Greek Homosexuality
HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE BIBLE
Jonathan and David Series, Supplement

By Bruce L. Gerig

Turning to ancient Greek history, one finds it divided into the Archaic Period (800-500 BC); Classical Period (500-400 BC); Late Classical Period (400-323 BC), ending with the death of Alexander the Great; and Hellenistic Age (323-30 BC)―this whole period following several centuries after David’s reign in Israel (1005-975 BC).    Still, the friendship of David and Jonathan has been compared in the past to that of Achilles and Patroclus in Homer’s The Iliad and to that of Alexander and Hephaestion,1 since both the Hebrew and Greek civilizations shared a “common East Mediterranean heritage” (Gordon).2    However, note should also be taken of homosexuality that existed in the earlier Mycenaean civilization, centered in Greece (2000-1200 BC) and spread to the island of Crete (cf. the “Chieftain Cup,” ca. 1575 BC).3    Recently a new study of The Greeks and Greek Love (2007) has appeared by James Davidson, a professor of ancient history at the University of Warwick, England, which offers an important reappraisal of Greek homosexuality.    This article will present a summary of his ideas, along with references to other scholarly views and Greek texts, to discover what light Greek homosexuality might shed on the Jonathan and David story.     

General interpretative issues.    Davidson writes that although the Greeks were hesitant to detail their intimate sexual acts, many classicists today hold that anal sex was the primary goal in their same-sex relations.    For these scholars, an erastēs was not a “love-struck admirer” but rather an “aggressive male who pursues and penetrates boys.”4  This is the wrong emphasis, Davidson claims, for Greek pottery seems to show that what males preferred in the most intimate of sexual situations was intercrural sex (diamērion = “through the thighs”), with both figures standing up.5    Greek Love was not always about sex, but was “all about love, love, love”—although Davidson quickly adds, “I have never met anyone, outside modern Greece, at least, who believes that the [ancient] Greek men just held hands.”6    Scenes of actual homosexual copulation are exceedingly rare, although numerous scenes display genital touching and imminent rubbing between bodies.7    In Kenneth Dover’s Greek Homosexuality (1978), figure B114 depicts two males engaged in intercrural sex, R243 displays a group sex scene including one male who rubs his penis between the buttocks of two other males, and R954 shows a boy climbing atop another boy, seated and with an erection, for some sort of sexual action.8    Davidson notes that the last scene looks like a male brothel.9    Still, a Symposium Scene by the Pedieus Painter (ca. 520-505 BC, Louvre Museum) shows a bearded man anally penetrating a beardless youth, surrounded by multiple scenes of fellatio;10 and another kylix (flat wine cup, ca. 480 BC, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), by Douris, also shows a bearded man penetrating a boy from behind, who has bent over.11    Further, Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman notes that intercrural copulation, popularly suggested on pottery, is rarely referred to in literature, while the literary evidence portrays same-sex pairs as primarily engaging in anal intercourse.    Also, it is difficult to imagine healthy youths always keeping a flaccid penis (as depicted in pottery scenes) as their pursuers fondle them, even though the erōmenos was theoretically not supposed to enjoy a sexual encounter with an older male.    Moreover, the pottery never shows two males reclining together for sexual activity, although the literary evidence suggests that this was not uncommon.12   Marilyn Skinner suggests that images of sexually involved men on pottery were restricted to intercrural scenes because penetration was viewed as dishonoring a free youth.    Therefore, these are “ideal” scenes.13    Perhaps intercrural sex functioned as a kind of euphemism for anal sex (Hupperts).14 

