Terminology[ edit ] Kouros representing an idealized youth, c. He is aware of his attractiveness, but self-absorbed in his relationship with those who desire him. He will smile sweetly at the admiring lover; he will show appreciation for the other's friendship, advice, and assistance.
He will allow the lover to greet him by touching, affectionately, his genitals and his face, while he looks, himself, demurely at the ground. Though the object of importunate solicitation, he is himself not in need of anything beyond himself. He is unwilling to let himself be explored by the other's needy curiosity, and he has, himself, little curiosity about the other.
He is something like a god, or the statue of a god. Cretan pederasty The Greek practice of pederasty came suddenly into prominence at the end of the Archaic period of Greek history; there is a brass plaque from Crete, about BC, which is the oldest surviving representation of pederastic custom. Such representations appear from all over Greece in the next century; literary sources show it as being established custom in many cities by the 5th century BC.
A man Ancient Greek: The youth received gifts, and the philetor along with the friends went away with him for two months into the countryside, where they hunted and feasted.
At the end of this time, the philetor presented the youth with three contractually required gifts: Other costly gifts followed. Upon their return to the city, the youth sacrificed the ox to Zeus, and his friends joined him at the feast. He received special clothing that in adult life marked him as kleinos, "famous, renowned". The initiate was called a parastatheis, "he who stands beside", perhaps because, like Ganymede the cup-bearer of Zeus, he stood at the side of the philetor during meals in the andreion and served him from the cup that had been ceremonially presented.
In this interpretation, the formal custom reflects myth and ritual. Among the Athenians, as Socrates claims in Xenophon 's Symposium, "Nothing [of what concerns the boy] is kept hidden from the father, by an ideal  lover.
However, according to Aeschines, Athenian fathers would pray that their sons would be handsome and attractive, with the full knowledge that they would then attract the attention of men and "be the objects of fights because of erotic passions". Boys, however, usually had to be courted and were free to choose their mate, while marriages for girls were arranged for economic and political advantage at the discretion of father and suitor. For those lovers who continued their lovemaking after their beloveds had matured, the Greeks made allowances, saying, "You can lift up a bull, if you carried the calf.
However, if they did not perform those specific functions, did not present themselves for the allocation of those functions and declared themselves ineligible if they were somehow mistakenly elected to perform those specific functions, they were safe from prosecution and punishment. As non-citizens visiting or residing in a city-state could not perform official functions in any case whatsoever, they could prostitute themselves as much as they wanted.
In his speech Against Timarchus in BC, the Athenian politician Aeschines argues against further allowing Timarchus, an experienced middle-aged politician, certain political rights as Attic law prohibited anyone who had prostituted himself from exercising those rights  and Timarchus was known to have spent his adolescence as the sexual partner of a series of wealthy men in order to obtain money.
Aeschines acknowledges his own dalliances with beautiful boys, the erotic poems he dedicated to these youths, and the scrapes he has gotten into as a result of his affairs, but emphasizes that none of these were mediated by money.
A financial motive thus was viewed as threatening a man's status as free. Socrates remarks in the dialogue Phaedrus that sexual pederasty is driven by the appetital part of the soul, but can be balanced by self-control and reason.
He likens wanton lust for a boy to allowing a disobedient horse to control a chariot, but remarks that sexual desire for a boy if combined with a love for their other qualities is acceptable. Phaedrus in Plato's Symposium remarks: For I know not any greater blessing to a young man who is beginning in life than a virtuous lover, or to a lover than a beloved youth.
For the principle, I say, neither kindred, nor honor, nor wealth, nor any motive is able to implant so well as love. Of what am I speaking? And we all accuse the Cretans of concocting the story about Ganymede. Plato states here that "we all", possibly referring to society as a whole or simply his social group, believe the story of Ganymede's homosexuality to have been fabricated by the Cretans to justify immoral behaviours.
The Athenian stranger in Plato's Laws blames pederasty for promoting civil strife and driving many to their wits' end, and recommends the prohibition of sexual intercourse with youths, laying out a path whereby this may be accomplished. There is some pleasure in loving a boy paidophilein , since once in fact even the son of Cronus that is, Zeus , king of immortals, fell in love with Ganymede, seized him, carried him off to Olympus , and made him divine, keeping the lovely bloom of boyhood paideia.
So, don't be astonished, Simonides, that I too have been revealed as captivated by love for a handsome boy. Neither Homer nor Hesiod ever explicitly ascribes homosexual experiences to the gods or to heroes. The 5th century BC poet Pindar constructed the story of a sexual pederastic relationship between Poseidon and Pelops , this was intended to replace an earlier story of cannibalism that Pindar deemed an unsavoury representation of the Gods.
Though examples of such a custom exist in earlier Greek works, myths providing examples of young men who were the lovers of gods began to emerge in classical literature, around the 6th century BC. All the Olympian gods except Ares are purported to have had these relationships, which some scholars argue demonstrates that the specific customs of paiderastia originated in initiatory rituals.
Likewise, the tale of Dionysus and Polymnus , which tells that the former anally masturbated with a fig branch over the latter's grave, was written by Christians, whose aim was to discredit pagan mythology. The standing lovers engage in intercrural sex. Animal gifts—most commonly hares and roosters, but also deer and felines—point toward hunting as an aristocratic pastime and as a metaphor for sexual pursuit.
The youthful beloved is never pictured with an erection; his penis "remains flaccid even in circumstances to which one would expect the penis of any healthy adolescent to respond willy-nilly". Some vases do show the younger partner as sexually responsive, prompting one scholar to wonder, "What can the point of this act have been unless lovers in fact derived some pleasure from feeling and watching the boy's developing organ wake up and respond to their manual stimulation?
In the 6th century BC, he is a young beardless man with long hair, of adult height and physique, usually nude. 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. 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".
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  on "the joys and sorrows" of pederasty seem more apt for sharing with a fellow erastes, perhaps in the setting of the symposium: 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. 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". From the poems of Alcaeus we learn that the lover would customarily invite his eromenos to dine with him. Attic red-figure cup from Tarquinia, c. Spartan views on pederasty and homoeroticism were much more austere than those of other parts of Greece.
Xenophon says in Constitution of the Lacaedemonians that Spartan customs were unsuited to pederasty: 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.
Athenian pederasty In Athens, as elsewhere, pederastia appears to have been a characteristic of the aristocracy. Another Boeotian pederastic myth is the story of Narcissus. 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.
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.
It would not be until and K. Dover 's book Greek Homosexuality , that the topic would be widely and frankly discussed. 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.
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.