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A Problem in Greek Ethics

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April Kincaid
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2009, 06:14:13 am »

almost all half-savage nations, 1 throws little light upon the subject of the present inquiry. Nor do we gain anything of importance from the semi-religious practices of Japanese Bonzes or Egyptian priests. Such facts, taken in connection with abundant modern. experience of what are called unnatural vices, only prove the universality of unisexual indulgence in all parts of the world and under all conditions of society. Considerable psychological interest attaches to the study of these sexual aberrations. It is also true that we detect in them the germ or raw material of a custom which the Dorians moralised or developed after a specific fashion; but nowhere do we find an analogue to their peculiar institutions. It was just that effort to moralise and adapt to social use a practice which has elsewhere been excluded in the course of civil growth, or has been allowed to linger half-acknowledged as a remnant of more primitive conditions, or has re-appeared in the corruption of society; it was just this effort to elevate paiderastia according to the aesthetic standard of Greek ethics which constituted its distinctive quality in Hellas. We are obliged, in fact, to separate this, the true Hellenic manifestation of the paiderastic passion, from the effeminacies, brutalities and gross sensualities which can be noticed alike in imperfectly civilised and in luxuriously corrupt communities.

Before leaving this part of the subject, I must repeat that what I have suggested regarding the intervention of the Dorians in creating the type of Greek love is a pure speculation. If it has any value, that is due to the fixed and regulated forms which paiderastic institutions displayed at a very early date in Crete and Sparta, and also to the remnants of savage customs embedded in them. It depends to a certain extent also upon the absence of paiderastia in Homer. But on this point something still remains to be said. Our Attic authorities certainly regarded the Homeric poems as canonical books, decisive for the culture of the first stage of Hellenic history. Yet it is clear that Homer refined Greek mythology, while many of the cruder elements of that mythology survived from pre-Homeric times in local cults and popular religious observances. We know, moreover, that a body of non-Homeric writings, commonly called the cyclic poems, existed by the side of Homer, some of the material of which is preserved to us by dramatists, lyrists, historians, antiquaries and anecdotists. It is not impossible that


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this so-called cyclical literature contained paiderastic elements, which were eliminated, like the grosser forms of myth in the Homeric poems. 1 If this be conceded, we might be led to conjecture that paiderastia was a remnant of ancient savage habits, ignored by Homer, but preserved by tradition in the race. Given the habit, the Greeks were certainly capable of carrying it on without shame. We ought to resist the temptation to seek a high and noble origin for all Greek institutions. But there remains the fact that, however they acquired the habit, whether from North Dorian customs antecedent to Homer or from conditions of experience subsequent tot the Homeric age, the Greeks gave it a dignity and an emotional superiority which is absent in the annals of barbarian institutions. Instead of abandoning it as part of the obsolete lumber of their prehistoric origins, they chose to elaborate it into the region of romance and ideality. And this; they did in spite of Homer's ignorance of the passion or of his deliberate reticence. Whatever view, therefore, we may take about Homer's silence, and about the possibility of paiderastia occurring in lost poems of the cyclic type, or, lastly, about its probable survival in the people from an age of savagery, we are bound to regard its systematical development among the Dorians as a fact of paramount significance.

In that passage of the Symposium 2 where Plato notices the Spartan law of love as Poikilos, he speaks with disapprobation of the Bœotians, who were not restrained by custom and opinion within the same strict limits. Yet it should here be noted that the military aspect of Greek love in the historic period was nowhere more distinguished than at Thebes. Epaminsondas was a notable boy-lover; and the names of his beloved Asopichus and Cephisodorus, are mentioned by Plutarch. 3 They died, and were buried with him at Mantinea. The paiderastic legend of Herakles and Iolaus was localised in Bœotia; and the lovers, Diodes and Philolaus, who gave laws to Thebes, directly encouraged those masculine attachments, which had their origin in the Palæstra. 4 The practical outcome of these national institutions in the chief town of Bœotia was the formation of the so-called Sacred Band, or Band of Lovers, upon whom Pelopidas relied in his most perilous operations. Plutarch relates that they were enrolled, in the first instance, by Gorgidas, the rank and file of the regiment being composed of





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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2009, 06:14:31 am »

young men bound together by affection. Report goes that they were never beaten till the battle of Chæronea. At the end of that day, fatal to the liberties of Hellas, Philip of Macedon went forth to view the slain; and when he "came to that place where the three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead together, he wondered, and understanding that it was the band of lovers, he shed tears, and said, 'Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything that was base.'" 1As at all the other turning-points of Greek history, so at this, too, there is something dramatic and eventful: Thebes was the last stronghold of Greek freedom; the Sacred Band contained the pith and flower of her army; these lovers had fallen to a man, like the Spartans of Leonidas at Thermopylæ, pierced by the lances of the Macedonian phalanx; then, when the day was over and the dead were silent, Philip, the victor in that fight, shed tears when he beheld their serried ranks, pronouncing himself therewith the fittest epitaph which could have been inscribed upon their stelë by a Hellene.

At Chæronea, Greek liberty, Greek heroism, and Greek love, properly so called, expired. It is not unworthy of notice that the son of the conqueror, young Alexander, endeavoured to revive the tradition of Achilleian friendship. This lad, born in the decay of Greek liberty, took conscious pleasure in enacting the part of a Homeric hero on the altered stage of Hellas and of Asia, with somewhat tawdry histrionic pomp. 2 Homer was his invariable companion upon his marches; in the Troad he paid special honour to the tomb of Achilles, running naked races round the barrow in honour of the hero, and expressing the envy which he felt for one who had so true a friend and so renowned a poet to record his deeds. The historians of his life relate that, while he was indifferent to women, 3 he was madly given to the love of males. This the story of his sorrow for Hephaistion sufficiently confirms. A kind of spiritual atavism moved the Macedonian conqueror to assume on the vast Bactrian plain the outward trappings of Achilles Agonistes. 4





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Returning from this digression upon Alexander's almost hysterical archaism, it should next be noticed that Plato includes the people of Elis in the censure which he passes upon the Bœotians. He accuses the Eleans of adopting customs which permitted youths to gratify their lovers without further distinction of age, or quality, or opportunity. In like manner Maximus Tyrius distinguishes between the customs of Crete and Elis: "While I find the laws of the Cretans excellent, I must condemn those of Elis for their license." 1 Elis, 2 like Megara, instituted a contest for beauty among youths; and it is significant that the Megarians were not uncommonly accused of Hybris or wanton lust, by Greek writers. Both the Eleans and the Megarians may therefore reasonably be considered to have exceeded the Greek standard of taste in the amount of sensual indulgence which they openly acknowledged. In Ionia and other regions of Hellas exposed to Oriental influences, Plato says that paiderastia was accounted a disgrace. 3 At the same time he couples with paiderastia in this place both addiction to gymnastic exercise and to philosophical studies, pointing out that despotism was always hostile to high thoughts and haughty customs. The meaning of the passage, therefore, seems to be that the true type of Greek love had no chance of unfolding itself freely on the shores of Asia Minor. Of paiderastic Malakia, or effeminacy, there is here no question, else Plato would probably have made Pausanias use other language.





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Footnotes
13:1 See, for example, Æschines against Timarchus, 59.

13:2 Trans. by Sir G. C. Lewis, vol. ii. pp. 306-313.

13:3 Symp. 182 A.

14:1 i. 132.

14:2 De Rep., iv. 4.

14:3 I need hardly point out the parallel between this custom and the marriage customs of half-civilised communities.

15:1 The general opinion of the Greeks with regard to the best type of Dorian love is well expressed by Maximus Tyrius, Dissert., xxvi. 8. "It is esteemed a disgrace to a Cretan youth to have no lover. It is a disgrace for a Cretan youth to tamper with the boy he loves. O custom, beautifully blent of self-restraint and passion! The man of Sparta loves the lad of Lacedæmon, but loves him only as one loves a fair statue; and many love one, and one loves many."

15:2 Laws, i. 636.

15:3 Pol, ii. 7, 4.

15:4 Lib. 13,602, E.

16:1 It is not unimportant to note in this connection that paiderastia of no ignoble type still prevails among the Albanian mountaineers.

17:1 The foregoing attempt to reconstruct a possible environment for the Dorian form of paiderastia is, of course, wholly imaginative. Yet it receives certain support from what we know about the manners of the Albanian Mountaineers and the nomadic Tartar tribes. Aristotle remarks upon the Paiderastic customs of the Kelts, who in his times were immigrant.

17:2 See above, Section V.

19:1 It appears from the reports of travellers that this form of passion is not common among those African tribes who have not been corrupted by Mussulmans or Europeans.

20:1 It may be plausibly argued that Æschylus drew the subject of his Myrmidones from some such non-Homeric epic. See below, Section XII.

20:2 182 A.. Cp. Laws, i. 636.

20:3 Eroticus, xvii. p. 761, 34

20:4 See Plutarch, Pelopidas. Clough, vol. ii. p. 2 19.

21:1 Clough, as quoted above, p. 219.

21:2 The connection of the royal family of Macedon by descent with the Æacidæ, and the early settlement of the Dorians in Macedonia, are noticeable.

21:3 Cf. Athenæus, x. 435.

21:4 Hadrian in Rome, at a later period, revived the Greek tradition, with even more of caricature. His military ardour, patronage of art, and for Antinous seem to hang together.

22:1 Dissert., xxvi. 8.

22:2 See Athen., xiii. 609, F. The prize was armour and the wreath of myrtle.

22:3 Symp. 182, B. In the Laws, however, he mentions the Barbarians as corrupting Greek morality in this respect. We have here a further proof that it was the noble type of love which the Barbarians discouraged. For Malakia they had no dislike.



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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2009, 06:15:02 am »

XI.
Before proceeding to discuss the conditions under which paiderastia existed in Athens, it may be well to pause and to consider the tone adopted with regard to it by some of the earlier Greek poets. Much that is interesting on the subject of the true Hellenic Erôs can be gathered from Theognis, Solon, Pindar, Æschylus, and Sophocles; while the lyrics of Anacreon, Alcæus, Ibycus, and others of the same period illustrate the wanton and illiberal passion (Hybris) which tended to corrode and undermine the nobler feeling.

It is well-known that Theognis and his friend Kurnus were

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members of the aristocracy of Megara. After Megara had thrown off the yoke of Corinth in the early part of the sixth century, the city first submitted to the democratic despotism of Theagenes, and then for many years engaged in civil warfare. The large number of the elegies of Theognis are specially intended to instruct Kurnus how he ought to act as an illustrious party-leader of the nobles (Esthloi) in their contest with the people (Deiloi). They consist, therefore, of political and social precepts, and for our present purpose are only important as illustrating the educational authority assumed by a Dorian Philetor over his friend. The personal elegies intermingled with these poems on conduct reveal the very heart of a Greek lover at his early period. Here is one on loyalty:--

"Love me not with words alone, while your mind and thoughts are otherwise, if you really care for me and the heart within you is loyal. But love me with a pure and honest soul, or openly disown and hate me; let the breach between us be avowed. He who hath a single tongue and a double mind is a bad comrade, Kurnus, better as a foe than a friend." 1

The bitter-sweet of love is well described in the following couplets:--

"Harsh and sweet, alluring and repellent, until it be crowned with completion, is love for young men. If one brings it to perfection, then it is sweet; but if a man pursues and does not love, then it is of all things the most painful." 2

The same strain is repeated in the lines which begin, "a boy's love is fair to keep, fair to lay aside." 3 At one time Theognis tells his friend that he has the changeable temper of a hawk, the skittishness of a pampered colt.} 4 At another he remarks that boys are more constant than women in their affection. 5 His passion rises to its noblest height in a poem which deserves to rank with some of Shakespeare's sonnets, and which, like them, has fulfilled its own promise of immortality. 6 In order to appreciate the value of the fame conferred on Kurnus by Theognis and celebrated in such lofty strains, we must remember that these elegies were sung at banquets. "The fair young men," of whom the poet speaks, boy-lovers themselves, chaunted the praise of Kurnus to the sound of flutes, while the cups went round or the lyre was passed from hand to hand of merrymaking guests. A subject to which Theognis more than once refers is calumny:--







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"Often will the folk speak vain things against thee in my ears, and against me in thine. Pay thou no heed to them." 1

Again, he frequently reminds the boy he loves, whether it be Kurnus or some other, that the bloom of youth is passing, and that this is a reason for showing kindness. 2 This argument is urged with what appears like coarseness in the following couplet:--

"O boy, so long as thy chin remains smooth, never will I cease from fawning, no, not if it is doomed for me to die." 3

A couplet, which is also attributed to Solon, shows that paiderastia at this time in Greece was associated with manly sports and pleasures:--

"Blest is the man who loves brave steeds of war,
Fair boys, and hounds, and stranger guests from far 4

[paragraph continues] Nor must the following be omitted:--

"Blest is the man who loves, and after play,
Whereby his limbs are supple made and strong,
Retiring to his home, 'twixt sleep and song,
Sports with a fair boy on his breast all day." 5

The following couplet is attributed to him by Plutarch, 6 nor does there seem any reason to doubt its genuineness. The text seems to be corrupt, but the meaning is pretty clear:--

"In the charming season of the flower-time of youth thou shalt love boys, yearning for their thighs and honeyed mouth."