In fact, Greek Love is one of the “knottiest subjects” a modern historian can tackle.15    Davidson takes the best from Michel Foucault (sexuality is always culture-particular) while rejecting the worst (homosexuality did not exist prior to the 19th century); 16 and one of his major contributions in The Greeks and Greek Love is to distinguish between Greek Love or “homosexuality,” strong same-sex desire in ancient Greece, and “Homosexualities,” those “peculiar and specific same-sex ways” that became associated with Athens, Sparta, Crete, Elis, Thebes, and other autonomous city-states and places in the larger Greek world and at different times between the 8th-4th centuries BC—where one finds erōs (sexual desire) displayed variously as self-sacrificing, playful, patriotic, hungry for knowledge, admiring of boyish beauty, whorish, squalid and seductive.17    Foucault argued that Dover showed that, on the one hand, the Greeks “had no notion of it [homosexuality] . . . , and, on the other hand, they had no experience of it.    A person who slept with another of the same sex did not feel homosexual.    That seems to me fundamental” (Foucault).18    However, people without a word for “green” still distinguished this color from other colors (Davidson); and the ancients knew what “gravity” was without knowing Newton’s term (Boswell).19    Likewise, the Greeks knew what homosexual love was, without the adjective “homosexual.”    At the same time, this does not mean that they perceived or experienced gay love exactly like today.20    As John Boswell noted, “[T]he homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy is crude and imprecise,” yet it does “correspond to types of actions and feelings which can be distinguished by this criterion” in human experience.21    In fact, Davidson notes that what is so interesting about all of the forms of Greek Homosexualities, in different places, is how they combine basic elements of ‘ordinary’ homosexuality, including falling in love, pursuing someone, having sex, and becoming a couple in certain cases.    Thus the Greeks localized something that was universal, conventionalized something that was natural, and socialized something that was intensely personal.22    Greek Love is difficult to understand because sometimes the ancient texts seem to approve of it, even celebrate it, while at other times they appear very anxious and condemning toward it.23    At first glance it may seem like the superhuman Heracles (Latin: Hercules), who performed the Twelve Labors, and Iolaus, his constant companion, were just best friends, engaged in a brotherly kind of love; yet later Theban same-sex couples take Heracles and Iolaus as models for their own relationships, which are clearly sexual.    As Charles Huppert notes, all of the Greek gods (except for Ares, the god of war) fell in love with young men; and Greek mythology also contained numerous stories about heroes and demigods who pursued youths (e.g., Heracles, Laius, Orpheus, Minos, Tantalus, and Meleager).24 

Achilles and Patroclus.    Homer (8th century BC) mentions no nights of passion between Achilles and Patroclus at the Trojan War (ca. 1200 BC); yet much of later antiquity, including Aeschylus (Myrmidons frag. 135-136), Aeschines (Against Timarchus 142), Athenaeus (13, 601A), Plutarch (Erotikos 751C), Philostratus (Epistles 5, 8), Lucian (Amores 54), Athenaeus (13.601), and Martial (11.44), thought that they were lovers.25    For example, Aeschylus (ca. 525-ca. 456 BC) in his tragedy Myrmidons has Achilles rebuking Patroclus for getting himself killed and not showing more “reverence for awesome thighs, oh how ungrateful you proved for kisses thick and fast”—thighs that earlier had been involved in “god-fearing intercourse” (Aeschylus frags. 135-137 Radt).26    Then Plato (ca. 429-ca. 347 BC) has Phaedrus say that “Aeschylus talks nonsense when he claims that Achilles was the lover [erastēs]; because he was more beautiful than Patroclus, more beautiful than all the heroes, and still beardless.    Besides he was much younger, as Homer says” (Plato, Symposium 180a Nehamas and Woodruff; cf. Iliad 11.785-787).27    So, the younger Achilles was viewed as the erastēs (pursuing lover), with his attendant the older Patroclus being the erōmenos (beloved one), even though Athenian Greek Love held that the erastēs should always be the older partner. 

