Greek Love Reconsidered
I'm waiting to post Greek Love Reconsidered by Thomas Hubbard. I expect to put it up in a week. I had also considered putting the text of the original Greek Love, by "J.Z. Eglinton" (Walter Breen) up on this site, but discovered that it is still in print, evidently as a print-on-demand item, by Ganymede Books, who claim copyright. For the rest, there are usually a selection of less expensive antiquarian copies from the three editions published in the 1960s, available through various internet book search services. (The one advantage of buying the Ganymede edition through Amazon is that on their site one can read a risibly hysterical Amazon "review" by Breen's son attacking his father, his mother (Marion Zimmer Bradley) and the book. While living with a pair of mad parents probably did not make for an easy childhood and adolescence, it is a pity that he evidently has fallen in with a victimologist shrink who believes that such an undignified display of dirty linen in public contributes to a 'cure'.)
The original editions - two - were published by the Oliver Layton Press in New York in 1964 and 1965. Oliver Layton was a partnership between the American bullion dealer Robert Bashlow (the money, d. 1980) and Walter Breen (the brains), which also published Casimir Dukahz's Asbestos Diary (1966), a second edition of Tuli Kupferberg's Book of the Body (1966), two issues of the International Journal of Greek Love, edited by Breen (Jan. 1965 and Nov. 1966), and the first edition of Michael Davidson's Some Boys (1969). They also negotiated a British edition of Greek Love (London: Neville Spearman, 1971), and a German translation by Albert Millrath, Griechische Liebe (Hamburg: Gala Verlag, 1967). Some history of the Oliver Layton Press can be found in Donald Mader's article on Walter Breen in V. Bullough, ed., Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context (NY: Harrington Park, 2002), and a further discussion of proposed books they never issued can be found in Mader's afterword to Alcibiades the Schoolboy (one of their proposed titles), to be found on this site, or in Alcibiades the Schoolboy (Amsterdam: Entimos, 2000).
Pederasty and Democracy: Marginalization of a Social Practice (as pdf)
Leagros and Euphronios: Painting Pederasty in Athens by H. A. Shapiro
Two. Leagros and Euphronios: Painting Pederasty in Athens H. A. Shapiro
Recent discussions of Greek homosexuality have rightly laid considerable stress on the evidence of Athenian black- and red-figure vase-painting, a body of primary source material that had been largely neglected in earlier text-based studies. Sir Kenneth Dover's landmark Greek Homosexuality of 1978 was the first full-scale attempt to exploit the evidence of the vases in writing social history. His work was in turn facilitated by that of Sir John Beazley, the greatest scholar of Greek vases, whose 1947 study of homosexual courting scenes was the first systematic collection and analysis of this substantial body of vases (now numbering well over 100). Though Beazley's study has at times been criticized as incomplete (Kilmer 1997), the fact is that the essential typology he established for courtship scenes has held up extremely well and continues to accommodate the great majority of new vases that have come to light since he wrote. The only needed precaution, as we shall see, is not to use this typology as a Procrustean bed for an art form that was not always as formulaic as some scholars have imagined.
Courtship Scenes: Standards and Exceptions
Beazley established that three stock motifs occur repeatedly in erotic scenes pairing a bearded man and a beardless youth or (less often) a youth with just the beginnings of a beard and a slightly younger boy (Beazley 1989: 4-25). In type alpha, the pair face each other, and the older wooer (erastês) through hand gestures makes clear his interest: chucking the boy's chin with one hand, while the other reaches for his genitals (Figs. 1, 3 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=7&topic_id=101). The beloved (erômenos) may or may not resist, with varying degrees of determination. Beazley's type beta encompasses the giving of gifts from erastês to erômenos (Figs. 2, 7 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=195), typically live animals that may be held by either the donor or the recipient (Koch-Harnack 1983). Finally, type gamma represents the sex act itself (Fig. 2 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=192), in one specific and somewhat cumbersome form, the erastês rubbing his erect penis between the thighs of the erômenos (Beazley's "intercrural intercourse").
This typology was just that, an attempt to bring order to a previously unstudied group of vase-paintings, without any attempt to relate them to other evidence for the practices or ideology depicted. Aside from establishing the chronological parameters (namely, that courtship scenes enter the Attic black-figure repertoire ca. 560 B.C., reach their greatest popularity in the later sixth century, and continue, though less frequent, in red-figure down to ca. 475, when they abruptly stop), Beazley did not attempt to relate their appearance and disappearance to the historical, social, or political development of Athens in these years.
Problems arose when social history and political ideology began to be written out of the vases, especially by historians not always familiar with the conventions of the highly stylized medium of Attic vase-painting. Every study has duly noted that the principal literary texts on Athenian pederasty, Plato's dialogues and fourth-century courtroom oratory, are at least a century later than the vases, raising serious doubts that the one body of evidence can be directly correlated with the other. Yet the urge to do so seems irresistable. Thus, for example, Dover and others adhere to the Platonic notion that the well-bred erômenos should at all times be reticent and modest, should finally acquiesce in the desires of his lover, but not experience any physical pleasure in the process (Dover 1978, 91-92; De Vries 1997). Any vase-painting that appears to show the erômenos being too forward or in a state of arousal must then be explained away. But Archaic vase-painting is notable for its uninhibited realism, and adolescent boys with raging hormones are not Platonic philosophers. We shall return to this issue below.