Solon, it may be remembered, thought it wise to regulate the conditions under which the love of free youths might be tolerated.

The general impression produced by a careful reading of Theognis is that he entertained a genuine passion for Kurnus, and that he was anxious to train the young man's mind in what he judged the noblest principles. Love, at the same time, except in its more sensual moments, he describes as bitter-sweet and subject to anxiety. That perturbation of the emotions which is inseparable from any of the deeper forms of personal attachment, and which the necessary conditions of boy-love exasperated, was irksome to the Greek. It is not a little curious to observe how all the poets of the despotic age resent and fret against the force of their own feeling, differing herein from the singers of chivalry, who idealised the very pains of passion.







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Of Ibycus, who was celebrated among the ancients as the lyrist of paiderastia, 1 very little has been preserved to us, but that little is sufficient to indicate the fervid and voluptuous style of his art. His imagery resembles that of Anacreon. The onset of love, for instance, in one fragment is compared to the down-swooping of a Thracian whirlwind; in another the poet trembles at the approach of Erôs like an old racehorse who is dragged forth to prove his speed once more.

Of the genuine Anacreon we possess more numerous and longer fragments, and the names of his favourites, Cleobulus, Smerdies, Leucaspis, are famous. The general tone of his love-poems is relaxed and Oriental, and his language abounds in phrases indicative of sensuality. The following may be selected:--

"Cleobulus I love, for Cleobulus I am mad, Cleobulus I watch and worship with my gaze." 2

Again:--

"O boy, with the maiden's eyes, I seek and follow thee, but thou heedest not, nor knowest that thou art my soul's charioteer."

In another place he speaks of 3--

"Love, the virginal, gleaming and radiant with desire."

Syneban (to pass the time of youth with friends) is a word which Anacreon may be said to have made current in Greek. It occurs twice in his fragments, 4 and exactly expresses the luxurious enjoyment of youthful grace and beauty which appear to have been his ideal of love. We are very far here from the Achilleian friendship of the Iliad. Yet occasionally Anacreon uses images of great force to describe the attack of passion, as when he says that love has smitten him with a huge axe and plunged him in a wintry torrent.-- 5

It must be remembered that both Anacreon and Ibycus were court poets, singing in the palaces of Polycrates and Hippias. The youths they celebrated were probably little better than the exoleti of a Roman Emperor. 6 This cannot







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be said exactly of Alcæus, whose love for black-eyed Lycus was remembered by Cicero and Horace. So little, however, is left of his erotic poems that no definite opinion can be formed about them. The authority of latter Greek authors justifies our placing him upon the list of those who helped to soften and emasculate the character of Greek love by their poems. 1

Two Athenian drinking-songs preserved by Athenæus, 2 which seem to bear the stamp of the lyric age, may here be quoted. They serve to illustrate the kind of feeling to which expression was given in public by friends and boy-lovers --

"Would I were a lovely heap of ivory. and that lovely boys carried me into the Dionysian chorus." 3

This is marked by a very delicate though naïf fancy. The next is no less eminent for its sustained, impassioned, simple, rhythmic feeling:--

"Drink with me, be young with me, love with me, wear crowns with me with me when I am mad be mad, with me when I am temperate be sober."

The greatest poet of the lyric age, the lyrist par excellence Pindar, adds much to our conception of Greek love at this period. Not only is the poem to Theoxenos, whom he loved, and in whose arms he is said to have died in the theatre at Argos, one of the most splendid achievements of his art; 4 but its choice of phrase, and the curious parallel which it draws between the free love of boys and the servile love of women, help us to comprehend the serious intensity of this passion. "The flashing rays of his forehead" and "is storm-tossed with desire," and "the young-limbed bloom of boys," are phrases which it is impossible adequately to translate. So, too, are the images by which the heart of him who does not feel the beauty of Theoxenos is said to have been forged with cold fire out of adamant, while the poet himself is compared to wax wasting under the sun's rays. In Pindar, passing from Ibycus and Anacreon, we ascend at once into a purer and more healthful atmosphere, fraught, indeed, with passion and pregnant with storm, but no longer simply sensual. Taken as a whole, the Odes of Pindar, composed for the most part in the honour of young men and boys, both beautiful and strong, are the work of a great moralist as well





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as a great artist. He never fails to teach by precept and example; he does not, as Ibycus is reported to have done, adorn his verse with legends of Ganymede and Tithonus, for the sake of insinuating compliments. Yet no one shared in fuller measure the Greek admiration for health and grace and vigour of limb. This is obvious in the many radiant pictures of masculine perfection he has drawn, as well as in the images by which he loves to bring the beauty-bloom of youth to mind. The true Hellenic spirit may be better studied in Pindar than in any other poet of his age; and after we have weighed his high morality, sound counsel, and reverence for all things good, together with the passion he avows, we shall have done something toward comprehending the inner nature of Greek love.


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Footnotes
23:1 Bergk., Poetæ Lyrica Græci, vol. ii. p. 490, line 87 of Theognis.

23:2 Ibid., line 1,353.

23:3 Ibid., line 1,369.

23:4 Ibid., lines 1,259-1,270.

23:5 Ibid., line 1,267.

23:6 Ibid., lines 237-254. Translated by me in Vagabunduli Libellus, p. 167.

24:1 Bergk., Poetæ Lyrici Græci, vol. ii. line 1,239.

24:2 Ibid., line 1,304.

24:3 Ibid., line 1,327.

24:4 Ibid., line 1,253.

24:5 Ibid., line 1,335.

24:6 Eroticus, cap. v. p. 751, 21. See Bergk., vol. ii. p. 430.

25:1 See Cic., Tusc., iv. 33

25:2 Bergk., vol. iii. p. 1,013.

25:3 Ibid., p. 1,045.

25:4 Ibid., pp. 1,109, 1,023; fr. 24,46.

25:5 Ibid., p. 1,023; fr. 48.

25:6 Maximus Tyrius Dissert., xxvi., says that Smerdies was a Thracian, given, for his great beauty: by his Greek captors to Polycrates.

26:1 See what Agathon says in the Thesmophoriazuse of Aristophanes.

26:2 xv. 695.

26:3 Bergk., vol. iii. p. 1,293.

26:4 Ibid., vol. i. p. 327.



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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2009, 06:15:31 am »

XII.
The treatment of paiderastia upon the Attic stage requires separate considerations. Nothing proves the popular acceptance and national approval of Greek love more forcibly to modern minds than the fact that tragedians like Æschylus and Sophocles made it the subject of their dramas. From a notice in Athenæus it appears that Stesichorus, who first gave dramatic form to lyric poetry, composed interludes upon paiderastic subjects. 1 But of these it is impossible to speak, since their very titles have been lost. What immediately follows, in the narrative of Athenæus, will serve as text for what I have to say upon this topic. "And Aeschylus, that mighty poet, and Sophocles brought masculine loves into the theatre through their tragedies. Wherefore some are wont to call tragedy a paiderast; and the spectators welcome such." Nothing, unfortunately, remains of the plays which justified this language but a few fragments cited by Aristophanes, Plutarch, Lucian, and Athenæus. To examine these will be the business of this section.

The tragedy of the Myrmidones, which formed part of a trilogy by Æschylus upon the legend of Achilles, must have been popular at Athens, for Aristophanes quotes it no less than four times--twice in the Frogs, once in the Birds, and once in the Ecclesiazusæ. We can reconstruct its general plan from the lines which have come down to us on the authority of the writers above mentioned. 2 The play opened with an



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anapæstic speech of the chorus, composed of the clansmen of Achilles, who upbraided him for staying idle in his tent while the Achaians suffered at the hands of Hector. Achilles replied with the metaphor of the eagle stricken by an arrow winged from one of his own feathers. Then the embassy of Phoenix arrived, and Patroclus was sent forth to battle. Achilles, meanwhile, engaged in a game of dice; and while he was thus employed Antilochus entered with the news of the death of Patroclus. The next fragment brings the whole scene vividly before our eves.

"Wail for me, Antilochus, rather than for the dead man--for me, Achilles, who still live." After this, the corpse of Patroclus was brought upon the stage, and the son of Peleus poured forth a lamentation over his friend. The Threnos of Achilles on this occasion was very celebrated among the ancients. One passage of unmeasured passion, which described the love which subsisted between the two heroes, has been quoted with varieties of reading by Lucian, Plutarch, and Athenæus. 1 Lucian says: "Achilles, bewailing the death of Patroclus with unhusbanded passion, broke forth into the truth in self-abandonment to woe." Athenæus gives the text as follows:--

"Hadst thou no reverence for the unsullied holiness of thighs, O thou ungrateful for the showers of kisses given."

What we have here chiefly to notice is the change which the tale of Achilles had undergone since Homer. 2 Homer represented Patroclus as older in years than the son of Peleus, but inferior to him in station; nor did he hint which of the friends was the Erastes of the other. That view of their comradeship had not occurred to him. Æschylus makes Achilles the lover; and for this distortion of the Homeric legend he was severely criticised by Plato. 3 At the same time, as the two lines quoted from the Threnos prove, he treated their affection from the point of view of post-Homeric paiderastia.

Sophocles also wrote a play upon the legend of Achilles, which bears for its title Achilles' Loves. Very little is left of this drama; but Hesychius has preserved one phrase which illustrates




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the Greek notion that love was an effluence from the beloved person through the eyes into the lover's soul, 1 while Stobæus quotes the beautiful simile by which love is compared to a piece of ice held in the hand by children. 2 Another play of Sophocles, the Niobe, is alluded to by Plutarch and by Athenæus for the paiderastia which it contained. Plutarch's words are these: 3 "When the children of Niobe, in Sophocles, are being pierced and dying, one of them cries out, appealing to no other rescuer or ally than his lover: Ho! comrade, up and aid me!" Finally, Athenæus quotes a single line from the Colchian Women of Sophocles, which alludes to Ganymede, and runs as follows: 4 "Inflaming with his thighs the royalty of Zeus."

Whether Euripides treated paiderastia directly in any of his plays is not quite certain, though the title Chrysippus and one fragment preserved from that tragedy--

"Nature constrains me though I have sound judgment"--

justify us in believing that he made the crime of Laius his subject. It may be added that a passage in Cicero confirms this belief. 5 The title of another tragedy, Peirithous, seems in like manner to point at friendship; while a beautiful quotation from the Dictys sufficiently indicates the high moral tone assumed by Euripides in treating of Greek love. It runs as follows:--"He was my friend; and never may love lead me to folly, nor to Kupris. There is, in truth, another kind of love--love for the soul, righteous, temperate., and good. Surely men ought to have made this law, that only the temperate and chaste should love, and send Kupris, daughter of Zeus, a-begging." The philosophic ideal of comradeship is here vitalised by the dramatic vigour of the poet; nor has the Hellenic conception of pure affection for "a soul, just, upright, temperate and good," been elsewhere more pithily expressed. The Euripidean conception of friendship, it may further be observed, is nobly personified in Pylades, who plays a generous and self-devoted part in the three tragedies of Electra, Orestes, and Iphigenia in Tauris.