Although Homer mentions no sexual intimacies, the love of Achilles for Patroclus is central to the plot of the Iliad; and his grief over Patroclus’s death provides the emotionally intense conclusion of the poem.28    The champion Achilles, miffed at Agamemnon, leader of the Greek expedition to Troy, refuses to fight until his companion Patroclus is killed by the Trojan prince Hector.    When Achilles hears of Patroclus’s death, he heaps dust on his head and sobs so uncontrollably that Antilochus, the messenger bringing the news, grabs the hero’s hands for fear that Achilles might kill himself (Iliad 18.19-35).    When Thetis, Achilles’ mother, hears her son crying, she comes from the sea depths to see what is wrong (18.36-77); and Achilles tells her, “[M]y dearest companion is dead, Patroclus, who was more to me that any other of my men, whom I loved as much as my own life . . . . [Now] I have no wish to live” (18.81-82, 91-92 Rieu).   Later Achilles says to his dead companion: “Oh, Patroclus, my heart’s delight! . . . How often you yourself, my most unhappy and beloved companion, have set a delicious meal before me in this hut, with speed and skill . . . . Not that I lack it [food].    I lack you” (19.288, 315-317, 320-321 Rieu).    Mourning for his “dear companion,” he refuses to eat (19.345-346 Rieu).    Then Achilles goes on a rampage (chapter 20) and kills Hector (chapter 22); and returning camp, he hosts a funeral feast to honor Patroclus (23.25-30), and afterward falls asleep.    The ghost of Patroclus appears to him, with “the same lovely eyes and same clothes as those he used to wear” (23.64-69 Rieu).    He asks Achilles to bury their bones together, which Achilles agrees to do (23.82-85, 94-96).    (As Boswell notes, mixing bones together in a funeral urn was normally reserved for married couples.29)    Then Achilles asks, “But come nearer to me now, so that we can hold each other in our arms,” but when Achilles reaches forth his arms, nothing is there (23.96-99 Rieu).    En route to the funeral bier, Achilles cradles Patroclus’s head in his hands (23.136-138), just as Andromache, wife of the slain Hector, will later do with her husband (24.722-724).    After the funeral cremation, Achilles began to weep again “for his dear companion whom he could not banish from his mind.”    Sleep eluded him, and he “tossed and turned from side to side, always thinking of his loss, of Patroclus’ manliness and spirit” (24.3-7 Rieu).    When Thetis appears to Achilles again, she asks, “My child, how much longer are you going to eat your heart out in lamentation and misery, forgetful even of food and bed?    It must be a good thing to make love to a woman . . .” (24.128-131 Rieu, italics added).    Here Achilles cannot sleep, “longing for Patroclus’s manliness and spunk [menos]” (24.6-7 Davidson).    Davidson notes that while menos in the broader sense can mean “courage, mettle,” a long text by Archilochus (frag. 196a.52 and Solon frag. 9.1) shows that it can also refer to “semen” (in Britain “spunk” is used as a euphemism for “semen”30).   Scholars have objected, calling such a reading ‘cheap’—yet Thetis’s suggestion, “It is good to have loving intercourse even with a woman” (24.130 Davidson) can only refer to sexual intercourse; and this most logically points back to Achilles’ earlier tossing and turning in bed, yearning for Patroclus’s menos (sexual love).31    One cannot help but notice Achilles’ constant embracing and touching of Patroclus’s dead body:32 when Thetis finds him, he lies holding Patroclus (19.4); and later he lays his hands on his chest (23.18), implores his ghost to embrace him (23.96-97), and fondles Patroclus’s head (23.136-137).33 

