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The social status of homosexuality in Greece


Enviado por   •  23 de Julio de 2012  •  2.820 Palabras (12 Páginas)  •  745 Visitas

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INDEX

The ancient Greece

1. Introduction

2. Pederasty…………………………………………………………………….pag.3

3. Love between adult men…………………………………….….…..pag.4

4. Achilles and Patroclus…………………………………………..……..pag.4

5. Historical adult male couples……………………………………….pag.5

6. Sapphic Love………………………………………………………………..pag.5

7. Scholarship and controversy………………………………………..pag.6

The new Greece

1. Legislation…………………………………………………………………….pag.7

2. Politics………………………………………………………………………....pag.8

3. Social situation…………………………………………………….……....pag.9

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………...pag.12

THE ANCIENT GREECE

1. Introduction

In classical antiquity, writers such as Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Athenaeus and many others explored aspects of same-sex love in ancient Greece. The most widespread and socially significant form of close same-sex sexual relations in ancient Greece was between adult men and adolescent boys, known as pederasty. (It is important to note, however, that marriages in Ancient Greece between men and women were also age structured, with men in their 30s commonly taking wives in their early teens.) It is unclear how such relations between women were regarded in the general society, but examples do exist as far back as the time of Sappho.

The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier, as Western societies have done for the past century. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but by the extent to which such desire or behavior conformed to social norms. These norms were based on gender, age and social status. There is little extant source material on how females viewed sexual activity. There are two main views of male sexual activity in ancient Greek society. Some scholars, such as Kenneth Dover and David Halperin, claim that it was highly polarized into "active" and "passive" partners, penetrator and penetrated, an active/passive polarization held to be associated with dominant and submissive social roles: the active (penetrative) role was associated with masculinity, higher social status, and adulthood, while the passive role was associated with femininity, lower social status, and youth.

In this view, any sexual activities in which a male penetrated a social inferior was regarded as normal; "social inferiors" could include women, male youths, foreigners, prostitutes, or slaves; and being penetrated, especially by a social inferior, was considered potentially shameful.

Other scholars, however, argue that male-male relations usually involved an adult male and a youth: the older male took the active (penetrative) role. They also describe them as "warm," "loving," and "affectionate," and argue that the Greek tradition of same-sex relations was central to "Greek history and warfare, politics, art, literature and learning, in short to the Greek miracle."

2. Pederasty

The most common form of same-sex relationships between males in Greece was "paiderastia" meaning "boy love". It was a relationship between an older male and an adolescent youth. In Athens the older man was callederastes, he was to educate, protect, love, and provide a role model for his beloved. His beloved was callederomenos whose reward for his lover lay in his beauty, youth, and promise.

Elaborate social protocols existed to protect youths from the shame associated with being sexually penetrated. The eromenos was supposed to respect and honor the erastes, but not to desire him sexually. Although being courted by an older man was practically a rite of passage for young men, a youth who was seen to reciprocate the erotic desire of his erastes faced considerable social stigma.

The ancient Greeks, in the context of the pederastic city-states, were the first to describe, study, systematize, and establish pederasty as a social and educational institution. It was an important element in civil life, the military, philosophy and the arts. There is some debate among scholars about whether pederasty was widespread in all social classes, or largely limited to the aristocracy.

The morality of pederasty was closely investigated in ancient Greece, some aspects being considered base and others idealized as the best that life had to offer. In Plato's Laws, carnal pederasty is described as "contrary to nature"; and effecting a law against it -in the words of the Athenian interlocutor "probably such a law would be approved as right"- would be popular among the Greek city-states.

3. Love between adult men

Given the importance in Greek society of cultivating the masculinity of the adult male and the perceived feminizing effect of being the passive partner, relations between adult men of comparable social status were considered highly problematic, and usually associated with social stigma. However, examples of such couples are occasionally found in the historical record.

4. Achilles and Patroclus

The first recorded appearance of a deep emotional bond between adult men in ancient Greek culture was in theIliad (800 BC). Although Homer does not explicitly depict the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus as sexual, by the beginning of the Classical era (480 BC) the two heroes were

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