The relationship between a man and a boy, in Greek Times. Forerunner to Homosexuality?
Refers to the relationship between an adolescent boy and older man, in a sexual relationship, or not, depending on the period of time, and restrictions of that time period.
Though inaccurate, today's definition refers to an older man having anal intercourse with an adolescent boy.
In modern times, legal definitions would apply to pedophilia, child abuse, as it involves what today's society terms a minor engaged in inappropriate behavior with an adult.
Recorded details of pederast relationships exist from way back in Ancient Times, and were considered normal activities of that time, though in some cultures, such as the Greeks, were regulated by differing laws in the various city states.
Some of the earliest signs of this culture, or practice, is from the Cretans, who were Dorians, an early tribe of Greeks, that inhabited the Creek Islands, notably Crete.
This tribe was one of the three tribes that eventually formed the Greek Nation, of Ancient Times.
Records indicate that the practice was well in place during the period of the Minoan Period, around 1650-1500 BCE (Before Christ Existed).
Artifacts dating to that period seem to collaborate the presence of such customs. There are numerous depictions of males engaged in clearly sexual touching of younger males.
It should be noted, that this ritual or rite of passage was among those boys who were of the 'legal age' and in most societies that practices pederasty, there were strict age limits. While the age limits would not be accepted today, it is similar to our modern 'age of consent' rules.
History (Legend): Aristotle has written that the tradition was created by King Minos, on the island to control the population growth. He claims that the women were segregated from the men, and that rituals between men and boys were created, to satisfy the male needs, and limit the sexual relations between males and females on the island.
Recent discoveries claim that this association was assimilated by the Dorians more around 630 BC and that it then migrated to Sparta and then to the rest of the Greek Society.
The practice was for a boy to be 'kidnapped' by a noble, and taken to the woods for a lengthy time, where the older male would teach the younger one the art of hunting, comradeship, and other manly traits, including sex.
Upon returning to the community, the boy was lavished with gifts, and was given the opportunity to renounce the elder, or to confirm their adoration of the man, and become a part of the elder's family.
It also was a way to show a person was worthy of respect, of being a respected man of the community.
The 'abduction' was consensual and not harmful, physically. Historians seem to associate this act as a sign of worthiness.
Like today's modern society, there was conflict about the relationship between men and younger men. In some part of the Greek States, such as Sparta it was expected, while in some like in Iona, it was actually forbidden.
Depending on the particular region, state, the forms of pederasty were varied. In Boeotia for example, the boy and man were actually joined together as a couple in a formal ceremony, and actually lived together as such.
In Ellis the boy was showered with lavish gifts, and other perks.
In Iona it was strictly forbidden, yet in Spartan it was part of the tradition, though sexual relations between the older man and younger male was not encouraged.
In Sparta, the emphasis was on loyalty, on courage, as well as being handsome. Free Men were allowed to proclaim their love openly, though the young male was expected to be coy, to make the older man earn their love.
The ancient historians, such as Plato, made Pederasty something worthy, in which it was believed that if an older male did not have a younger male lover, they were somehow deficient in character.
At the same time, they blamed the increased spread of the practice for the growing lack of morality in their society.
Practice (Associated Acts): In some theories, the concept of Pederasty was a mannerism to control the local population growth. It was to provide the same measure of physical enjoyment for the male, the dominant gender, while insuring that the population was strictly regulated.
Noteworthy: There is a great deal of missing articles from the period of time, that are believed to have discussed, and described Pederasty in more details. It should be noted that these items simply have vanished, and that only passing mention of them is found in existing records.
These 'losses' are not believed to be due to ravages of time, or outside influences either, and some can argue it was due to the influence of the Church during the Renaissance, when such practices became outlawed, and deemed Immoral.
As part of making Christianity the governing religion of the Roman Empire, early Christian Emperors imposed harsh penalties on those who practiced the Greek Pederasty.
Yet despite the various penalties imposed, pederasty remained, though in less public displays. It's resilience to punishment and laws also gave rise to such proverbs from the Middle East, as "With wine and boys around, the monks have no need of the Devil to tempt them" [Abbott, E., A History of Celibacy, New York, 2000; p.101]