A number of parallels can be seen here between Achilles and Patroclus’s relationship and that of David and Jonathan.    Although Homer does not describe the handsome physical features of Achilles (as is done with David, 1 Sam 16:12, etc.), he does mention Patroclus’s “lovely eyes” (23.67 Rieu); and the repeated references to the “godlike Achilles” (1.122, 131; 9.199, 485; 17.402, etc. Rieu) surely point to his superhuman muscular body, just as Gilgamesh earlier was praised for displaying “manly vigor,” being “seductively gorgeous,” and having a “mightier strength” than any other man (I 236-238 Epic of Gilgamesh Foster, p. 10).    At least, Plato and Phaedrus (above) saw Achilles as “more beautiful than all the heroes.”    Yet, it is only after one in each pair dies that the depth and primacy of their love becomes clear.    As W. M. Clarke notes, “Achilles’s grief is hysterical, his breakdown appalling, his sense of loss unhealed and unending . . . .”34    Achilles cries out to the dead Patroclus, “O Patroclus, my heart’s delight!    Oh, my misery . . . . [my] beloved companion” (19.288, 315-316 Rieu), and he calls him “my dearest companion . . . whom I loved as much as my own life” (18.80-82 Rieu), which recall David’s tender words in his eulogy spoken to the dead Jonathan, calling him “my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved [na‘im, or ‘delightful’35] were you to me; your love to me was wonderful” (2 Sam 1:26 NRSV), along with the Biblical narrator’s earlier words explaining how Jonathan “loved him [David] as his own soul [nephesh, or ‘life’36]” (1 Sam 18:1 NRSV).    Then there is the contrast in both cases of their same-sex love being ‘better’ than heterosexual love—noted when Achilles’ mother urges him to find solace in heterosexual sex while instead he dreams of the sex he had with Patroclus (24.5-7, 128-132), just as David recalls how the wonderful “love” and sex he had with Jonathan surpassed all heterosexual love and sex that he had known (2 Sam 1:26c).

At the same time, all four heroes on occasion have sex with women.    Homer notes this specifically with both Achilles and Patroclus (9.663-668); and David, after leaving Jonathan, will sometimes display strong feelings for women (2 Sam 11:2-5), although he often took wives for political gain; and Jonathan will take a wife after David leaves (2 Sam 4:4), finally giving in to his father’s unrelenting insistence (1 Sam 20:30-31).    Achilles never marries (most men under forty in ancient Greece would still have been unmarried);37 instead, Patroclus becomes the center of Achilles’ life, just as Jonathan becomes the center of David’s early life, totally sidelining his wife Michal.    Yet, intimate sexual relations between the male partners are only hinted at in subterfuge ways:    The distraught Achilles yearned for Patroclus’s menos (semen), while David in his emotional parting scene finally sunteleias magalēs . . . uperebalen (‘exceeded unto a great finale’ [van der Pool], i.e., came to an ejaculation, 1 Sam 20:40 Septuagint).    Usually the champion Achilles takes the lead, giving instructions to Patroclus, e.g., to lay out food or run errands (9.202-220, 620-623; 11.611-617), although Patroclus, still a manly warrior, will later fight bravely and give his life for Achilles.    In 1 Samuel Prince Jonathan usually takes the lead, although David later shows masterful leadership in obtaining the throne and Jerusalem.    Homer appears to have made up a novel name, “Cleopatra,” for Meleager’s wife, which most scholars believe is an inversion of and hidden reference to “Patroclus” (kleopatra = patra-kleo = patroklos).    However, in contrast to the lovely “Cleopatra” (9.556) who keeps Meleager (another hero in the Iliad) away from battle for her bed, Patroclus goes out readily to fight in place of Achilles.38    Likewise, David uses a secretive code-word in his eulogy, sebi (“gazelle,” 2 Sam 1:19, cf. v. 25), which most scholars believe alludes primarily to Jonathan—who was agile in battle, handsome in form, and really the main subject of David’s grief, love and tribute.    Of course, there are many differences, as well, between the relationship of David and Jonathan and that of Achilles and Patroclus:    The former story gives fewer and briefer details, covering only a few months of sharing time together, and with little evidence of a culture that honored homosexual pairing (yoking).    And, with the latter pair, there is no covenant made, no great eulogy recorded, and no calling and preparation of the main character for a larger spiritual mission.