Similarly, the pederastic ideal of Plato and the philosophers dictates that there be a significant age difference between the mature erastês and the beardless (but already pubescent) erômenos. Beazley was able to show that this is true on most of the vases, where a fully bearded man wooes a smooth-cheeked boy (e.g. Fig. 1). But other conventions of the medium may confound our expectations. A desire for isocephaly (i.e. showing the heads all on the same level) may mean that the lover is not, as we might expect, any taller than his beloved (cf. Fig. 2), and where the heads are not preserved, it may be difficult to tell which is which (Kilmer 1997: 45-47). In later black-figure, the vase may be so sloppily painted that we cannot tell when a male figure is bearded or not. In red-figure, where the difference in unmistakeable, some scenes show the erastês as far from mature, just growing a downy sideburn (Fig. 4). The implied age difference of two or three years hardly corresponds to the philosophical notion of the mature lover -- presumably a married man with children of his own -- who initiates his beloved into the ways of manhood (Dover 1978: 42). It does, however, correspond to a reality of Athenian life, that boys and young men of different ages exercised together in the gymnasium and had many opportunities to come into intimate contact.
But the biggest problem with writing social history from the vases is that Greek vases very often depict ideology rather than lived reality. This principle lay behind my attempt, nearly twenty years ago, to explain the very different forms of intercourse seen in homosexual scenes and in heterosexual ones. The difference, as I argued, is that the women in heterosexual scenes are all hetairai, or prostitutes, and the men who penetrate them -- orally, vaginally, or anally -- are clearly expressing an asymmetrical power relationship. Erastês and erômenos, in contrast, are both free-born Athenians of the social élite, and their upright, face-to-face position reflects an egalitarian relationship (Shapiro 1981: 136-37). That the youth did at times allow himself to be penetrated can be inferred from remarks in Aristophanes and elsewhere (Henderson 1975: 209-213; Cohen 1994: 171-202; Hubbard 1998: 55-56), but, just as Plato would later use discreet euphemism to elide references to the sex act -- the beloved may gratify (charizesthai) his lover (e.g. Plato, Symposium 182A; 217A) -- so the vase-painters omit any reference to it as well.
Except, of course, when they don't. Kilmer has recently called attention to a so-called Tyrrhenian amphora in Orvieto that has long been known and clearly shows anal intercourse involving a man almost prostrate on the ground and another approaching him from behind (Kilmer 1997: 44, pl. 7). To this may be added a second Tyrrhenian amphora, in Montpellier (Figs. 5-6 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=189 and http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=191) with two pairs copulating on either side of a big mixing bowl for wine. In the couple on the left, the gender of the figure being penetrated is difficult to determine and could be female (Laurens 1984: 46). But the couple on the right clearly consists of a bearded man bending over to ladle some wine and a youth perhaps playfully taking advantage of the man's vulnerable position to insert his penis. Not only do these scenes on Tyrrhenian vases seem to violate the rule just enunciated, viz. that anal intercourse between males is never depicted, but they do so doubly, since the passive partner has a full beard and the active one appears to be beardless. In fact it is this apparent role reversal which proves that the whole scene is far removed from the world of erastês and erômenos as we know it from the vases discussed above. It is simply a riotous drunken revel, or kômos (note the large bowl for wine) at which all inhibitions have broken down.
Nor is the scene unique among vases from this workshop, whose output numbers about 100, almost all of the same distinctive shape -- the ovoid, or egg-shaped, neck-amphora -- over a thirty-year period (ca. 560-530 BCE). The figure style is so idiosyncratic that it has been suggested the workshop was not even located in Athens, but in a remote corner of Attica (Carpenter 1984). The subject matter is likewise unusually crude by the standards of most Attic black-figure. Another Tyrrhenian amphora depicts eight dancing male komasts, one pointing lewdly to his own behind as his grossly erect companion approaches him (Huppert 1988: 262-64, with Fig. 7). Other Tyrrhenian amphoras are notable for their frequent displays of large erections in both heterosexual and homosexual contexts. This has sometimes been explained as an attempt to appeal to the Etruscan clientèle who bought virtually all the vases from this workshop (hence its original designation, "Tyrrhenian") and are assumed, on the basis of a few examples of hard-core erotica in Etruscan tomb painting, to have favored sexually explicit subject matter (Carpenter 1984). More importantly in our context, Tyrrhenian amphoras never show courtship scenes of the type so defined by Beazley: the groping, the gift-giving, or the intercrural intercourse. Thus the anal sex on the Orvieto and Montpellier amphoras does not violate the norms of homosexual courting; rather, it belongs to a whole other social world, that of the drunken kômos. Here, allowing oneself to be penetrated is the mark of the katapugôn, a kind of male nymphmaniac who gives in to his desires and acts with complete abandon (Davidson 1997: 167-82). Other activities that belong to this black-figure genre include masturbation, urinating into a pot, and defecating spontaneously with no receptacle (Schauenburg 1974). The courtship of erastês and erômenos, in contrast, is localized in the palaistra or gymnasium, a very different ambience from the nocturnal, wine-saturated kômos.