Having collected these notices of tragedies which dealt with boy-love, it may be well to add a word upon comedies in the same relation. We hear of a Paidika by Sophron, a Malthakoi by the older Cratinus, a Baptæe by Empolis, in which Alcibiades and his society were satirised. Paiderastes is the title of plays






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by Diphilus and Antiphanes; Ganymedes of plays of Alkaeus, Antiphanes and Eubulus.

What has been quoted from Æschylus and Sophocles sufficiently establishes the fact that paiderastia was publicly received with approbation on the tragic stage. This should make us cautious in rejecting the stories which are told about the love adventures of Sophocles. 1 Athenæus calls him a lover of lads, nor is it strange if, in the age of Pericles, and while he was producing the Achilles' Loves, he should have shared the tastes of which his race approved.

At this point it may be as well to mention a few illustrious names, which to the student of Greek art and literature are indissolubly connected with paiderastia. Parmenides, whose life, like that of Pythagoras, was accounted peculiarly holy, loved his pupil Zeno. 2 Pheidias loved Pantarkes, a youth of Elis, and carved his portrait in the figure of a victorious athlete at the foot of the Olympian Zeus. 3 Euripides is said to have loved the adult Agathon. Lysias, Demosthenes, and Æschines, orators whose conduct was open to the most searching censure of malicious criticism, did not scruple to avow their love. Socrates described his philosophy as the science of erotics. Plato defined the highest form of human existence to be "philosophy together with paiderastia," and composed the celebrated epigrams on Aster and on Agathon. This list might be indefinitely lengthened.





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Footnotes
27:1 Athen., xiii. 601 A.

27:2 See the fragments of the Myrmidones in the Poetæ Scenici Græci. My interpretation of them is, of course, conjectural.

28:1 Lucian, Amores; Plutarch, Eroticus; Althenæus, xiii. 602 E.

28:2 Possibly Æschylus drew his fable from a non-Homeric source, but if so, it is curious that Plato should only refer to Homer.

28:3 Symph., 180 A. Xenophon, Symph. 8, 31, points out that in Homer Achilles avenged the death of Patroclus, not as his lover, but as his comrade in arms.

29:1 Cf. Eurid., Hippol., l. 525; Plato, Phædr., p. 255; Max. Tyr., Dissert., XXV. 2.

29:2 See Poetæ Scenici, Fragments of Sophocles.

29:3 Eroticus, p. 760 E.

29:4 Ath. p. 602 E.

29:5 Tusc., iv. 33

30:1 See Athenæus, xiii. pp. 604, 605, for two very outspoken stories about Sophocles at Chios and apparently at Athens. In 582, e, he mentions one of the boys beloved by Sophocles; a certain Demophon.

30:2 Plato, Parm., 127 A.

30:3 Pausanias, v. 11, and see Meier, p. 159, note 93.



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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2009, 06:16:14 am »

XII.
The treatment of paiderastia upon the Attic stage requires separate considerations. Nothing proves the popular acceptance and national approval of Greek love more forcibly to modern minds than the fact that tragedians like Æschylus and Sophocles made it the subject of their dramas. From a notice in Athenæus it appears that Stesichorus, who first gave dramatic form to lyric poetry, composed interludes upon paiderastic subjects. 1 But of these it is impossible to speak, since their very titles have been lost. What immediately follows, in the narrative of Athenæus, will serve as text for what I have to say upon this topic. "And Aeschylus, that mighty poet, and Sophocles brought masculine loves into the theatre through their tragedies. Wherefore some are wont to call tragedy a paiderast; and the spectators welcome such." Nothing, unfortunately, remains of the plays which justified this language but a few fragments cited by Aristophanes, Plutarch, Lucian, and Athenæus. To examine these will be the business of this section.

The tragedy of the Myrmidones, which formed part of a trilogy by Æschylus upon the legend of Achilles, must have been popular at Athens, for Aristophanes quotes it no less than four times--twice in the Frogs, once in the Birds, and once in the Ecclesiazusæ. We can reconstruct its general plan from the lines which have come down to us on the authority of the writers above mentioned. 2 The play opened with an



p. 28

anapæstic speech of the chorus, composed of the clansmen of Achilles, who upbraided him for staying idle in his tent while the Achaians suffered at the hands of Hector. Achilles replied with the metaphor of the eagle stricken by an arrow winged from one of his own feathers. Then the embassy of Phoenix arrived, and Patroclus was sent forth to battle. Achilles, meanwhile, engaged in a game of dice; and while he was thus employed Antilochus entered with the news of the death of Patroclus. The next fragment brings the whole scene vividly before our eves.

"Wail for me, Antilochus, rather than for the dead man--for me, Achilles, who still live." After this, the corpse of Patroclus was brought upon the stage, and the son of Peleus poured forth a lamentation over his friend. The Threnos of Achilles on this occasion was very celebrated among the ancients. One passage of unmeasured passion, which described the love which subsisted between the two heroes, has been quoted with varieties of reading by Lucian, Plutarch, and Athenæus. 1 Lucian says: "Achilles, bewailing the death of Patroclus with unhusbanded passion, broke forth into the truth in self-abandonment to woe." Athenæus gives the text as follows:--

"Hadst thou no reverence for the unsullied holiness of thighs, O thou ungrateful for the showers of kisses given."

What we have here chiefly to notice is the change which the tale of Achilles had undergone since Homer. 2 Homer represented Patroclus as older in years than the son of Peleus, but inferior to him in station; nor did he hint which of the friends was the Erastes of the other. That view of their comradeship had not occurred to him. Æschylus makes Achilles the lover; and for this distortion of the Homeric legend he was severely criticised by Plato. 3 At the same time, as the two lines quoted from the Threnos prove, he treated their affection from the point of view of post-Homeric paiderastia.

Sophocles also wrote a play upon the legend of Achilles, which bears for its title Achilles' Loves. Very little is left of this drama; but Hesychius has preserved one phrase which illustrates




p. 29

the Greek notion that love was an effluence from the beloved person through the eyes into the lover's soul, 1 while Stobæus quotes the beautiful simile by which love is compared to a piece of ice held in the hand by children. 2 Another play of Sophocles, the Niobe, is alluded to by Plutarch and by Athenæus for the paiderastia which it contained. Plutarch's words are these: 3 "When the children of Niobe, in Sophocles, are being pierced and dying, one of them cries out, appealing to no other rescuer or ally than his lover: Ho! comrade, up and aid me!" Finally, Athenæus quotes a single line from the Colchian Women of Sophocles, which alludes to Ganymede, and runs as follows: 4 "Inflaming with his thighs the royalty of Zeus."

Whether Euripides treated paiderastia directly in any of his plays is not quite certain, though the title Chrysippus and one fragment preserved from that tragedy--

"Nature constrains me though I have sound judgment"--

justify us in believing that he made the crime of Laius his subject. It may be added that a passage in Cicero confirms this belief. 5 The title of another tragedy, Peirithous, seems in like manner to point at friendship; while a beautiful quotation from the Dictys sufficiently indicates the high moral tone assumed by Euripides in treating of Greek love. It runs as follows:--"He was my friend; and never may love lead me to folly, nor to Kupris. There is, in truth, another kind of love--love for the soul, righteous, temperate., and good. Surely men ought to have made this law, that only the temperate and chaste should love, and send Kupris, daughter of Zeus, a-begging." The philosophic ideal of comradeship is here vitalised by the dramatic vigour of the poet; nor has the Hellenic conception of pure affection for "a soul, just, upright, temperate and good," been elsewhere more pithily expressed. The Euripidean conception of friendship, it may further be observed, is nobly personified in Pylades, who plays a generous and self-devoted part in the three tragedies of Electra, Orestes, and Iphigenia in Tauris.

Having collected these notices of tragedies which dealt with boy-love, it may be well to add a word upon comedies in the same relation. We hear of a Paidika by Sophron, a Malthakoi by the older Cratinus, a Baptæe by Empolis, in which Alcibiades and his society were satirised. Paiderastes is the title of plays






p. 30

by Diphilus and Antiphanes; Ganymedes of plays of Alkaeus, Antiphanes and Eubulus.

What has been quoted from Æschylus and Sophocles sufficiently establishes the fact that paiderastia was publicly received with approbation on the tragic stage. This should make us cautious in rejecting the stories which are told about the love adventures of Sophocles. 1 Athenæus calls him a lover of lads, nor is it strange if, in the age of Pericles, and while he was producing the Achilles' Loves, he should have shared the tastes of which his race approved.

At this point it may be as well to mention a few illustrious names, which to the student of Greek art and literature are indissolubly connected with paiderastia. Parmenides, whose life, like that of Pythagoras, was accounted peculiarly holy, loved his pupil Zeno. 2 Pheidias loved Pantarkes, a youth of Elis, and carved his portrait in the figure of a victorious athlete at the foot of the Olympian Zeus. 3 Euripides is said to have loved the adult Agathon. Lysias, Demosthenes, and Æschines, orators whose conduct was open to the most searching censure of malicious criticism, did not scruple to avow their love. Socrates described his philosophy as the science of erotics. Plato defined the highest form of human existence to be "philosophy together with paiderastia," and composed the celebrated epigrams on Aster and on Agathon. This list might be indefinitely lengthened.





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Footnotes
27:1 Athen., xiii. 601 A.

27:2 See the fragments of the Myrmidones in the Poetæ Scenici Græci. My interpretation of them is, of course, conjectural.

28:1 Lucian, Amores; Plutarch, Eroticus; Althenæus, xiii. 602 E.

28:2 Possibly Æschylus drew his fable from a non-Homeric source, but if so, it is curious that Plato should only refer to Homer.

28:3 Symph., 180 A. Xenophon, Symph. 8, 31, points out that in Homer Achilles avenged the death of Patroclus, not as his lover, but as his comrade in arms.

29:1 Cf. Eurid., Hippol., l. 525; Plato, Phædr., p. 255; Max. Tyr., Dissert., XXV. 2.

29:2 See Poetæ Scenici, Fragments of Sophocles.

29:3 Eroticus, p. 760 E.

29:4 Ath. p. 602 E.

29:5 Tusc., iv. 33

30:1 See Athenæus, xiii. pp. 604, 605, for two very outspoken stories about Sophocles at Chios and apparently at Athens. In 582, e, he mentions one of the boys beloved by Sophocles; a certain Demophon.

30:2 Plato, Parm., 127 A.

30:3 Pausanias, v. 11, and see Meier, p. 159, note 93.



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« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2009, 06:17:03 am »

XIII.
Before proceeding to collect some notes upon the state of paiderastia at Athens, I will recapitulate the points which I have already attempted to establish. In the first place, paiderastia was unknown to Homer. 4 Secondly, soon after the heroic age, two forms of paiderastia appeared in Greece--the one chivalrous and martial, which received a formal organisation in the Dorian states; the other sensual and lustful, which, though localised to some extent at Crete, pervaded the Greek cities like


p. 31

a vice. Of the distinction between these two loves the Greek conscience was well aware, though they came in course of time to be confounded. Thirdly, I traced the character of Greek love, using that term to indicate masculine affection of a permanent and enthusiastic temper, without further ethical qualification, in early Greek history and in the institutions of Dorians. In the fourth place, I showed what kind of treatment it received at the hands of the elegiac, lyric, and tragic poets.

It now remains to draw some picture of the social life of the Athenians in so far as paiderastia is concerned, and to prove how Plato was justified in describing Attic customs on this point as qualified by important restriction and distinction.

I do not know a better way of opening this inquiry, which must by its nature be fragmentary and disconnected, than by transcribing what Plato puts into the mouth of Pausanias in the Symposium. 1 After observing that the paiderastic customs of Elis and Bœotia involved no perplexity, inasmuch as all concessions to the god of love were tolerated, and that such customs did not exist in any despotic states, he proceeds to Athens.