Other wedded male couples.    Not only did Homer place the devoted intimacy between Achilles and Patroclus at the heart of the Iliad (ca. 700 BC),39 but same-sex couples remained prominent throughout the ancient Greek period.40    Diocles, from Corinth and victor of the stadion in 728 BC (a foot race of ca. 200 meters, the most prestigious event at the Olympics), eloped with Philolaus, his lover from Thebes, to escape his mother’s incestuous passion.    This couple may be the oldest known ‘historical’ homosexual couple in Greece.41    Wedded couples, the oldest manifestations of Greek love, also include Heracles and Iolaus, his little helper, who appear ca. 700 BC together on Boeotian brooches (ornaments fastened to clothing),42 Boeotia referring to the region around Thebes.    Iolaus, pictured both as a youth and a bearded man, helps Heracles especially with the difficult Labor of killing the many-headed, snaky Hydra of the Lerna marshes.43    Heracles had numerous male lovers (as well as women), although the one most closely linked to him was Iolaus from Thebes.    Later, male Theban couples visit Heracles’ tomb and exchange oaths of love and loyalty (Plutarch, Erotikus 761d).    Iolaus was also offered sacrifices, together with Heracles, at Marathon, a city located ca. 20 miles NE of Athens.44    Xenophon (ca. 453-ca. 354 BC) spoke of Boeotian men being “yoked together,” using syzygenetes, a word for heterosexual “marriage” (suzeugnumi = “to yoke together,” syzygy = “a yoked pair”).45    Other same-sex couples include the Athenian city steward Leodamas and “his wife Hegesander” (Aeschines, Against Timarchus 110-111), the founders of Athenian democracy Harmodius and Aristogiton, and Sappho and her “yoke-mates.”    What especially characterized same-sex yoking was the exchanging of oaths, which automatically made these pairs comparable to heterosexual married couples.46 

In 4th-century Athens, Socrates in Phaedrus describes two males who, though they do not take the higher road (of divine love) and instead ‘consummate’ their love and go on “doing this for the rest of their lives,” even after “they have passed beyond it [sex],” because they have exchanged “such firm vows,” they will not be “sent into darkness” in the afterlife, but their lives will be “bright and happy as they travel together . . .” (256b-e).47    In Crete committed male relationships came into being through an abduction ceremony.48    In Sparta men contracting a same-sex relationship were responsible for the behavior of their erōmenoi (beloveds), which means that these relationships were recognized by the authorities.49    In Thebes the erastēs (lover) often gave his youthful partner a one-and-only gift of weapons at his coming of age.    Since opposite-sex marriages were often arranged by families without any wooing or courting, these same-sex weddings, based on falling in love, were more like modern Western marriages.50    One can see common elements here and in Jonathan and David’s relationship, including the taking over of common words for heterosexual marriage, with syzygy (a yoked pair, marriage) and berit (a covenant, pact, marriage alliance).51    Also, as with Greek male yoking, it is Jonathan’s falling in love with David which leads to their sharing life-long oaths and pledges (1 Sam 20:16-17,42; 23:17-18).    The Biblical story also contains a gift of weapons presented to David as a youth entering manhood (1 Sam 18:4).    One Wedding Pyxis, a mid-6th century, three-legged box from Athens52 (University of Mississippi Museum) pictures on its separate legs three kinds of Greek wedding scenes: a bride unveiling herself to her husband, two women sharing a single cloak, and two pairs of standing males having intercrural sex.53      