A previously unpublished black-figure vase in a New York private collection presents an apparent anomaly that fits neither Beazley's typology nor my own distinction between courting and komastic revelry (Fig. 7 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=195). On this hydria (water jar) of a special type known as a kalpis, two kinds of intercourse are rather pointedly juxtaposed. At the right, a bearded erastês is engaged in intercrural intercourse with a stationary erômenos who neither resists nor willingly acquiesces. At the left, a boy bends over to be penetrated anally by a much bigger, more muscular youth. This is the only vase known to me on which anal intercourse forms part of a courting scene rather than a kômos. The unexpectedness of the act is evident. It has certainly drawn the attention of a youth at the center of the scene, who brought a hare as a love gift, but now finds himself suddenly without a partner. Perhaps the object of his affection is the very boy who has been abruptly overpowered by a much stronger youth. The manner in which the boy braces himself against the fictive wall of the picture panel may be paralleled on many contemporary red-figure scenes of copulating heterosexual couples (e.g. Dierichs 1993: 74, fig. 131) but is unique in this context. The bearded/beardless distinction may once again offer a clue to interpretation. While the one bearded man in the scene demonstrates the "proper" means of consummating his desire, the less experienced and more impetuous youth violates the behavioral norm.
It should be clear by now that the three formulaic scenes of erastês and erômenos, first identified and assembled by Beazley into a kind of sequence of courtship, by no means exhaust the variety of homoerotic imagery on Attic vases or the social contexts in which homosexual activity took place. But artistic context is also crucial. Poses and gestures that are intentionally erotic for one painter may not be for another. Thus, for example, an eccentric black-figure painter nicknamed the Affecter often pairs two men conversing animatedly, their hands somewhat recalling Beazley's "up and down" position (Hupperts 1988: 261-62; Figs. 8-9). An animal that in other contexts would be a love gift, such as a live hare, may be exchanged, yet the fact that both men are bearded rules out a pederastic encounter. Rather, these encounters take place in the presence of the god Dionysos, far removed from the world of courtship in the gymnasium. It is obvious to anyone who has spent time in the Mediterranean that these men are doing nothing more than speaking with their hands (cf. Beazley, ABV 238).
Red-Figure Vases: Re-configuring Homoeroticism
At the lower end of the chronological spectrum, it has remained unexplained why courting scenes disappear from red-figure rather abruptly during the decade 480/70. I had earlier argued that their place is taken by mythological analogues of the pederastic relationship, such as Zeus and Ganymede (Shapiro 1981: 142). This phenomenon must be considered together with the disappearance of the scenes of heterosexual intercourse that had been so popular in Late Archaic red-figure. The explanation, I believe, must be sought in the socio-political sphere, i.e., that with the steady rise of the Athenian democracy (first instituted in 508 BCE, but firmly rooted only after the Persian Wars of 489/79), and the increased focus on the integrity of the nuclear family that culminated in the Periclean Citizenship Law of 451/50, all forms of recreational sex, whether with prostitutes or with boys, were no longer fit subjects to celebrate in a popular art form. This does not mean that pederastic relationships ceased to exist (as is evident from Plato's dialogues), any more than that Athenian men stopped frequenting prostitutes. Rather, both activities were at odds with the family-values ideology of Periclean Athens.
In the case of heterosexual scenes, the shift could hardly be more striking, from hard-core pornography to pictures out of Family Circle in the space of less than a generation (Keuls 1985: ch. 4). But in the homoerotic sphere, the situation is not at all parallel. We must be wary of equating the end of Beazley's courting scenes with a suppression of homoerotic sentiment or its easy sublimation into the realm of myth. And once again, it is essential to take into consideration the artistic predilections of particular painters and workshops. To cite one example: the great master of Late Archaic and early Classical red-figure, the Berlin Painter, and his followers favored a very spare arrangement of a single figure on either side of a krater or amphora (Figs. 10-11). Many such vases juxtapose a bearded man with a beardless, nude youth in what has recently been called an "understated courting scene" (C. Joyce, in Cohen and Shapiro 1995: 12). The disposition of the figures, on opposite sides of the vase, precludes the physical contact of earlier courting couples, yet the atmosphere may be no less sexually charged. A new artistic formula reflects, even if inadvertently, a socially driven desire to transform an overtly erotic encounter into something more ambiguous, more implicit than explicit.
In tracing the evolution of courtship scenes in my earlier paper (Shapiro 1981), I had largely ignored the transition from black-figure to red, assuming that the one picks up where the other leaves off. It is striking, however, that the standard courtship scene is quite rare in the first two generations of red-figure (ca. 530-500), even though it reaches its peak of black-figure popularity in these very years. Beazley had already noticed certain key differences, for example, that the new technique usually substitutes the motif of the kiss for the more Archaic chucking of the chin (Beazley 1989: 22). An amphora of ca. 520, attributed to the Dikaios Painter (Fig. 12 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=12&topic_id=165), is in fact the earliest in a series of four or five vases, reaching down to the early fifth century, with a (usually) young unbearded erastês and an even younger boy embracing, the eyes meeting and faces coming so close together that we can only imagine they are about to kiss (Kilmer 1993a: 14-15). It is surely no accident that the very same motif enters the repertoire of heterosexual love-making in the same years, most notably on the name-vase of the Kiss Painter (ARV2 177, below, 1). A recently published addition to the group of kissing pairs in pederastic scenes is a cup in the Getty Museum with a bearded man leaning over to kiss a youth seated on a square block (Kilmer 1997: 41). That the affection is mutual is made clear by the youth's gesture, reaching out both arms around his lover's head and neck.