"There is yet a more excellent way of legislating about them, which is our own way; but this, as I was saying, is rather perplexing. For observe that open loves are held to be more honourable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honourable. Consider, too, how great is the encouragement which all the world gives to the lover; neither is he supposed to be doing anything dishonourable; but if he succeeds he is praised, and if he fail he is blamed. And in the pursuit of his love the custom of mankind allows him to do many strange things, which philosophy would bitterly censure if they were done from any motive of interest or wish for office or power. He may pray and entreat, and supplicate and swear, and be a servant of servants, and lie on a mat at the door; in any other case friends and enemies would be equally ready to prevent him, but now there is no friend who will be ashamed of him and admonish him, and no enemy will charge him with meanness or flattery; the actions of a lover have a grace which ennobles them, and custom has decided that they are highly, commendable, and that there is no loss of character in them; and, what is strangest of all, he only may swear or forswear himself (this is what the world says), and the gods will forgive his transgression, for there is no such thing as a lover's oath. Such is the entire liberty which gods and men have allowed the lover, according to the custom which prevails in our part of the world. From this point of view a man fairly argues that in Athens to love and to be loved is held to be a very honourable thing. But when there is another regime, and parents forbid their sons to talk with their lovers, and place them under a tutor's


p. 32

care, and their companions and equals cast in their teeth anything of this sort which they may observe, and their elders refuse to silence the reprovers, and do not rebuke them, any one who reflects on all this will, on the contrary, think that we hold these practices to be most disgraceful. But the truth, as I imagine, and as I said at first, is, that whether such practices are honourable or whether they are dishonourable is not a simple question; they are honourable to him who follows them honourably, dishonourable to him who follows them dishonourably. There is dishonour in yielding to the evil, or in an evil manner; but there is honour in yielding to the good, or in an honourable manner. Evil is the vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul, and who is inconstant because he is a lover of the inconstant, and, therefore, when the bloom of youth, which he was desiring, is over, takes wing and flies away, in spite of all his words and promises; whereas the love of the noble mind, which is one with the unchanging, is lifelong."

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« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2009, 06:17:34 am »

Pausanias then proceeds, at considerable length, to describe how the custom of Athens required deliberate choice and trial of character as a condition of honourable love; how it repudiated hasty and ephemeral attachments and engagements formed with the object of money-making or political aggrandisement; how love on both sides was bound to be disinterested, and what accession both of dignity and beauty the passion of friends obtained from the pursuit of philosophy and from the rendering of mutual services upon the path of virtuous conduct.

This sufficiently indicates, in general terms, the moral atmosphere in which Greek love flourished at Athens. In an earlier part of his speech Pausanias, after dwelling upon the distinction between the two kinds of Aphrodite, heavenly and vulgar, describes the latter in a way which proves that the love of boys was held to be ethically superior to that of women. 1

"The Love who is the offspring of the common Aphrodite is essentially common, and has no discrimination, being such as the meaner sort of men feel, and is apt to be of women as well as of youths, and is of the body rather than the soul; the most foolish beings are the objects of this love, which desires only to gain an end, but never thinks of accomplishing the end nobly, and therefore does good and evil quite indiscriminately. The goddess who is his mother is far younger than the other, and she was born of the union of the male and female, and partakes of both."

Then he turns to the Uranian love.

"The offspring of the heavenly Aphrodite is derived from a mother in whose birth the female has no part. She is from the male only; this is that love which is of youths, and the goddess being older, has nothing of wantonness. Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the most valiant and intelligent nature; any, one may recognise the pure enthusiasts in the very character of their attachments;


p. 33

for they love not boys, but intelligent beings whose reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their beards begin to grow. And in choosing them as their companions they mean to be faithful to them, and pass their whole life in company with them, not to take them in their inexperience, and deceive them, and play the fool with them, or run away from one to another of them. But the love of young boys should be forbidden by law, because their future is uncertain; they may turn out good or bad, either in body or soul, and much noble enthusiasm may be thrown away upon them; in this matter the good are a law to themselves, and the coarser sort of lovers ought to be restrained by force, as we restrain or attempt to restrain them from fixing their affections on women of free birth."

These long quotations from a work accessible to every reader may require apology. My excuse for giving them must be that they express in pure Athenian diction a true Athenian view of this matter. The most salient characteristics of the whole speech are, first, the definition of a code of honour, distinguishing the nobler from the baser forms of paiderastia; secondly, the decided preference of male over female love; thirdly, the belief in the possibility of permanent affection between paiderastic friends; and, fourthly, the passing allusion to rules of domestic surveillance under which Athenian boys were placed. To the first of these points I shall have to return on another occasion. With regard to the second, it is sufficient for the present purpose to remember that free Athenian women were comparatively uneducated and uninteresting, and that the hetairai had proverbially bad manners. While men transacted business and enjoyed life in public, their wives and daughters stayed in the seclusion of the household, conversing to a great extent with slaves, and ignorant of nearly all that happened in the world around them. They were treated throughout their lives as minors by the law, nor could they dispose by will of more than the worth of a bushel of barley. It followed that marriages at Athens were usually matches of arrangement between the fathers of the bride and the bridegroom, and that the motives which induced a man to marry were less the desire for companionship than the natural wish for children and a sense of duty to the country. 1 Demosthenes, in his speech against Neæra, declares: 2 "We have courtesans for our pleasures, concubines for the requirements of the body, and wives for the procreation of lawful issue." If he had been speaking at a drinking-party, instead of before a jury, he might have added, "and young men for intellectual companions."



p. 34

The fourth point which I have noted above requires more illustration, since its bearing on the general condition of Athenian society is important. Owing to the prevalence of paiderastia, a boy was exposed in Athens to dangers which are comparatively unknown in our great cities, and which rendered special supervision necessary. It was the custom for fathers, when they did not themselves accompany their sons, 1 to commit them to the care of slaves chosen usually among the oldest and most trustworthy. The duty of the attendant guardian was not to instruct the boy, but to preserve him from the addresses of importunate lovers or from such assaults as Peisthetærus in the Birds of Aristophanes describes. 2 He followed his charge to the school and the gymnasium, and was responsible for bringing him home at the right hour. Thus at the end of the Lysis we read 3:--

"Suddenly we were interrupted by the tutors of Lysis and Menexenus, who came upon us like an evil apparition with their brothers, and bade them go home, as it was getting late. At first, we and the bystanders drove them off; but afterwards, as they would not mind, and only went on shouting in their barbarous dialect, and got angry, and kept calling the boys--they appeared to us to have been drinking rather too much at the Hermæa, which made them difficult to manage--we fairly gave way and broke up the company."

In this way the daily conduct of Athenian boys of birth and good condition was subjected to observation; and it is not improbable that the charm which invested such lads as Plato portrayed in his Charmides and Lysis was partly due to the self-respect and self-restraint generated by the peculiar conditions under which they passed their life.

Of the way in which a Greek boy spent his day, we gain some notion from two passages in Aristophanes and Lucian. The Dikaios Logos 4 tells that--

"in his days, when justice flourished and self-control was held in honour, a boy's voice was never heard. He walked in order with his comrades of the same quarter, lightly clad even in winter, down to the school of the harp-player. There he learned old-fashioned hymns to the gods, and patriotic songs. While he sat, he took care to cover his person decently; and when he rose, he never forgot to rub out the marks which he might have left upon the dust lest any man should view them after he was gone.





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[paragraph continues] At meals he ate what was put before him and refrained from idle chattering. Walking through the streets, he never tried to catch a passer's eye or to attract, a lover. He avoided the shops, the baths, 1 the Agora, the houses of Hetairai. 2 He reverenced old age and formed within his soul the image of modesty. In the gymnasium he indulged in fair and noble exercise, or ran races with his comrades among the olive-trees of the Academy."

The Adikos Logos replies by pleading that this temperate sort of life is quite old-fashioned; boys had better learn to use their tongues and bully. In the last resort he uses a clinching argumentum ad juvenem. 3

Were it nor for the beautiful and highly finished portraits in Plato, to which I have already alluded, the description of Aristophanes might be thought a mere ideal; and, indeed, it is probable that the actual life of the average Athenian boy lay mid-way between the courses prescribed by the Dikaios and the Adikos Logos.

Meanwhile, since Euripides, together with the whole school of studious and philosophic speculators, are aimed at in the speeches of the Adikos Logos, it will be fair to adduce a companion picture of the young Greek educated on the athletic system, as these men had learned to know him. I quote from the Autolycus, a satyric drama of Euripides:--

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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2009, 06:18:17 am »

"There are a myriad bad things in Hellas, but nothing is worse than the athletes. To begin with, they do not know how to live like gentlemen, nor could they if they did; for how can a man, the slave of his jaws and his belly, increase the fortune left him by his father? Poverty and ill-luck find them equally incompetent. Having acquired no habits of good living, they are badly off when they come to roughing it. In youth they shine like statues stuck about the town, and take their walks abroad; but when old age draws nigh, you find them as threadbare as an old coat. Suppose a man has wrestled well, or runs fast, or has hurled a quoit, or given a black eye in fine style, has be done the state a service by the crowns he won? Do soldiers fight with quoits in hand, or without the press of shields can kicks expel the foeman from the ate? Nobody is fool enough to do these things with steel before his face. Keep, then, your laurels for the wise and good, for him who rules a city well, the just and temperate, who by his speeches wards off ill, allaying wars and civil strife. These are the things for cities, yea, and for all Greece to boast of."

Lucian represents, of course, a late period of Attic life. But his picture of the perfect boy completes, and in some points supplements, that of Aristophanes. Callicratidas, in




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the Dialogue on Love, has just drawn an unpleasing picture of a woman, surrounded in a fusty boudoir with her rouge-pots and cosmetics, perfumes, paints, combs, looking-glasses, hair dyes, and curling irons. Then he turns to praise boys. 1

"How different is a boy! In the morning he rises from his chaste couch, washes the sleep from his eyes with cold water, puts on his chlamys, 2 and takes his way to the school of the musician or the gymnast. His tutors and guardians attend him, and his eyes are bent upon the ground. He spends the morning in studying the poets and philosophers, in riding, or in military drill. Then he betakes himself to the wrestling-ground, and hardens his body with noontide heat and sweat and dust. The bath follows and a modest meal. After this he returns for awhile to study the lives of heroes and great men. After a frugal supper sleep at last is shed upon his eyelids."

Such is Lucian's sketch of the day spent by a young Greek at the famous University of Athens. Much is, undoubtedly, omitted; but enough is said to indicate the simple occupations to which an Athenian youth, capable of inspiring an enthusiastic affection, was addicted. Then follows a burst of rhetoric, which reveals, when we compare it with the dislike expressed for women, the deeply-seated virile nature of Greek love.

"Truly he is worthy to be loved. Who would not love Hermes in the palæstra, or Phœbus at the lyre, or Castor on the racing-ground? Who would not wish to sit face to face with such a youth, to hear him talk, to share his toils, to walk with him, to nurse him in sickness, to attend him on the sea, to suffer chains and darkness with him if need be? He who hated him should be my foe, and whoso loved him should be loved by me. At his death I would die; one grave should cover us both; one cruel hand cut short our lives!"

In the sequel of the dialogue Lucian makes it clear that he intends these raptures of Callicratidas to be taken in great measure for romantic boasting. Yet the fact remains that, till the last, Greek paiderastia among the better sort of men implied no effeminacy. Community of interest in sport, in exercise, and in open-air life rendered it attractive. 3




"Sons of Eudiades, Euphorion,
After the boxing-match, in which he beat,
With wreaths I crowned, and set fine silk upon
His forehead and soft blossoms honey-sweet;p. 37

Then thrice I kissed him all beblooded there;
His mouth I kissed, his eyes, his every bruise
More fragrant far than frankincense, I swear,
Was the fierce chrism that from his brows did ooze."

"I do not care for curls or tresses
Displayed in wily wildernesses
I do not prize the arts that dye
A painted cheek with hues that fly:
Give me a boy whose face and hand
Are rough with dust or circus-sand,
Whose ruddy flesh exhales the scent
Of health without embellishment :
Sweet to my sense is such a youth,
Whose charms have all the charm of truth
Leave paints and perfumes, rouge, and curls,
To lazy, lewd Corinthian girls."