Greek Homosexuality in Athens, in the region of Attica. Usually when scholars write about Greek homosexuality, they focus on Athenian Homosexuality, since so many important literary texts and images come from Attica.    First, it should be noted that people in the past, especially before 1800, reached puberty about 4-5 years later than now, with probably diet as a major factor.54    Also, although the ancient Greeks seemed not to remember birthdates that well, they were an age-class society.    According to the Athenian Constitution, written by a pupil of Aristotle, citizenship was given to youths when they “seem to have reached” the age of Eighteen (Athenaiōn Politeia 42,1-2).55    Scholars have differed over the age of a meirakion (Davidson: Stripling); however, Davidson agrees with Kenneth Dover, S. C. Todd, and Waldemar Heckel that in classical Athens this probably referred to an Eighteen- or Nineteen-year-old.56    Young males were divided up into: (1) Under-Eighteens: Boys (paides); (2) Eighteens and Nineteens: Striplings or Cadets (meirakia, neaniskoi); and (3) Twenties and older (andres), which included Twenties to Twenty-Nines, and the Thirties and over, the Seniors (presbutai).57    However, the term pais (boy) could be applied to any male under twenty; and a paiderastēs (admirer of boys) was interested in this range.    Eighteens and Nineteens were generally considered “not properly bearded,” which meant that they were still smooth-cheeked or they had just begun to show the first fuzz on their cheeks.    Unlike the Romans, the Greeks did not shave their beards.58 

Davidson notes that Greek had a range of words for “love” which sometimes produced a “high degree of ambivalence” and a “minefield of possible misunderstandings,” including philia (intimate love, but Skinner: friendship59) and erōs (the love drive).60    Agapē (fondness) could include a sexual relationship, or not.61    Pothos (longing) was a yearning when the love-object was absent, and himeros (a sudden urge) when the love-object was present (cf. Socrates, in Plato’s Cratylus).62    Contrasted with Aphrodite, who embodied desire for women, the god Eros had special jurisdiction over Love for Boys; and erōs (wanting the pleasure of something, usually sexual) could knock your life off track, rob you of common sense, and keep you up at night, driving you mad—although in a broader sense erōs was sometimes applied to a hunger for food, dance, sleep or war (cf. Homer).    Context was everything.63    Erastēs (plural erastai) often has been translated as “lover” and erōmenos (plural erōmenoi) as “beloved,” although the former in many cases was only an “admirer” from a distance, and the latter might be completely unaware of an admirer’s devotion.64    So, an erastēs was primarily “one possessed by a driving love,” while an erōmenos “was the object of that love.”65    Socrates explains how a man can be “struck by the boy’s face as if by a bolt of lightning,” while he struggles to maintain his self-control (in Plato’s Phaedrus 254b).66    A Stripling who responded favorably to an admirer engaged in charizesthai (favoring), which it was right for the Boy to do if his erastēs was giving him practical wisdom.67    The Greeks had loaded words and euphemisms as well, e.g., pugai (buttocks) seems mostly to have been avoided, with hedra (seat) used in its place.    Genitals were regularly referred to as the aidoia (shamefuls, discreets).68    The Greeks also commonly referred to having sex with euphemisms like: mixis (mixing), homilia (associating), plēsiazō (being close), and sunousia (being with).    Still, they had direct words like laikazō (to perform oral sex), an act which was considered vile and a “pollution.”69    They had no direct word meaning “to fuck,” although katapugōn (right up the buttocks) could be used to refer to an “ass-bandit.”70   Every society has its vulgar words for certain denigrated sexual acts—although some individuals, in spite of the taboos, will still be drawn to and indulge in those very same acts.       