This naturally returns us to the larger question of the role of the younger partner in courtship scenes, a question that has particularly troubled observers conditioned by Plato to believe that the erômenos only tolerates his lover's advances but never feels any physical attraction or pleasure. The vases clearly convey a very different impression, and not only the latest ones, in red-figure after 500. Gestures that have usually been interpreted as expressing the boy's resistance may instead be meant to convey affection (De Vries 1997), and the younger the boy, the more likely he is to reciprocate his wooer's affection. For some modern viewers, conditioned to regard the pederastic relationship as a form of child abuse and an adolescent boy as invariably a victim, the Greek openness in showing the boy's sexual response in such a positive light may be unnerving.
Earlier scholarship based the idea of the unwillingness of the erômenos on three iconographic elements: his wooden posture, compared to the bent-kneed excitement of the wooer (Figs. 1, 7 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=195), the consistent lack of an erection, and the occasional restraining or protecting gesture, when he grasps one arm of the erastês or places a hand in front of his own groin (e.g. Beazley 1989: pl. 4-5; cf. Fig. 1 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=7&topic_id=101). The latter motifs express not distaste, but rather the presumed modesty and reticence of a well-bred youth, a topos made much more explicit in red-figure, where the erômenos may keep himself tightly wrapped in his mantle to proclaim his aidôs, a Greek term for "shame" in the positive sense of a self-controlled modesty (Ferrari 1990; cf. Reinsberg 1989: 184, fig. 101 for a good example).
The stiff posture of the black-figure erômenos is at least in part a convention of the medium, as it is not true of every black-figure vase and is almost never true in red-figure. The lack of an erection is sometimes seen as the most decisive factor, since this contrasts so markedly with the ithyphallic erastês (cf. Fig. 1). Yet a significant number of erastai are not erect either, indicating that the encounter has just begun (e.g. Shapiro 1981: pl. 24, fig. 1). The converse -- both partners aroused to erection -- is never depicted. This is yet another indication that pederastic scenes cannot be judged by the standards of heterosexual erotica, where the erect penis is a sine qua non. Ithyphallic symposiasts may be masturbated or fellated by their prostitutes (e.g. Dierichs 1993: 73, fig. 128b; 77, fig. 142a), but this would be inappropriate behavior to depict for a male couple, since it would make one partner the sexual subordinate of the other.
Leagros and Euphronios
The gap in courtship scenes in early red-figure has been narrowed with the publication in 1983 of the remarkable psykter (wine-cooler) in Malibu attributed to Smikros, with four pairs of youths and boys, along with two single athletes, in the wrestling school (Frel 1983; EdM no. 60; Figs. 13-14 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=12&topic_id=164 http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=7&topic_id=107 http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=7&topic_id=108 http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=12&topic_id=174). They could be read, like the couples on the nearly contemporary Peithinos cup (ARV2 115, 2; Dover 1978, R196; Fig. 4), almost as a manual for seduction, showing the couples in poses of increasing intimacy. The furthest along are a youth named Hegerthos who embraces an unnamed boy, their faces coming together for a kiss (EdM 252, below). In chronological terms, this scene, dated ca. 510 BCE, completes the kissing sequence, from the earliest example on the Louvre amphora by the Dikaios Painter (Fig. 12 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=12&topic_id=165) to the series of cups from about 500 on.
Inscriptions name all the figures on the Getty psykter but two, and several of the names can be found elsewhere on vases of the Pioneer group. But two in particular have astonished all commentators on the vase: "Euphronios," written beside a youth reaching out to a boy with the words "Leagros kalos" beside him (EdM 253, above; Fig. 13 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=12&topic_id=164 ; cf. Kilmer 1993b, 187-89, questioning the placement and significance of the inscriptions). What are we to make of this couple, Euphronios, the well-known, but presumably low-status vase-painter and contemporary of Smikros, courting the young Leagros, an aristocrat whose life and career are only sketchily known, but who caught the eye of many painters, both black-figure and red (ABV 669; ARV2 1591-94; Robinson and Fluck 1932: 132-36)? Several avenues of interpretation have been proposed (Keuls 1989; cf. Shapiro 1995). Some have taken the depiction of Euphronios as erastês at face value and seen in it evidence that the practise of pederasty had spread beyond the confines of the Athenian aristocracy by the late sixth century (Schäfer 1997: 51). Martin Robertson rejects the attribution to Smikros of this "grossly inept" work and believes the painter was an outsider "rudely parodying" the style of the Pioneers (Robertson 1992: 26-27). In this scenario, the presence of Euphronios would be a similarly rude joke, a mean-spirited attempt to puncture the pretensions of a successful painter who enjoyed the patronage of the élite.
If, however, we accept the attribution to Smikros, then we must inevitably compare the splendid calyx-krater (mixing bowl) in Munich, a masterpiece by Euphronios, that places a handsome young symposiast named Smikros alongside a bearded companion on the couch (EdM no. 5). The Getty psykter would then be Smikros's way of returning the compliment, and each might be poking gentle fun at the other by inserting him into the gatherings of the rich. "In your dreams, Euphronios [or Smikros]" would be the message from one rival painter to the other. That the painters did have both a well developed sense of humor and a sense of self is evident on Smikros's masterpiece, a large wine jar with symposium scenes, one of the young participants labelled as none other than Smikros: a self-portrait of the artist as a young dandy (ARV2 20, 1).