The palæstra was the place at Athens where lovers enjoyed the greatest freedom. In the Phædrus Plato observes that the attachment of the lover for a boy grew by meetings and personal contact 1 in the gymnasiums and other social resorts, and in the Symposium he mentions gymnastic exercises with philosophy, and paiderastia as the three pursuits of freemen most obnoxious to despots. Æschines, again describing the manners of boy-lovers in language familiar to his audience, uses these phrases: "having grown up in gymnasiums and games," and "the man having been a noisy haunter of gymnasiums, and having been the lover of multitudes." Aristophanes also in the Wasps 2 employs similar language: "and not seeking to go revelling around in exercising grounds." I may compare Lucian, Amores, cap. 2, "you care for gymnasiums and their sleek oiled combatants," which is said to a notorious boy-lover. Boys and men met together with considerable liberty in the porches, peristyles, and other adjuncts to an Attic wrestling-ground; and it was here, too, that sophists and philosophers established themselves with the certainty of attracting a large and eager audience for their discussions. It is true that an ancient law forbade the presence of adults in the wrestling-grounds of boys; but this law appears to have become almost wholly obsolete in the days of Plato. Socrates, for example, in the Charmides, goes down immediately after his arrival from the camp at Potidæa into the palæstra of Taureas to hear the news of the day, and the very first question which he asks his friends is whether a new beauty has appeared among the youths. 3 So again in the Lysis, Hippothales invites Socrates to enter the private palæstra of Miccus, where boys and men




p. 38

were exercising together on the feast-day of Hermes. 1 "The building," he remarks, "is a newly erected palæstra, and the entertainment is generally conversation, to which you are welcome." The scene which immediately follows is well known to Greek students as one of the most beautiful and vivid pictures of Athenian life. One group of youths are sacrificing to Hermes; another are casting dice in a corner of the dressing-room. Lysis himself is "standing among the other boys and youths, having a crown upon his head, like a fair vision, and not less worthy of praise for his goodness than for his beauty." The modesty of Lysis is shown by the shyness which prevents him joining Socrates' party until he has obtained the company of some of his young friends. Then a circle of boys and men, is formed in a corner of the court, and a conversation upon friendship begins. Hippothales, the lover of Lysis, keeps at a decorous distance in the background. Not less graceful as a picture is the opening of the Charmides. In answer to a question of Socrates, the frequenters of the palæstra tell him to expect the coming of young Charmides. He will then see the most beautiful boy in Athens at the time: "for those who are just entering are the advanced guard of the great beauty of the day, and he is likely to be not far off." There is a noise and a bustle at the door, and while the Socratic party continues talking Charmides enters. The effect produced is overpowering 2:--

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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2009, 06:18:32 am »

"You know, my friend, that I cannot measure anything, and of the beautiful I am simply such a measure as a white line is of chalk; for almost all young persons appear to be beautiful in my eyes. But at that moment when I saw him coming in, I confess that I was quite astonished at his beauty and his stature; all the world seemed to be enamoured of him; amazement and confusion reigned when he entered; and a troop of lovers followed him. That grown-up men like ourselves should have been affected in this way was not surprising, but I observed that there was the same feeling among the boys; all of them, down to the very least child, turned and looked at him, as if he had been a statue."

Charmides, like Lysis, is persuaded to sit down by Socrates, who opens a discussion upon the appropriate question of Sophrosyne, or modest temperance and self-restraint. 3

"He came as he was bidden, and sat down between Critias and me. Great amusement was occasioned by everyone pushing with might and main at hit; neighbour in order to make a place for him next to them, until at the two ends of the row one had to get up, and the other was rolled over




p. 39

sideways. Now I, my friend, was beginning to feel awkward; my former bold belief in my powers of conversing with him had vanished. And when Critias told him that I was the person who had the cure, he looked at me in such an indescribable manner, and was going to ask a question; and then all the people in the palæstra crowded about us, and, O rare! I caught a sight of the inwards of his garment, and took the flame. Then I could no longer contain myself. I thought how well Cydias understood the nature of love when, in speaking of a fair youth, he warns someone 'not to bring the fawn in the sight of the lion to be devoured by him,' for I felt that I had been overcome by a sort of wild-beast appetite."

The whole tenor of the dialogue makes it clear that, in spite of the admiration he excited, the honour paid him by a public character like Socrates, and the troops of lovers and of friends surrounding him, yet Charmides was unspoiled. His docility, modesty, simplicity, and healthiness of soul are at least as remarkable as the beauty for which he was so famous.

A similar impression is produced upon our minds by Autolycus in the Symposium of Xenophon. 1 Callias, his acknowledged lover, 2 had invited him to a banquet after a victory which he had gained in the pancration; and many other guests, including the Socratic party, were asked to meet him. Autolycus came, attended by his father; and as soon as the tables were covered and the seats had been arranged, a kind of divine awe fell upon the company. The grown-up men were dazzled by the beauty and the modest bearing of the boy, just as when a bright light is brought into a darkened room. Everybody gazed at him, and all were silent, sitting in uncomfortable attitudes of expectation and astonishment. The dinner party would have passed off very tamely if Phillipus, a professional diner-out and jester, had not opportunely made his appearance. Autolycus meanwhile never uttered a word, but lay beside his father like a breathing statue. Later on in the evening he was obliged to answer a question. He opened his lips with blushes, and all he said was, 3 "Not I, by gad." Still, even this created a great sensation in the company. Everybody, says Xenophon, was charmed to hear his voice and turned their eyes upon him. It should be remarked that the conversation at this party fell almost entirely upon matters of love. Critobulus, for example, who was very beautiful and rejoiced in having many lovers, gave a full account of his own feelings for Cleinias. 4





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"You all tell me," he argued, "that I am beautiful, and I cannot but believe you; but if I am, and if you feel what I feel when I look on Cleinias, I think that beauty is better worth having than all Persia. I would choose to be blind to everybody else if I could only see Cleinias, and I hate the night because it robs me of his sight. I would rather be the slave of Cleinias than live without him; I would rather toil and suffer danger for his sake than live alone at ease and in safety. I would go through fire with him, as you would with me. In my soul I carry an image of him better made than any sculptor could fashion."

What makes this speech the more singular is that Critobulus was a newly-married man.

But to return from this digression to the palæstra. The Greeks were conscious that gymnastic exercises tended to encourage, and confirm the habit of paiderastia. "The cities which have most to do with gymnastics," is the phrase which Plato uses to describe the states where Greek love flourished. 1 Herodotus says the barbarians borrowed gymnastics to ether with paiderastia from the Hellenes; and we hear that Polycrates of Samos caused the gymnasia to be destroyed when he wished to discountenance the love which lent the warmth of personal enthusiasm to political associations. 2 It was common to erect statues of love in the wrestling-grounds; and there, says Plutarch, 3 the god's wings grew so wide that no man could restrain his flight. Readers of the idyllic poets will remember that it was a statue of Love which fell from its pedestal in the swimming-bath upon the cruel boy who had insulted the body of his self-slain friend. 4 Charmus, the lover of Hippias, erected an image of Erôs in the academy at Athens which bore this epigram

"Love, god of many evils and various devices, Charmus set up this altar to thee upon the shady boundaries of the gymnasium." 5

Erôs, in fact, was as much at home in the gymnasia of Athens as Aphrodite in the temples of Corinth; he was the patron of paiderastia, as she of female love. Thus Meleager writes:--

"The Cyprian queen, a woman, hurls the fire that maddens men for females; but Erôs himself sways the love of males for males." 6

Plutarch, again, in the Erotic dialogue, alludes to "Erôs, where Aphrodite is not; Erôs apart from Aphrodite." These facts







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relating to the gymnasia justified Cicero in saying "Mihi quidem hæc in Græcorum gymnasiis nata consuetudo videtur: in quibus isti liberi et concessi sunt amores." He adds, with a true Roman's antipathy to Greek æsthetics and their flimsy screen for sensuality, "Bene ergo Ennius, flagitii principium est nudare inter cives corpora." 1 "To me, indeed, it seems that this custom was generated in the gymnasiums of the Greeks, for there those loves are freely indulged and sanctioned. Ennius therefore very properly observed that the beginning of vice is the habit of stripping the body among citizens."

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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2009, 06:18:57 am »

The Attic gymnasia and schools were regulated by strict laws. We have already seen that adults were not supposed to enter the palæstra; and the penalty for the infringement of this rule by the gymnasiarch was death. In the same way schools had to be shut at sunset and not opened again before daybreak; nor was a grown-up man allowed to frequent them. The public chorus-teachers of boys were obliged to be above the age of forty. 2 Slaves who presumed to make advances to a free boy were subject to the severest penalties; in like manner they were prohibited from gymnastic exercises. Æschines, from whom we learn these facts, draws the correct conclusion that gymnastics and Greek love were intended to be the special privilege of freemen. Still, in spite of all restrictions, the palæstra was the centre of Athenian profligacy, the place in which not only honourable attachments were formed, but disgraceful bargains also were concluded; 3 and it is not improbable that men like Taureas and Miccus, who opened such places of amusement as a private speculation, may have played the part of go-betweens and panders. Their walls and the plane-trees which grew along their open courts were inscribed by lovers with the names of boys who had attracted them. To scrawl up, "Fair is Dinomeneus, fair is the boy," was a common custom, as we learn from Aristophanes and from this anonymous epigram in the Anthology: 4--

"I said and once again I said, 'fair, fair'; but still will I go on repeating how fascinating with his eyes is Dositheus. Not upon an oak, nor on a pine-tree, nor yet upon a wall, will I inscribe this word; but love is smouldering in my heart of hearts."

Another attention of the same kind from a lover to a boy was to have a vase or drinking-cup of baked clay made, with a





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portrait of the youth depicted on its surface, attended by winged genii of health and love. The word "Fair" was inscribed beneath, and symbols of games were added--a hoop or a fighting-****. 1 Nor must I here omit the custom which induced lovers of a literary turn to praise their friends in prose or verse. Hippothales, in the Lysis of Plato, is ridiculed by his friends for recording the great deeds of the boy's ancestors, and deafening his ears with odes and sonnets. A diatribe on love, written by Lysias with a view to winning Phædrus, forms the starting-point of the dialogue between that youth and Socrates. 2 We have, besides, a curious panegyrical oration (called Eroticos Logos), falsely ascribed to Demosthenes, in honour of a youth, Epicrates, from which some information may be gathered concerning the topics usually developed in these compositions.

Presents were of course a common way of trying to win favour. It was reckoned shameful for boys to take money from their lovers, but fashion permitted them to accept gifts of quails and fighting cocks, pheasants, horses, dogs, and clothes. 3 There existed, therefore, at Athens frequent temptations for boys of wanton disposition, or for those who needed money to indulge expensive tastes. The speech of Æschines, from which I have already frequently quoted, affords a lively picture of the Greek rake's progress, in which Timarchus is described as having sold his person in order to gratify his gluttony and lust and love of gaming. The whole of this passage, 4 it may be observed in passing, reads like a description of Florentine manners in a sermon of Savonarola.

The shops of the barbers, surgeons, perfumers, and flower-sellers had an evil notoriety, and lads who frequented these resorts rendered themselves liable to suspicion. Thus Æschines accuses Timarchus of having exposed himself for hire in a surgeon's shop at the Peiræus; while one of Straton's most beautiful epigrams 5 describes an assignation which he made with a boy who had attracted his attention in a garland-weaver's stall. In a fragment from the Pyraunos of






p. 43

[paragraph continues] Alexis a young man declares that he found thirty professors of the "voluptuous life of pleasure," in the Cerameicus during a search of three days; while Cratinus and Theopompus might be quoted to prove the ill fame of the monument to Cimon and the hill of Lycabettus. 1

The last step in the downward descent was when a youth abandoned the roof of his parents or guardians and accepted the hospitality of a lover. 2 If he did this, he was lost.

In connection with this portion of the subject it may be well to state that the Athenian law recognised contracts made between a man and boy, even if the latter where of free birth, whereby the one agreed to render up his person for a certain period and purpose, and the other to pay a fixed sum of money. 3 The phrase "a boy who has been a prostitute," occurs quite naturally in Aristophanes; 4 nor was it thought disreputable for men to engage in these liaisons. Disgrace only attached to the free youth who gained a living by prostitution; and he was liable, as we shall see, at law to loss of civil rights.

