in order to "soften, while they were young, their natural fierceness, and to "temper the manners and characters of the youth". Boeotian pottery, in contrast to that of Athens, does not exhibit the three types of pederastic scenes identified by Beazley.

The limited survival and cataloguing of pottery that can be proven to have been made in Boeotia diminishes the value of this evidence in distinguishing a specifically local tradition of paiderastia. The ethical views held in ancient societies, such as Athens , Thebes , Crete , Sparta , Elis and others, on the practice of pederasty have been explored by scholars only since the end of the 19th century. One of the first to do so was John Addington Symonds , who wrote his seminal work A Problem in Greek Ethics in , but after a private edition of 10 copies only in could the work really be published, in revised form.

The text examines homoerotic practices of all types, not only pederastic ones, and ranges over cultures spanning the whole globe. Mainstream Ancient Greek studies however had historically omitted references of the widespread practice of homosexuality. Forster 's novel Maurice makes reference to modern European ambivalence toward this aspect of ancient Greek culture in a scene where a Cambridge professor, leading a group of students in translating an ancient Greek text says, "Omit the reference to the unspeakable vice of the Greeks.

Mitchell wrote: "This aspect of Greek morals is an extraordinary one, into which, for the sake of our equanimity, it is unprofitable to pry too closely". It would not be until and K. Dover 's book Greek Homosexuality , that the topic would be widely and frankly discussed. Dover's work triggered a number of debates which still continue.

Other scholars point to artwork on vases, poetry and philosophical works such as the Platonic discussion of anteros , "love returned", all of which show tenderness and desire and love on the part of the eromenos matching and responding to that of the erastes. Halperin's position has been criticized as a "persistently negative and judgmental rhetoric implying exploitation and domination as the fundamental characteristics of pre-modern sexual models" and challenged as a polemic of "mainstream assimilationist gay apologists" and an attempt to "demonize and purge from the movement" all non-orthodox male sexualities, especially that involving adults and adolescents.

As classical historian Robin Osborne has pointed out, historical discussion of paiderastia is complicated by 21st-century moral standards:. It is the historian's job to draw attention to the personal, social, political and indeed moral issues behind the literary and artistic representations of the Greek world.

The historian's job is to present pederasty and all, to make sure that … we come face to face with the way the glory that was Greece was part of a world in which many of our own core values find themselves challenged rather than reinforced. Category:LGBT culture. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.

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Home FAQ Contact. Pederasty in ancient Greece Wikipedia open wikipedia design. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. September Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Dover Greek Homosexuality. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. See also George Boys-Stones, "Eros in Government: Zeno and the Virtuous City," Classical Quarterly 48 , — "there is a certain kind of sexual relationship which was considered by many Greeks to be very important for the cohesion of the city: sexual relations between men and youths.

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Magill bibliographies. Kimmel goes so far as to suggest that, in developing markers of masculinity and its stages of development, '[s ]ocial science operationalized sexism, racism, and homophobia and called it masculinity' Kimmel Wetteren, Belgium: Editions NR, Gantz, Timothy. Cambridge, U. New York: Scribner's, Throughout the text, Jesus is described more in terms of an adult male than a child.

Such relationships were taken to play such an important role in fostering cohesion where it mattered — among the male population — that Lycurgus even gave them official recognition in his constitution for Sparta" p. Jeanmaire and R. Willetts pp. Kenneth Dover , a pioneer in the study of Greek homosexuality, rejects the initiation theory of origin; see "Greek Homosexuality and Initiation," in Que e rying Religion: A Critical Anthology Continuum, , pp.

For Dover, it seems, the argument that Greek paiderastia as a social custom was related to rites of passage constitutes a denial of homosexuality as natural or innate; this may be to overstate or misrepresent what the initiatory theorists have said.

Search Options Imagining Men: Ideals of Masculinity in Ancient Greek Culture ( Praeger Series on the Ancient World) (): Thomas Van Nortwick: . Editorial Reviews. Review. "Van Nortwick's conclusions are thoughtful and well argued. Imagining Men: Ideals of Masculinity in Ancient Greek Culture ( Praeger Series on the Ancient World) - Kindle edition by Thomas Van Nortwick.

The initiatory theory claims to account not for the existence of ancient Greek homosexuality in general but rather for that of formal paiderastia. For a more cynical view of the custom, see the comedies of Aristophanes, e. Wealth A Problem in Greek Ethics. Davis, , 3rd ed. A diachronic view' in Sex in Antiquity: exploring gender and sexuality in the ancient world , eds. Gloria Ferrari, however, notes that there were conventions of age pertaining to sexual activity, and if a man violated these by seducing a boy who was too young to consent to becoming an eromenos , the predator might be subject to prosecution under the law of hubris ; Figures of Speech: Men and Maidens in Ancient Greece University of Chicago Press, , pp.

For surveys and reference works within the study of ancient culture and history, see for instance The World of Athens: An Introduction to Classical Athenian Culture , a publication of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers Cambridge University Press, , , pp. Friedman and Jennifer I. Anne L. Nuances of age also discussed by Ferrari, Figures of Speech , pp. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Horden, ed.

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New York: St. See pp. Hostile criticism of psychoanalytical theory by an authoritative classical scholar. Mullahy, Patrick. New York: Grove Press, An excellent survey. Schneiderman, Leo. The Psychology of Myth, Folklore, and Religion. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, New York: Fawcett Columbine, The major goddesses considered as types, with a bibliography of novels and plays and a list of movies on video , identifying characters that embody these types.

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Bacchilega, Cristina. Gender and Narrative Strategies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, The representation of women in four classic fairytales and postmodern revisions in literature and film. Clark, G. Women in the Ancient World. Greece and Rome Surveys New York: Oxford University Press, Davidson, James. New York: Random House, Doherty, Lillian E.

Gender and the Interpretation of Classical Myth. London: Duckworth, Dover, K. Greek Homosexuality.