These and several other inscribed vases, recently collected and studied by Richard Neer (forthcoming), confirm that the group of painters dubbed by Beazley the Pioneers, and four in particular -- Ephronios, Euthymides, Smikros, and Phintias -- all knew and referred to one another in a spirit of friendly rivalry and comraderie. But to understand why Smikros (or whoever painted it) paired Euphronios with Leagros on the Getty psykter, I would suggest a different approach, one that locates this scene within a larger nexus of vases associated with Euphronios and invoking the name of or perhaps even depicting Leagros. These reveal new definitions of sexuality and, in particular, new alternatives to the rigid conventions of homosexual courtship from the black-figure era.
I start with the observation that Leagros is by far the most popular kalos ("beautiful boy") in all of Attic vase-painting. There are some 80 examples of his name attested on vases followed by the word kalos ("fair, handsome;" Boardman 1992, 48). Although more than a dozen painters praise him in the years ca. 515-500 BCE, within the close-knit Pioneer circle it is only Euphronios who shows an interest in Leagros. One fragment by Euthymides has an inscription that can be restored as "Leagros" (ARV2 29, 20), and no vase by Smikros (apart from the new psykter) or Phintias names him. Sixteen vases signed by or attributed to Euphronios carry the name of Leagros, representing about half his total oeuvre. The other Pioneers, who took such a keen interest in each other's lives and work, cannot have failed to notice Euphronios's predilection for naming Leagros on his vases. Could it be that this predilection reflects a special relationship -- call it a fascination or an infatuation -- outside the workshop as well? Several other vases seem to me rather suggestive.
Of the sixteen "Leagros kalos" inscriptions, Beazley explicitly takes only one as a "tag-kalos," that is, as identifying the youth beside it as Leagros (cf. Kilmer 1993b; Boardman 1992). This is on the reverse of a large mixing bowl (calyx-krater) in the Louvre, where Leagros is one of three young aristocrats attending a performance by a pipe-player probably named Melas (ARV2 14, 2; EdM no. 3; cf. Shapiro 1989: 43). Following Beazley's lead, we may consider whether several other instances of "Leagros kalos" accompany portraits of the young aristocrat. The tondo of Euphronios's great cup in Munich, for example, portrays a youth on horseback, decked out in the most fashionable costume of the day: thin chiton under a stiff, Thracian-style patterned cloak, high boots made of animal hide with flaps, and a traveller's hat, the petasos (ARV216-17, 17; EdM no. 41). The portrait of the young dandy is so perfect, it is hard not to read the name "Leagros," running from the horse's tail toward the youth's head, as that of the subject (but cf. Kilmer 1993b: 184).
Moving into the world of the symposium, we may first consider the neck-amphora (storage jar) by Euphronios in the Louvre with black body and, on each side of the neck a young symposiast, one twirling his kylix like a player of the party game kottabos, in which the participants flicked the dregs of the wine at a target, the other singing while he accompanies himself on a stringed instrument, the barbiton (ARV2 19,9; EdM no. 20). Both scenes carry the inscription "Leagros kalos," and there is nothing in the appearance of the two youths to suggest that they are not one and the same individual. Recently published fragments of a cup by Euphronios in a private collection have the name "[Lea]gr[os]" between a bearded, balding symposiast and a companion of whom only small traces remain (EdM no. 50). If the companion was a youth -- Leagros -- could the astonishingly portrait-like older man be one of his admirers, even the painter himself?
Thus far the picture of Leagros that emerges -- symposiast, stylish equestrian, devoté of music and song -- is one that could describe any Athenian aristocrat of the first years of the democracy. But still other vases flesh out the picture in unusual ways. Euphronios's psykter in St. Petersburg carries the most elaborate version of a subject repeated on several other Pioneer vases: nude prostitutes enjoying a symposium among themselves, a girls' night out (ARV2 16,15; EdM no. 33). The subject is surely a male soft-core fantasy rather than something that could have taken place in real life. But a jolt of reality is introduced in the toast of one Smikra as she hurls the dregs of wine in the party game of kottabos: "This one's for you, Leagros." (For the interpretation of the inscription see Csapo and Miller 1991: 377-39; Kilmer 1993b: 181-82). The implication is that Leagros was inordinately fond of the company of such ladies of the night, or perhaps thanks to his great good looks, they were inordinately fond of him. Either way, the utterance is clearly meant as a compliment, with a knowing smile, from the painter, Euphronios. Smikra turns up again, plying her trade in considerably less genteel circumstances, on the cup by the Thalia Painter that is one of the most drastic examples known of group sexual activity (ARV2 113, 7; Boardman and La Rocca: 90-91). Smikra, exhausted, sleeps beneath a couch on which the action is in full swing. Here, the prostitute wields a sandal, adding a dash of piquancy to the coupling with her bearded lover, while a youthful voyeur, waiting his turn, masturbates. The words "Leagros kalos" spread out across the picture field. Is it sheer coincidence that an aroused Leagros joins an orgy with same Smikra who had earlier tossed out a toast to him?