Public brothels for males were kept in Athens, from which the state derived a portion of its revenues. It was in one of these bad places that Socrates first saw Phædo. 5 This unfortunate youth was a native of Elis. Taken prisoner in war, he was sold in the public market to a slave-dealer, who then acquired the right by Attic law to prostitute his person and engross his earnings for his own pocket. A friend of Socrates, perhaps Cebes, bought him from his master, and he became one of the chief members of the Socratic circle. His name is given to the Platonic dialogue on immortality, and he lived to found what is called the Eleo-Socratic School. No reader of Plato forgets how the sage, on the eve of his death, stroked the beautiful long hair of Phædo, 6 and prophesied that he would soon have to cut it short in mourning for his teacher.

Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, is said to have spent his youth in brothels of this sort-by inclination, however, if the reports of his biographers be not calumnious.







p. 44

From what has been collected on this topic, it will be understood that boys in Athens not unfrequently caused quarrels and street-brawls, and that cases for recovery of damages or breach of contract were brought before the Attic law-courts. The Peiræus was especially noted for such scenes of violence. The oration of Lysias against Simon is a notable example of the pleadings in a cause of this description. 1 Simon the defendant and Lysias the plaintiff (or some one for whom Lysias had composed the speech) were both of them attached to Theodotus, a boy from Platæa. Theodotus was living with the plaintiff; but the defendant asserted that the boy had signed an agreement to consort with him for the consideration of three hundred drachmae, and, relying on this contract, he had attempted more than once to carry off the boy by force. Violent altercations, stone-throwings, house-breakings, and encounters of various kinds having ensued, the plaintiff brought an action for assault and battery against Simon. A modern reader is struck with the fact that he is not at all ashamed of his own relation toward Theodotus. It may be noted that the details of this action throw light upon the historic brawl at Corinth in which a boy was killed, and which led to the foundation of Syracuse by Archias the Bacchiad. 2




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Footnotes
30:4 This, by the way, is a strong argument against the theory that the Iliad was a post- Herodotean poem. A poet in the age of Pisistratus or Pericles would not have omitted paiderastia from his view of life, and could not have told the myth of Ganymede as Homer tells it. It is doubtful whether he could have preserved the pure outlines of the story of Patroclus.

31:1 Page 182, Jowett's trans. Mr. Jowett censures this speech as sophistic and confused in view. It is precisely on this account that it is valuable. The confusion indicates the obscure conscience of the Athenians. The sophistry is the result of a half-acknowledged false position.

32:1 Page 181. Jowett's trans.

33:1 See the curious passages in Plato, Symp., p. 192; Plutarch, Erot., p. 751; and Lucian, Amores, c. 38.

33:2 Quoted by Athen, xiii. 573 B.

34:1 As Lycon chaperoned Autolycus at the feast of Callias.--Xen. Symp. Boys incurred immediate suspicion if they went out alone to parties. See a fragment from the Sappho of Ephippus in Athen, xiii. p. 572 C.

34:2 Line 137. The joke here is that the father in Utopia suggests, of his own accord, what in Athens he carefully guarded against.

34:3 Page 222, Jowett's trans.

34:4 Clouds, 948 and on. I have abridged the original, doing violence to one of the most beautiful pieces of Greek poetry.

35:1 Aristophanes returns to this point below, line 1,036, where he says that Youths chatter all day in the hot baths and leave the wrestling-grounds empty.

35:2 There was a good reason for shunning each. The Agora was the meeting-place of idle gossips, the centre of chaff and scandal. The shops were, as we shall see, the resort of bad characters and panders.

35:3 Line 1,071, et seq.

36:1 Caps. 44, 45, 46. The quotation is only an abstract of the original.

36:2 Worn up to the age of about eighteen.

36:3 Compare with the passages just quoted two epigrams from the Mousa Paidiké (Greek Anthology, sect. 12): No. 123, from a lover to a lad who has conquered in a boxing-match; No. 192, where Straton says he prefers the dust and oil of the wrestling-ground to the curls and perfumes of a woman's robe.

37:1 Page 255 B.

37:2 1,025

37:3 Charmides, 153.

38:1 Lysis, 206. This seems, however, to imply that on other occasions they were separated.

38:2 Charmides, p. 154, Jowett.

38:3 Page 155, Jowett.

39:1 Cap i. 8.

39:2 See cap. viii. 7. This is said before the boy, and in his hearing.

39:3 Cap. iii. 12.

39:4 Cap. iv. 10, et seq. The English is an abridgment.

40:1 Laws, i. 636 C.

40:2 Athen., xiii. 602 D.

40:3 Eroticus.

40:4 Line 60, ascribed to Theocritus, but not genuine.

40:5 Athen., xiii. 609 D.

40:6 Mousa Paidiké, 86.

41:1 Compare the Atys of Catullus: "Ego mulier, ego adolescens, ego ephebus, ego puer, Ego gymnasi fui flos, ego eram decus olei."

41:2 See the law on these points in Æsch. adv. Timarchum.

41:3 Thus Aristophanes quoted above.

41:4 Aristoph., Ach., 144, and Mousa Paidiké, 120.

42:1 See Sir William Hamilton's Vases.

42:2 Lysias, according to Suidas, was the author of five Erotic epistles addressed to young men.

42:3 See Aristoph., Plutus, 153-159; Birds, 704-707. Cp. Mousa Paidiké, 44 239, 237. The boys made extraordinary demands upon their lovers generosity. The curious tale told about Alcibiades points in this direction. In Crete they did the like, but also set their lovers to execute difficult tasks as Eurystheus imposed the twelve labours on Herakles.

42:4 Page 29.

42:5 Mousa Paidiké, 8: cp. a fragment of Crates, Poetæ Conici, Didot, p. 83.

43:1 Comici Græci, Didot, pp. 562, 31, 308.

43:2 It is curious to compare the passage in the second Philippic about the youth of Mark Antony with the story told by Plutarch about Alcibiades, who left the custody of his guardians for the house of Democrates.

43:3 See both Lysias against Simon and Æschines against Timarchus.

43:4 Peace, line 11; compare the word Pallakion in Plato, Comici Græci, p. 26 1.

43:5 Diog. Laert., ii. 105.

43:6 Plato's Phædo, p. 89.

44:1 Orat. Attici, vol. ii. p. 223.

44:2 See Herodotus. Max. Tyr. tells the story (Dissert., xxiv. 1) in detail. The boy's name was Actæon, wherefore he may be compared, he says, to that other Actæon who was torn to death by his own dogs.



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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2009, 06:19:36 am »

XIV.
We have seen in the foregoing section that paiderastia at Athens was closely associated with liberty, manly sports, severe studies, enthusiasm, self-sacrifice, self-control, and deeds of daring, by those who cared for those things. It has also been made abundantly manifest that no serious moral shame attached to persons who used boys like women, but that effeminate youths of free birth were stigmatised for their indecent profligacy. It remains still to ascertain the more delicate distinctions which were drawn by Attic law and custom in this matter, though what has been already quoted from Pausanias in the Symposium of Plato may be: taken fairly to express the code of honour among gentlemen.

In the Plutus 3 Aristophanes is careful to divide "boys with lovers," into "the good," and "the strumpets." This distinction


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will serve as basis for the following remarks. A very definite line was drawn by the Athenians between boys who accepted the addresses of their lovers because they liked them or because they were ambitious of comradeship with men of spirit, and those who sold their bodies for money. Minute inquiry was never instituted into the conduct of the former class; else Alcibiades could not have made his famous declaration about Socrates, 1 nor would Plato in the Phædrus have regarded an occasional breach of chastity, under the compulsion of violent passion, as a venial error. 2 The latter, on the other hand, besides being visited with universal censure, were disqualified by law from exercising the privileges of the franchise, from undertaking embassies, from frequenting the Agora, and from taking part in public festivals, under the penalty of death. Æschines, from whom we learn the wording of this statute, adds: 3 "This law he passed with regard to youths who sin with facility and readiness against their own bodies." He then proceeds to define the true nature of prostitution, prohibited by law to citizens of Athens. It is this: "Any one who acts in this way towards a single man, provided he do it with payment, seems to me to be liable to the reproach in question." 4 The whole discussion turns upon the word Misthos. The orator is cautious to meet the argument that a written contract was necessary in order to construct a case of Hetaireia at law. 5 In the statute, he observes, there is no mention of "contract" or "deed in writing." The offence has been sufficiently established "when in any way whatever payment has been made."

In order to illustrate the feeling of the Athenians with regard to making profit out of paiderastic relations, I may perhaps be permitted to interrupt the analysis of Æschines by referring to Xenophon's character (Anab. si, 6, 21) of the Strategus Menon. The whole tenor of his judgment is extremely unfavourable toward this man, who invariably pursued selfish and mean aims, debasing virtuous qualities like ambition and industry in the mere pursuit of wealth and power. He was, in fact, devoid of chivalrous feeling, good taste, and honour. About his behaviour as a youth Xenophon writes: "With Ariæus, the barbarian, because this man was partial to handsome youths, he became extremely intimate while he was still in the prime of adolescence; moreover, he had Tharypas for his beloved, he being






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beardless and Tharypas a man with a beard." His crime seems to have been that he prostituted himself to the barbarian Ariæus in order to advance his interest, and, probably with the same view, flattered the effeminate vanity of an elder man by pretending to love him out of the right time or season. Plutarch (Pyrrhus) mentions this Tharypas as the first to introduce Hellenic manners among the Molossi.

When more than one lover was admitted, the guilt was aggravated. "It will then be manifest that he has not only acted the strumpet, but that he has been a common prostitute. For he who does this indifferently, and with money, and for money, seems to have incurred that designation. "Thus the question finally put to the Areopagus, in which court the case against Timarchus was tried, ran as follows, in the words of Æschines: 1 "To which of these two classes will you reckon Timarchus--to those who have had a lover, or to those who have been prostitutes?" In his rhetorical exposition Æschines defines the true character of the virtuous Eromenos. Frankly admitting his own partiality for beautiful young men, he argues after this fashion: 2 "I do not attach any blame to love. I do not take away the character of handsome lads. I do not deny that I have often loved, and had many quarrels and jealousies in this matter. But I establish this as an irrefutable fact, that, while the love of beautiful and temperate youths does honour to humanity and indicates a generous temper, the buying of the person of a free boy for debauchery is a mark of insolence and ill-breeding. To be loved is an honour: to sell yourself is a disgrace." He then appeals to the law which forbade slaves to love, thereby implying that this was the privilege and pride of free men. He alludes to the heroic deed of Aristogeiton and to the great example of Achilles. Finally, he draws up a list of well-known and respected citizens whose loves were notorious, and compares them with a parallel list of persons infamous for their debauchery. What remains in the peroration to this invective traverses the same ground. Some phrases may be quoted which illustrate the popular feeling of the Athenians. Timarchus is stigmatised 3 as "the man and male who in spite of this has debauched his body by womanly acts of lust," and again as "one who against the law of nature has given himself to lewdness." It is obvious here that Æschines, the self-avowed boy-lover, while seeking to crush his opponent by flinging effeminacy and unnatural behaviour in his teeth,




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assumes at the same time that honourable paiderastia implies no such disgrace. Again, he observes that it is as easy to recognise a pathic by his impudent behaviour as a gymnast by his muscles. Lastly, he bids the judges force intemperate lovers to abstain from free youths and satisfy their lusts upon the persons of foreigners and aliens. 1 The whole matter at this distance of time is obscure, nor can we hope to apprehend the full force of distinctions drawn by a Greek orator appealing to a Greek audience. We may, indeed, fairly presume that, as is always the case with popular ethics, considerable confusion existed in the minds of the Athenians themselves, and that even for them to formulate the whole of their social feelings on this topic consistently, would have been impossible. The main point, however, seems to be that at Athens it was held honourable to love free boys with decency; that the conduct of lovers between themselves, within the limits of recognised friendship, was not challenged; and that no particular shame attached to profligate persons so long as they refrained from tampering with the sons of citizens. 2




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Footnotes
44:3 153.

45:1 Symph., 217.

45:2 Phædr., 256.

45:3 Page 17. My quotations are made from Dobson's Oratores Attici, vol. xii., and the references are to his pages.

45:4 Page 30.

45:5 Page 67.

46:1 Page 67.

46:2 Page 59.

46:3 Page 75.

47:1 Page 78.