So, how was Greek Love practiced in Athens?    Plato recognized both a “heavenly” love and a “carnal [vulgar, common]” love.    There the way of same-sex love was more “elaborate” than in other places, but far “lovelier.”    It’s all right to fall in love with a youth, especially if he is noble-born and of high quality; and if an admirer makes a catch, that’s a good thing too—except that sex should not be used for money, political gain, or power (Plato, Symposium 180b-182a).71    Erastai came in two types:    The wolf-pack erastai included those groupies, pests and suitors who competed in their devotions for a Stripling, bringing him gifts, songs and promises, while the Super-erastēs, or chosen one, the Winner, got to accompany his favorite to athletic events as his Sponsor, his publicly-recognized Other Half.72    The Greeks viewed the erastēs as a victim who couldn’t help himself, because he was so ‘hung up’ on a Stripling.    On the other hand, the erōmenos was to remain erotically passive (although some boys were known to flirt, e.g., batting their eyelashes).73    Related to “favoring” (charizesthai), the beloved was free to respond or not, although a gracious exchange was thought both to reveal and refine the boy’s personality (psyche).    He could hug or kiss, or do more in his lover’s arms; yet the main focus for an erastēs should not be simply to get sex with the boy.74    Foucault tried to distinguish between philia (simply being good friends) and erōs (sex), which Davidson says really makes “no sex in the Greek context, where, of course, sex is conceived in terms of charis [gracious reciprocation].”75    Still, Striplings were not to become ‘notches on the bedpost,’ and special scorn was heaped on boys who were believed to welcome being penetrated.76    Of course, loving someone might end up in bed, although sex was nothing that you would ‘note in your diary,’ and there was a reluctance to write about it or picture it.    As Xenophon (Anabasis 2.6.28) noted, sex belonged to aphane, the realm of the invisible.77    At the same time, certain laws dealt with matters of modesty and shame, fathers in Athens had slaves called paidagōgoi to chaperone their boys outside the home, and in the gymnasium Striplings (Cadets) were forbidden from mingling with the younger Boys, who shared the same training grounds but played at opposite ends.78    However, at Eighteen, ephebes (“in bloom” = Stripings) had a spectacular coming out at the gymnasium, when they ran a naked torch race (probably a relay race); and afterward they were not so well guarded.79 

Still, there was no one single mos Graecorum (Greek way); and love and sex did not always follow the proscribed ideal, even in Athens.80    Although pursued Striplings were to remain passive with an admirer, even Socrates acknowledged that while the Boy thinks about love for his erastēs as “friendship,” his desire “is nearly the same as the lover’s, though weaker: he wants to see, touch, kiss, and lie down with him; and of course, as you might expect, he acts on these desires soon after they occur” (In Plato’s Phaedrus, 255e Nehamas and Woodruff).81    Xenophon relates how Critobulus, the fuzz “creeping down in front of his ears,” was dreamily infatuated with his older classmate Clinias, who in turn had a boyfriend in Ctesippus (Plato, Symposium 4.23.26).    Socrates was afraid that Critobulus has kissed Clinias, a dangerous thing to do, but Critobulus’s obsessive erōs for Clinias persists—even though an Athenian younger male was not to become a love-struck suitor.82    Adult men also sometimes had older boyfriends, as with Isocrates (Socrates’ favorite), well into his twenties, and Lysias (Phaedrus’s favorite), who was older still.83    Moreover, 4th century Athenian Homosexuality changed radically, as porneia (Davidson: whorishness84) arrived in the city, in the form of sex-slaves who served their masters as live-in lovers, handsome cithara-boys of notorious (loose) reputation who with their lute-like instruments and other talents entertained drinking parties, and politicians who had come to power more through their ‘physical talents’ than anything else.    As might be expected, these changes provoked much discussion among the philosophers, including Plato, Xenophon, and Aeschines, about what Greek Love should be about.    Foucault believed that all of this theorizing about true love, accompanied by a rejection of sodomy, was designed to render the love of boys acceptable by denying what actually happened.    Instead, Davidson views this as a “charis crisis,” because sexual favors from male prostitutes and boy slaves now seemed so much more easily gotten.85    Special scorn was heaped on boys who slept around as common prostitutes,86 who became increasingly available.    One Athenian speech-writer Lysias (ca. 445-ca. 380 BC) in Against Simon relates a struggle that went on for years (including everything from stone-throwing to attempted murder) between Simon, who hired an expensive live-in rent-boy (Theodotus), and an unnamed speaker, who later stole (or retrieved) the Stripling away from him.    The Athenian statesman Aeschines (389-314 BC) in his speech Against Timarchus tells another story of a prostitute, who was bribed to leave his house of prostitution to go live with Misgolas, a wealthy man, who then becomes enraged to find Timarchus out sleeping with some foreigners like a “common prostitute.”87 


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