If the sandal was indeed known as Leagros's favorite sex toy, this might help explain the most eccentric scene among the vases by Euphronios that invoke the name of Leagros (ARV2 15,11; EdM no. 29; Fig. 15). On the neck-pelike in the Villa Giulia, a man with chiton wrapped about his waist leans forward in his backed chair to threaten with a sandal a young boy. The boy had been moving away, but curiously, he does not try to flee nor does he show any resistance as he turns to look back at the man "with what looks astonishingly like a cheeky grin" (Kilmer 1993b: 184). His expression is relaxed, and the right arm hangs calmly at his side. Most surprising, however, is the very long penis for such a young boy, almost erect though still pointing downward. In the field between the two figures is the inscription "Leagros kalos." One standard interpretation is that the boy has been caught masturbating and will be punished for it (Keuls 1985: 285-86). But his calm demeanor suggests that, far from fear, the sandal inspires in him the same sexual arousal that it betokens on the Thalia Painter's cup and elsewhere (Boardman 1976). Not only is this the only boy of such a tender age with such a large penis on a Greek vase, but the large and well-developed scrotum indicates that he is indeed exceptionally precocious (cf. McNiven 1995). The vase is one of the earliest attributed to Euphronios, dated very soon after 520 BCE (EdM 46), and thus perhaps the earliest bearing Leagros's name. The boy who would in a few years grow up to be the greatest heartthrob in Athens, the toast of prostitutes and gentlemen alike, is shown as an early adolescent sexually endowed beyond his years and preternaturally obsessed with the perverse pleasures that would mark his later life.
Much of that career was lovingly documented by Euphronios himself and several younger members of his workshop. One of these depicted a bearded man kneeling over and about to penetrate a prostitute, who reaches back to grasp his penis and direct it to its goal (ARV2 315,2; Kilmer 1993a: R434, Fig. 20; cf. Kilmer 1993b: 185). The name Leagros, in large, widely-spaced letters, runs all the way from the man's feet, along his back and arm, to the crown of his head. It is impossible to look at the scene without associating the name and the man, even if the word kalos (emerging from his mouth!) seems in conflict with his bearded maturity.
Who the recipients of these vases were, we cannot know, but even if Leagros's reputation as an oversexed Lothario was broadcast all over town, this will probably not have done his reputation any harm. On the contrary, it probably enhanced his popular appeal. In Niall Slater's recent, intriguing formulation, kalos -inscriptions are "tiny impresarios of performance, designed to bring the names of the honorands alive and insinuate them into the discussion, whether at the symposion or elsewhere" (Slater 1999: 157). Indeed, the family connection of Euphronios and his favorite young aristocrat may have gone on for decades, for the elderly Euphronios, now retired from painting, potted a fine cup decorated by a younger artist, the Pistoxenos Painter, and carrying an inscription in praise of Glaukon, the son of Leagros (ARV2 859-60, 1).
This survey of a small group of vases from the workshop of Euphronios not only documents what looks like a unique relationship of painter and patron, but may also suggest an explanation for the comparative absence of traditional courting scenes in early red-figure (Kilmer 1997: 38). The Pioneers had just as much interest in the homoerotic world of the Athenian elite as their black-figure predecessors, but they chose to express it in ways that broke free from the rigidly formulaic scenes of the older technique. Rather than the gymnasium, their favorite erotic milieu was the symposium, where erastês and erômenos would share not only a dining couch, but the rarified pleasures of poetry, song, and drink. The Getty psykter by Smikros shows that courtship in the gymnasium was not entirely forgotten, but was being reinvented, with a whole new cast of characters, often younger than before, freer and more imaginative in their poses, gestures, and responses (cf. Kilmer 1997: 40, pl. 3).
In the years after 500 BCE, when erotica of all kinds blossomed on Attic vases as never before, pederastic scenes, though rapidly overtaken by the heterosexual in popularity and numbers, nevertheless display a varied mix of old and new motifs. It is perhaps fitting that one of the very latest, before the sudden disappearance of the motif ca. 475, is also one of the most startling to modern eyes: a bearded man with hairy chest and powerfully erect penis fondling the crotch of a small, barely pubescent boy who, far from intimidated by this lavish display of potency, slips one arm affectionately around the man's neck and enjoys the attention (Paralipomena 366; Dover 1978: R520; Fig. 16 = http://www.utexas.edu/courses/cc348hubbard/imageindex.php?cat_id=17&topic_id=198). The bag of knucklebones in the boy's other hand suggests the childhood games that he is about to leave behind; the sponge and strigil behind the man, the world of the wrestling school he is about the enter; and the walking stick beside these, the world of the Athenian adult male citizen still to come after that. Here, on the cusp of adolescence, he is intiated into the world of sexual pleasure, perhaps not yet his own, but full of excitement and the anticipation of becoming a man himself.
Athenian Ideas about Cretan Pederasty by David B. Dodd
In studying ancient Greek pederasty, one often realizes how much our ancient sources were failing to write for posterity. When Plato or Anacreon speaks of the love of a man for an adolescent boy, we have no way of knowing exactly what kind of relationship they were talking about. They and their contemporary audience had themselves been in such relationships, or had close friends who were, so they put little effort into answering the sorts of questions that occur most readily to a reader from another time and culture, such as how old the participants were, how a man and a boy behaved toward each other, what made them especially appealing to each other, or what they did with each other to express their feelings. In other words, they do not give us the information that we have come to expect from reports about other cultures: how does the way these people pursued love and sex compare with the way I do?