47:2 Æschines. p. 27, apologises to Misgolas, who was a man, he says, of good breeding, for being obliged to expose his early connection with Timarchus. Misgolas, however, is more than once mentioned by the comic poets with contempt as a notorious rake.



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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2009, 06:20:16 am »

XV.
The sources from which our information has hitherto been drawn--speeches, poems, biographies, and the dramatic parts of dialogues--yield more real knowledge about the facts of Athenian paiderastia than can be found in the speculations of philosophers. In Aristotle, for instance, paiderastia is almost conspicuous by its absence It is true that he speculates upon the Cretan customs in the Politics, mentions the prevalence of boy-love among the Kelts, and incidentally notices the legends of Diocles and Cleomachus; 3 but he never discusses the matter as fully as might have been expected from a philosopher whose speculations covered the whole field of Greek experience. The chapters on Philia in the Ethics might indeed have been written by a modern moralist for modern readers, though it is possible that in his treatment of "friendship with pleasure for its object" and "friendship with advantage for its object," Aristotle is aiming at the vicious sort of paiderastia. As regards his silence in the


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[paragraph continues] Politics, it is worth noticing that this treatise breaks off at the very point where we should naturally look for a scientific handling of the education of the passions, and, therefore, it is possible that we may have lost the weightiest utterance of Greek philosophy upon the matter of our enquiry.

Though Aristotle contains but little to the purpose, the case is different with Plato; nor would it be possible to omit a detailed examination of the Platonic doctrine on the topic or to neglect the attempt he made to analyse and purify a passion capable, according to his earlier philosophical speculations, of supplying the starting-point for spiritual progress.

The first point to notice in the Platonic treatment of paiderastia is the difference between the ethical opinions expressed in the Phædrus, Symposium, Republic, Charmides, and Lysis, on the one hand, and those expounded in the Laws upon the other. The Laws, which are probably a genuine work of Plato's old age, condemn that passion which in the Phædrus and Symposium he exalted as the greatest boon of human life and as the groundwork of the philosophical temperament; the ordinary social manifestations of which he described with sympathy in the Lysis and the Charmides, and which he viewed with more than toleration in the Republic. It is not my business to offer a solution of this contradiction; but I may observe that Socrates, who plays the part of protagonist in nearly all the other dialogues of Plato, and who, as we shall see, professed a special cult of love, is conspicuous by his absence in the Laws. It is, therefore, not improbable that the philosophical idealisation of paiderastia, to which the name of Platonic love is usually given, should rather be described as Socratic. However that may be, I think it will be well to deal first with the doctrine put into the mouth of the Athenian stranger in the Laws, and then to pass on to the consideration of what Socrates is made to say upon the subject of Greek love in the earlier dialogues.

The position assumed by Plato in the Laws (p. 636) is this: Syssitia and gymnasia are excellent institutions in their way, but they have a tendency to degrade natural love in man below the level of the beasts. Pleasure is only natural when it arises out of the intercourse between men and women, but the intercourse between men and men, or women and women, is contrary to nature. 1 The bold attempt at overleaping Nature's laws was due originally to unbridled lust.


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This position is developed in the eighth book (p. 836), where Plato directs his criticism, not only against what would now be termed the criminal intercourse between persons of the same sex, but also against incontinence in general. While framing a law of almost monastic rigour for the regulation of the sexual appetite, he remains an ancient Greek. He does not reach the point of view from which women are regarded as the proper objects of both passion and friendship, as the fit companions of men in all relations of life; far less does he revert to his earlier speculations upon the enthusiasm generated by a noble passion. The modern ideal of marriage and the chivalrous conception of womanhood as worthy to be worshipped are alike unknown to him. Abstinence from the delights of love, continence except for the sole end of procreation, is the rule which he proposes to the world.

There are three distinct things, Plato argues, which, owing to the inadequacy of language to represent states of thought, have been confounded. 1 These are friendship, desire, and a third mixed species. Friendship is further described as the virtuous affection of equals in taste, age and station. Desire is always founded on a sense of contrast. While friendship is "gentle and mutual through life," desire is "fierce and wild." 2 The true friend seeks to live chastely with the chaste object of his attachment, whose soul he loves. The lustful lover longs to enjoy the flower of his youth and cares only for the body. The third sort is mixed of these; and a lover of this composite kind is torn asunder by two impulses, "the one commanding him to enjoy the youth's person, the other forbidding him to do so." 3 The description of the lover of the third species so exactly suits the paiderast of nobler




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quality in Greece, as I conceive him to have actually existed, that I shall give a full quotation of this passage: 1--

"As to the mixed sort, which is made up of them both, there is, first of all, a difficulty in determining what he who is possessed by this third love desires; moreover, he is drawn different ways, and is in doubt between the two principles, the one exhorting him to enjoy the beauty of the youth, and the other forbidding him; for the one is a lover of the body and hungers after beauty like ripe fruit, and would fain satisfy himself without any regard to the character of the beloved; the other holds the desire of the body to be a secondary matter, and, looking rather than loving with his soul, and desiring the soul of the other in a becoming manner, regards the satisfaction of the bodily love as wantonness; be reverences and respects temperance and courage and magnanimity and wisdom, and wishes to live chastely with the chaste object of his affection."

It is remarkable that Plato, in this analysis of the three sorts of love, keeps strictly within the bounds of paiderastia. He rejects desire and the mixed sort of love, reserving friendship (Philia) and ordaining marriage for the satisfaction of the aphrodisiac instinct at a fitting age, but more particularly for the procreation of children. Wantonness of every description is to be made as much a sin as incest, both by law and also by the world's opinion. If Olympian victors, with an earthly crown in view, learn to live chastely for the preservation of their strength while training, shall not men whose contest is for heavenly prizes keep their bodies undefiled, their spirits holy?

Socrates, the mystagogue of amorous philosophy, is absent, as I have observed, from this discussion of the laws. I turn now to those earlier dialogues in which he expounds the doctrine of Platonic, or, as I should prefer to call it, Socratic, love. We know from Xenophon, as well as Plato, that Socrates named his philosophy the Science of Love. The one thing on which I pride myself, he says, is knowledge of all matters that pertain to love. It furthermore appears that Socrates thought himself in a peculiar sense predestined to reform and to ennoble paiderastia. "Finding this passion at its height throughout the whole of Hellas, but most especially in Athens and all places full of evil lovers and of youths seduced, he felt a pity for both parties. Not being a lawgiver like Solon, he could not stop the custom by statute nor correct it by force, nor again dissuade men from it by his eloquence. He did not, however, on that account abandon the lovers or the boys to their fate, but tried to suggest a remedy." This passage, which I have paraphrased from


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[paragraph continues] Maximus Tyrius, 1 sufficiently expresses the attitude assumed by Socrates in the Platonic dialogue. He sympathises with Greek lovers, and avows a fervent admiration for beauty in the persons of young men. At the same time he declares himself upon the side of temperate and generous affection, and strives to utilise the erotic enthusiasm as a motive power in the direction of philosophy. This was really nothing more or less than an attempt to educate the Athenians by appealing to their own higher instincts. We have seen that paiderastia in the prime of Hellenic culture, whatever sensual admixture it might have contained, was a masculine passion. It was closely connected with the love of political independence, with the contempt for Asiatic luxury, with the gymnastic sports, and with the intellectual interests which distinguished Hellenes from barbarians. Partly owing to the social habits of their cities, and partly to the peculiar notions which they entertained regarding the seclusion of free women in the home, all the higher elements of spiritual and mental activity, and the conditions under which a generous passion was conceivable, had become the exclusive privileges of men. It was not that women occupied a semi-servile station, as some students have imagined, or that within the sphere of the household they were not the respected and trusted helpmates of men. But circumstances rendered it impossible for them to excite romantic and enthusiastic passion. The exaltation of the emotions was reserved for the male sex.

Socrates, therefore, sought to direct and moralise a force already existing. In the Phædrus he describes the passion of love between man and boy as a madness, not different in quality from that which inspires poets; and, after painting that fervid picture of the lover, he declares that the true object of a noble life can only be attained by passionate friends, bound together in the chains of close yet temperate comradeship, seeking always to advance in knowledge, self-restraint, and intellectual illumination. The doctrine of the Symposium is not different, except that Socrates here takes a higher flight. The same love is treated as the method whereby the soul may begin her mystic journey to the region of essential beauty, truth, and goodness. It has frequently been remarked that Plato's dialogues have to be read as poems even more than as philosophical treatises; and if this be true at all, it is


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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2009, 06:20:33 am »

particularly true of both the Phædrus and the Symposium. The lesson which both essays seem intended to inculcate is this: love, like poetry and prophecy, is a divine gift, which diverts men from the common current of their lives; but in the right use of this gift lies the secret of all human excellence. The passion which grovels in the filth of sensual grossness may be transformed into a glorious enthusiasm, a winged splendour, capable of soaring to the contemplation of eternal verities. How strange will it be, when once those heights of intellectual intuition have been scaled, to look down again to earth and view the Meirakidia in whom the soul first recognised the form of beauty! 1 There is a deeply rooted mysticism, an impenetrable soofyism, in the Socratic doctrine of Erôs.

In the Phædrus, the Symposium, the Charmides, the Lysis, and the Republic, Plato dramatised the real Socrates, while he gave liberal scope to his own personal sympathy for paiderastia. 2 In the Laws, if we accept this treatise as the work of his old age, he discarded the Socratic mask, and wrote a kind of palinode, which indicates more moral growth than pure disapprobation of the paiderastic passion. I have already tried to show that the point of view in the Laws is still Greek: that their author has not passed beyond the sphere of Hellenic ethics. He has only become more ascetic in his rule of conduct as the years advanced, importing the rumores senum severiorum into his discourse, and recognising the imperfection of that halting-point between the two logical extremes of Pagan license and monastic asceticism which in the fervour of his greener age he advocated. As a young man, Plato felt sympathy for love so long as it was paiderastic and not spent on women; he even condoned a lapse through warmth of feeling into self-indulgence. As an old man, he denounced carnal pleasure of all kinds, and sought to limit the amative instincts to the one sole end of procreation.

It has so happened that Plato's name is still connected with the ideal of passion purged from sensuality. Much might be written about the parallel between the mania of the Phædrus and the joy of medieval amorists. Nor would it be unprofitable



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to trace the points of contact between the love described by Dante in the Vita Nuova and the paiderastia exalted to the heavens by Plato. 1 The spiritual passion for Beatrice which raised the Florentine poet above vile things, and led him by the philosophic paths of the Convito to the beatific vision of the Paradiso, bears no slight resemblance to the Erôs of the Symposium. Yet we know that Dante could not have studied Plato's works; and the specific love which Plato praised he sternly stigmatised. The harmony between Greek and mediæval mysticism in this matter of the emotions rests on something permanent in human nature, common alike to paiderastia and to chivalrous enthusiasm for woman.

It would be well worth raising here the question whether there was not something special both in the Greek consciousness itself and also in the conditions under which it reached maturity, which justified the Socratic attempt to idealise paiderastia. Placed upon the borderland of barbarism, divided from the Asiatic races by an acute but narrow line of demarcation, the Greeks had arrived at the first free notion of the spirit in its disentanglement from matter and from symbolism. But this notion of the spirit was still æsthetic, rather than strictly ethical or rigorously scientific. In the Greek gods intelligence is perfected and character is well defined; but these gods are always concrete persons, with corporeal forms adapted to their spiritual essence. The interpenetration of spiritual and corporeal elements in a complete personality, the transfusion of intellectual and emotional faculties throughout a physical organism exactly suited to their adequate expression, marks Greek religion and Greek art. What the Greeks worshipped in their ritual, what they represented in their sculpture, was always personality--the spirit and the flesh in amity and mutual correspondence; the spirit burning through the flesh and moulding it to individual forms; the flesh providing a fit dwelling for the spirit which controlled and fashioned it. Only philosophers among the Greeks attempted to abstract the spirit as a self-sufficient, independent, conscious entity; and these philosophers were few, and what they wrote or spoke had little direct influence upon the people. This being the mental attitude of the Greek race, it followed as a necessity that their highest emotional aspirations, their purest personal service, should be devoted to clear and radiant incarnations of the spirit in a living person. They had never been taught to regard the body with a sense of shame, but rather to admire it as the temple of the spirit, and to accept its


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needs and instincts with natural acquiescence. Male beauty disengaged for them the passion it inspired from service of domestic, social, civic duties. The female form aroused desire, but it also suggested maternity and obligations of the household. The male form was the most perfect image of the deity, self-contained, subject to no necessities of impregnation, determined in its action only by the laws of its own reason and its own volition.

