Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome

Topics: Homosexuality, Roman Empire, Ancient Rome Pages: 4 (1354 words) Published: March 8, 2013
Homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome

Americans endlessly recycle the old conflicts: "first we fought about slavery, then segregation, then gender, and now sexual orientation"-(Anon). Homosexuality is an on-going conflict in America, as well as other countries. The history of homosexuality goes back to the ancient civilizations. As we have different ideas and ways of "dealing" with it, so did the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. Ancient Greece is considered as being the most accepting of homosexuality. The belief that the human body was worthy of respect and admiration is one of the reasons that homosexuality was tolerated and often accepted in society. They did not see it as an evil thing because they thought of it as a way to worship the beauty of a male body. Public nudity was encouraged among the people of greece. The love of the human body often led to the elderly, handicapped, and unattractive being used as a sacrifice to the gods. This great love of the body developed as a result of having too much leisure time, since the people of Greece did not have to constantly work to survive, unlike the people of Rome. As a result, it was not unusual for a man to acknowledge the attractiveness of another man, or to even develop a relationship with another man. Homosexuality was also a part of the greek art and literature. Greek poets wrote of same-sex love. Famous philosophers and writers such as Plato, Xenophon, and Plutarch discussed the topic, and tragedies on homosexual love became popular. Diogenes Laeurtius wrote of Alcibiades, the Athenian general and politician of the 5th century BC, "in his adolescence he drew away the husbands from their wives, and as a young man the wives from their husbands." The form of homosexuality that was most common in ancient Greece was pederasty. Pederasty meant a relationship between an adult man and a male youth. It was beneficial for both men because the adult male would provide knowledge,...

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