We can get a good sense of how far away our sources are from what an anthropologist would tell us by considering a well-known passage from Plato’s Symposium. In a speech on love, Pausanias contrasts the customs of pederasty in Athens with those in Elis, Boeotia and Ionia, claiming that in these other parts of Greece, "It is laid out in a simple rule, while the custom here is complex. For in Elis and among the Boeotians, and wherever men are not skilled in speaking, there is a simple tradition that it is a good thing to gratify lovers, and no one, young or old, would call it shameful, in order, I suppose, that they should not have any trouble when they try to seduce boys, since they are not able to speak well. But all who live under foreign rule, in Ionia and many other places, traditionally consider pederasty shameful." (182A-B) In Athens, on the other hand, both erastês (“lover”) and erômenos (“beloved”) have their own separate customs, ". . . the former that he ought to do any service whatsoever for erômenoi who have gratified him, the latter that he ought to attend in any way whatsoever to someone who is making him wise and good." (184D) In other words, "people of other cities have rather primitive customs that reflect their inferior qualities, while we have sophisticated practices that encourage virtue," an attitude that makes far more sense as after-dinner discussion, the form in which it is presented, than as ethnographic information. Knowing that the Athenians thought the boys of some cities would sleep with anyone, while the boys of other cities would not sleep with anybody, is quite entertaining, but given that it is over two thousand years out-of-date as a guide for sex tourism, a certain frustration with this sort of information is understandable.
On the other hand, the Greeks were interested in issues of cultural comparison, although they considered it part of the practice of history. Indeed, Herodotus, the reputed “father of history,” has an equal claim to being father of ethnography. Unfortunately for the student of Greek culture, the Greeks wrote mostly about how non-Greeks lived differently from Greeks, assuming that the reader would know how Greeks lived. Only rarely did they record the behavior of Greeks, either because some particular institution or event seemed very different from anything else they did, or because the Greeks they were describing behaved quite differently from the Greeks for whom they were writing.
To this latter category belongs a truly ethnographic description of a form of Greek pederastic relationship, an account of ritualized abductions of young men that the historian Ephorus, writing in the fourth century BC, ascribed to Greeks living on the island of Crete. Ephorus writes that the Cretans pursued love affairs with boys through a sort of ritual abduction: "They have a unique custom with regard to love affairs. For they do not win their erômenoi through persuasion, but through abduction. The erastês warns his friends three or more days in advance that he is going to carry out the abduction. It is most shameful for them to hide the boy or not allow him to travel the appointed road, as this is viewed as a confession that the boy is unworthy of such an erastês. When they meet him, if the abductor is a man equal to or surpassing the social standing, and all else, of the boy, they only fight and pursue him a bit, enough to fulfill what is customary, and after that they turn the boy over and enjoy the occasion. But if the abductor is unworthy, they prevent him from taking the boy. The pursuit ends when the boy is brought to the andreion [a building in which a group of Cretan men took meals together] of the one who seized him. They think most desirable not the boy distinguished by beauty, but the one distinguished by bravery and good behavior. After giving him presents, he takes the boy away to any place in the countryside he wishes, and those who were present at the abduction accompany them; after feasting and hunting together for two months — for it is not permitted to keep the boy away any longer than that — they come down to the city. The boy is set free upon receiving as gifts military equipment, an ox, a drinking cup — these are the traditional gifts — and many other things, at such expense that his friends also contribute because of the magnitude of his expenses. The boy sacrifices this ox to Zeus and holds a feast for those who came down with him; then he gives his opinion of his time with his erastês, whether it has happened to please him or not, for the custom gives him this prerogative, in order that, if violence has been used against him in the course of the abduction, he have the power at this point to avenge himself and escape. For those who are good-looking and from illustrious families it is a disgrace to not get an erastês, since it is assumed that they suffer this because of their manner of living. The parastathentes ("sidekicks") — this is their name for those who were abducted — receive special honors in the dances and the most honored places at the races, and they are permitted to outfit themselves differently from the others, in the equipment they have received from their erastai. And not only then, but also when they are grown, they wear an outfit distinct from those of other men, from which each of them will be recognized as kleinos (“famous”). For they call the erômenos a kleinos, and they call the erastês a philêtor (“lover”). These then are their customs regarding love affairs." (FGrH 70 F 149)
In the kidnapping itself, the erastês displays the sort of aggressive interest in a boy that was also characteristic of pederasty elsewhere in Greece, and which scholars since Kenneth Dover have taken as evidence that an asymmetry of power was fundamental to ancient erotics. The erastês actually abducts his erômenos, and while this action seems to consist largely of a sham fight, there is a certain seriousness to it in that the erômenos was not warned in advance of the action, and so was certainly in a position to offer some real resistance. Moreover, he seems to have had no real choice about whether to go to the country with his erastês, once he had been brought to the andreion, the place where the erastês takes meals with other men of his community. We also see the lover engaged in activity that increases the social position of his beloved, inasmuch as wearing beautiful armor, leading feasts and having a good reputation distinguish one as a man of importance in Greek literature and art from the Iliad on. In this latter respect, the rite seems to serve as an ideal form of the sort of education that Pausanias praises in Plato’s Symposium.