Quite a different order of ideas governed the ideal adopted by mediæval chivalry, The spirit in its self-sufficingness, detached from the body, antagonistic to the body, had been divinised by Christianity. Woman regarded as a virgin and at the same time a mother, the maiden-mother of God made man, had been exalted to the throne of heaven. The worship of woman became, by a natural and logical process, the correlative in actual human life for that worship of the incarnate Deity which was the essence of religion. A remarkable point in mediæval love is that the sensual appetites were, theoretically at least, excluded from the homage paid to woman. It was not the wife or the mistress, but the lady, who inspired the knight. Dante had children by Gemma, Petrarch had children by an unknown concubine, but it was the sainted Beatrice, it was the unattainable Laura, who received the homage of Dante and of Petrarch.

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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2009, 06:20:51 am »

In like manner the sensual appetites were, theoretically at least, excluded from Platonic paiderastia. It was the divine in human flesh--"the radiant sight of the beloved," to quote from Plato; "the fairest and most intellectual of earthly bodies," to borrow a phrase from Maximus Tyrius--it was this which stimulated the Greek lover, just as a similar incarnation of divinity inspired the chivalrous lover, Thus we might argue that the Platonic conception of paiderastia furnishes a close analogue to the chivalrous devotion to women, due regard being paid to the differences which existed between the plastic ideal of Greek religion and the romantic ideal of mediæval Christianity. The one veiled adultery, the other sodomy. That in both cases the conception was rarely realised in actual life only completes the parallel.

To pursue this inquiry further is, however, alien to my task. It is enough to have indicated the psychological agreement in respect of purified affection which underlay two such apparently antagonistic ideals of passion. Few modern writers, when they speak with admiration or contempt of Platonic love, reflect that in its origin this phrase denoted an absorbing passion for young men. The Platonist, as appears from numerous passages in the Platonic writings, would have despised the Petrarchist as a vulgar

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woman-lover The Petrarchist would have loathed the Platonist as a moral Pariah. Yet Platonic love, in both its Attic and its mediæval manifestations, was one and the same thing.

The philosophical ideal of paiderastia in Greece which bore the names of Socrates and Plato met with little but contempt. Cicero, in a passage which has been echoed by Gibbon, remarked upon "the thin device of virtue and friendship which amused the philosophers of Athens." 1 Epicurus criticised the Stoic doctrine of paiderastia by sententiously observing that philosophers only differed from the common race of men in so far as they could better cloak their vice with sophistries. This severe remark seems justified by the opinions ascribed to Zeno by Plutarch, Sextus Empiricus, and Stobæus. 2 But it may be doubted whether the real drift of the Stoic theory of love, founded on Adiaphopha, was understood. Lucian, in the Amores, 3 makes Charicles, the advocate of love for women, deride the Socratic ideal as vain nonsense, while Theomnestus, the man of pleasure, to whom the dispute is finally referred, decides that the philosophers are either fools or humbugs. 4 Daphnæus, in the erotic dialogue of Plutarch, arrives at a similar conclusion; and, in an essay on education, the same author contends that no prudent father would allow the sages to enter into intimacy with his sons. 5 The discredit incurred by philosophers in the later age of Greek culture is confirmed by more than one passage in Petronius and Juvenal, while Athenæus especially inveighs against philosophic lovers as acting against nature. 6 The attempt of the Platonic Socrates to elevate without altering the morals of his race may therefore be said fairly to have failed. Like his republic, his love existed only in heaven.


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Footnotes
47:3 See Pol., ii. 7, 5; ii. 6, 5; ii. 9, 6.

48:1 The advocates of paiderastia in Greece tried to refute the argument from animals (Laws, p. 636 B: cp. Daphnis and Chloe, lib. 4, what Daphnis says to Gnathon) by, the following considerations: Man is not a lion or a bear. Social life among human beings is highly artificial; forms of intimacy p. 49 unknown to the natural state are therefore to be regarded, like clothing, cooking of food, houses, machinery, &c., as the invention and privilege of rational beings. See Lucian, Amores, 33, 34, 35, 36, for a full exposition of this argument. See also Mousa Paidiké, 245. The curious thing is that many animals are addicted to all sorts of so-called unnatural vices.

49:1 Maximus Tyrius, who, in the rhetorical analysis of love alluded to before (p. 172), has closely followed Plato, insists upon the confusion introduced by language, Dissert., xxiv. 3. Again, Dissert., xxvi. 4; and compare Dissert., xxv. 4.

49:2 This is the development of the argument in the Phædrus, where Socrates, improvising an improvement on the speech of Lysias, compares lovers to wolves and boys to lambs. See the passage in Max. Tyr., where Socrates is compared to a shepherd, the Athenian lovers to butchers, and the boys to lambs upon the mountains.

49:3 This again is the development of the whole eloquent analysis of love, as it attacks the uninitiated and unphilosophic nature, in the Phædrus.

50:1 Jowett's trans., p. 837.

51:1 Dissert., xxv. r. The same author pertinently remarks that, though the teaching of Socrates on love might well have been considered perilous, it formed no part of the accusations of either Anvtus or Aristophanes. Dissert., xxiv. 5-7.

52:1 This is a remark of Diotima's. Maximus Tyrius (Dissert., xxvi. Cool gives it a very rational interpretation. Nowhere else, he says, but in the human form, does the light of the divine beauty shine so clear. This is the word of classic art, the word of the humanities, to use a phrase of the Renaissance. it finds an echo in many beautiful sonnets of Michelangelo.

52:2 See Bergk., vol. ii. pp. 616-629, for a critique of the canon of the highly paiderastic epigrams which bear Plato's name and for their text.

53:1 I select the Vita Nuova as the most eminent example of mediaeval erotic mysticism.



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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2009, 06:21:35 am »

XVI.
Philip of Macedon, when he pronounced the panegyric of the Sacred Band at Chæronea, uttered the funeral oration of Greek love in its nobler forms. With the decay of military spirit and the loss of freedom, there was no sphere left for that type of







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comradeship which I attempted to describe in Section IV. The philosophical ideal, to which some cultivated Attic thinkers had aspired, remained unrealised, except, we may perhaps suppose, in isolated instances. Meanwhile paiderastia as a vice did not diminish. It only grew more wanton and voluptuous. Little, therefore, can be gained by tracing its historical development further, although it is not without interest to note the mode of feeling and the opinion of some later poets and rhetoricians.

The idyllists are the only poets, if we except a few epigrammatists of the Anthology, who preserve a portion of the old heroic sentiment. No true student of Greek literature will have felt that he could strictly censure the paiderastic passages of the Thalysia, Aïtes, Hylas, Paidika. They have the ring of genuine and respectable emotion. This may also be said about the two fragments of Bion which begin Hespere tas eratas and Olbioi oi phileontes. The Duserôs, ascribed without due warrant to Theocritus, is in many respects a beautiful composition, but it lacks the fresh and manly touches of the master's style, and bears the stamp of an unwholesome rhetoric. Why, indeed, should we pity this suicide, and why should the statue of Love have fallen on the object of his admiration? Maximus Tyrius showed more sense when he contemptuously wrote about those men who killed themselves for love of a beautiful lad in Locri: 1 "And in good sooth they deserved to die."

The dialogue entitled Erotes, attributed to Lucian, deserves a paragraph. More than any other composition of the rhetorical age of Greek literature, it attempts a comprehensive treatment of erotic passion, and sums up the teaching of the doctors and the predilections of the vulgar in one treatise. 2 Like many of Lucian's compositions, it has what may be termed a retrospective and resumptive value. That is to say, it represents less the actual feeling of the author and his age than the result of his reading and reflection brought into harmony with his experience. The scene is laid at Cnidus in the groves of Aphrodite. The temple and the garden and the statue of Praxiteles are described with a luxury of language which strikes the keynote of the dialogue. We have exchanged the company of Plato, Xenophon, or Æschines for that of a Juvenalian Græculus, a delicate æsthetic voluptuary. Every epithet smells of musk and every phrase



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is a provocative. The interlocutors are Callicratides the Athenian and Charicles the Rhodian. Callicratides kept an establishment of exoleti; when the down upon their chins had grown beyond the proper point--"when the beard is just sprouting, when youth is in the prime of charm," they were drafted off to farms and country villages. Charicles maintained a harem of dancing-girls and flute-players. The one was "madly passionate for lads;" the other no less "mad for women." Charicles undertook the cause of women, Callicratides that of boys. Charicles began, The love of women is sanctioned by antiquity; it is natural; it endures through life; it alone provides pleasure for both sexes. Boys grow bearded, rough, and past their prime. Women always excite passion. Then Callicratides takes up his parable. Masculine love combines virtue with pleasure. While the love of women is a physical necessity, the love of boys is a product of high culture and an adjunct of philosophy. Paiderastia may be either vulgar or celestial; the second will be sought by men of liberal education and good manners. Then follow contrasted pictures of the lazy woman and the manly youth. The one provokes to sensuality, the other excites noble emulation in the ways of virile living. Lucian, summing up the arguments of the two pleaders, decides that Corinth must give way to Athens, adding, "Marriage is open to all men, but the love of boys to philosophers only." This verdict is referred to Theomnestus, a Don Juan of both sexes. He replies that both boys and women are good for pleasure; the philosophical arguments of Callicratides are cant.

This brief abstract of Lucian's dialogue on love indicates the cynicism with which its author viewed the subject, using the whole literature and all the experience of the Greeks to support a thesis of pure hedonism. The sybarites of Cairo or Constantinople at the present moment might employ the same arguments, except that they would omit the philosophic cant of Callicratides.

There is nothing in extant Greek literature of a date anterior to the Christian era which is foul in the same sense as that in which the works of Roman poets (Catullus and Martial), Italian poets (Beccatelli and Baffo), and French poets (Scarron and Voltaire) are foul. Only purblind students will be unable to perceive the difference between the obscenity of the Latin races and that of Aristophanes. The difference, indeed, is wide and radical, and strongly marked.

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[paragraph continues] It is the difference between a race naturally gifted with a delicate, aesthetic sense of beauty, and one in whom that sense was always subject to the perturbation of gross instincts. But with the first century of the new age a change came over even the imagination of the Greeks. Though they never lost their distinction of style, that precious gift of lightness and good taste conferred upon them with thew language, they borrowed something of their conquerors' vein, This makes itself felt in the Anthology. Straton and Rufinus suffered the contamination of the Roman genius, stronger in political organisation than that of Hellas, but coarser and less spiritually tempered in morals and in art. Straton was a native of Sardis who flourished in the second century. He compiled a book of paiderastic poems, consisting in a great measure of his own and Meleager's compositions, which now forms the twelfth section of the Palatine Anthology. This book he dedicated, not to the Muse, but to Zeus; for Zeus was the boy-lover among deities; 1 he bade it carry forth his message to fair youths throughout the world; 2 and he claimed a special inspiration from heaven for singing of one sole subject, paiderastia. 3 It may be said with truth that Straton understood the bent of his own genius. We trace a blunt earnestness of intention in his epigrams, a certainty of feeling and directness of artistic treatment, which show that he had only one object in view. Meleager has far higher qualities as a poet, and his feeling. as well as his style, is more exquisite. But he wavered between the love of boys and women, seeking in both the satisfaction of emotional yearnings which in the modern world would have marked him as a sentimentalist. The so-called Mousa Paidiké, "Muse of Boyhood," is a collection of two hundred and fifty-eight short poems, some of them of great artistic merit, in praise of boys and boy-love. The common-places of these epigrams are Ganymede and Erôs; 4 we hear but little of Aphrodite-her domain is the other section of the Anthology, called Erotika. A very small percentage of these compositions can be described as obscene; 5 none are nasty in the style of Martial or Ausonius; some are exceedingly picturesque; 6 a few are written in a strain of lofty or of lovely music; 7 one or two are delicate and subtle in their humour. 8 The whole collection supplies good means

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