This combination of an abduction and a later elevation in status has also suggested to some modern scholars that this ritual was a variant of the tribal initiations that mark the passage from childhood to manhood in many societies all over the world. Another feature of the rite which supports such an interpretation is the degree to which it involves not just erastês and erômenos, but the larger social groups they belong to. The affair involves two groups of individuals in various roles: the friends of the erômenos and the friends of the erastês. The erastês arranges the abduction itself through the friends of the boy he wishes to abduct; they arrange for the boy to be at the appointed place and time, and if they feel that the erastês is not worthy of their friend, they can prevent him from abducting the boy. In addition, they accompany the pair in their hunting in the country. The erastês also makes use of his own friends when he first abducts the boy, for before they go into the country, he takes his erômenos to his andreion. When, at the end of the rite, he presents his erômenos with gifts, these gifts are so expensive that he cannot afford them on his own, so he must receive contributions from his friends. The affair between the two thus serves as an occasion which creates a bond between these two groups of men. Indeed, if some other remarks of Ephorus on Cretan social structure apply to the society that the historian is describing in his account of the abduction rite, we may be looking at a bond between two distinct male cohorts, since he says that in Crete, the adult men all belonged to particular andreia, while the adolescent boys were gathered into agelai (“herds”) as they were prepared for adulthood. The creation of this bond between a particular agela and a particular andreion is a phenomenon that is especially significant to those scholars who describe the rite as an initiation, as it suggests the incorporation of the agela into the andreion as the boys become adults.
However, Ephorus’ account is actually very ambiguous about whose friends are involved at each phase of the ritual; he is only clear that they are philoi (“friends”), a role that is echoed in the Cretan title of the erastês, philêtor. More important than whose friends they are is their role in the rite, that of audience and monitors over the rite. There is a recurring appeal for the approval of others over the course of the affair. Ephorus says clearly that this is the case for the erômenos, that the Cretans were especially concerned that the boys they kidnapped had good characters. Ephorus refines these criteria further when he says that for a good-looking boy or a boy from a good family to not have a lover was taken as a sign that he had a poor character, in this way making very clear who does have a lover: it is the good-looking boys and the boys from good families, but only insofar as they adhere to conventional ideas of good behavior. The erastês too, who is given such remarkable license in the abduction, is also subjected to the constant scrutiny of others. He must arrange the abduction through friends who are later free to drive him away if they think him unworthy of the boy. At the final feast, the erômenos is given a public opportunity to evaluate the conduct of his lover, and make clear that he wants nothing more to do with him if that is in fact the case. Thus, while Ephorus describes a procedure that is already very formalized, he implies that the erastês would have to be even more careful and thoughtful about his actions to be really successful in his affair. One would need serious confidence in one’s skill as a lover to be willing to undergo a public evaluation of one’s performance after a two-month affair that began with literally carrying off the object of one’s affections.
In addition, Ephorus notes in his account of the expense of the feast that the choice of the erastês was subject to the opinions of others, for the boy must be an erômenos who can justify the financial burden the erastês will place on those friends he needs to contribute money for his gifts to the boy. The rite thus presupposes that both boys and men will have been extremely attentive to each others’ characters and actions. By making clear the importance of such attention, Ephorus implies that the practice is about more than love as an emotion felt by one person for another: if the rite is fully completed, without interruption, it becomes a powerful statement by the men involved about the social value of both the erastês and the erômenos. In a sense the institution is less a formulaic courtship than a means by which a man gambles on the esteem others have for him. Success in winning an erômenos proves that he is a man of importance. Likewise, in gaining the attention of such a man and of his friends, the erômenos earns similar respect. The stakes of this game are public admiration and shame. One loses by not being permitted to play or by being sent out before the end of play, while to have completed the game successfully elevates one above one’s fellows.
This concern for social elevation also appears in the specific activities that the pair engage in during the time away from the city. Ephorus does not describe an affair that consists of sexual acts, but of hunting and feasting. The ability to hold a feast for others involved possessing the wealth to feed others, and this need for wealth was further displayed in the way that men holding feasts would give gifts to the feasters. At the same time, the Greeks viewed dining as an inherently reciprocal activity, in that one invited people to dinner that one had dined with in the past, or expected to dine with in the future. One therefore feasted with men of equivalent economic standing, and emphasized the exclusionary aspects of this practice with an emphasis on proper decorum at banquets: one needed to know the proper subjects for conversation, the proper times and rules for drinking, and so forth. A man who was at home at the dinners of wealthy men and who made other men feel at home when they dined with him was truly a noble man, for manners had more significance than mere wealth. Indeed, Herodotus claims that a wealthy young man of Athens literally “danced away his marriage” by getting too drunk at a feast held by his prospective father-in-law (6.129). Feasting demanded that one subordinate one’s desires to the needs of the group. It could be competitive in a certain sense, in that a man could outdo his peers in gift-giving, or be more entertaining in conversation, but such superiority was entirely the result of being able to put others’ desires before one’s own. One could not be a better feaster in any absolute sense, only insofar as those feasting enjoyed the feast more because of one’s actions.
Hunting could also suggest nobility, but in a quite different way, because the Greeks believed that a successful hunter was bound to be successful in war, the highest form of achievement for men. For instance, when the poet Pindar describes the childhood of Achilles, the greatest warrior in the Trojan War, he tells how from the age of six on the boy killed lions and boars (Nem. 3.44-47). One has the sense that it is only the lack of a human enemy that separates the hunter from the conquering war hero, as he destroys the predators and other animals that threaten the livelihood of the farmers of his community. Xenophon plays on this attitude in his handbook on hunting, claiming that hunters win fame as men who attack enemies of their city (Cyn. 13.12). Hunting was easily linked to physical fitness, bravery, discipline and above all the violent defeat of worthy adversaries, and these were virtues to which aristocrats often pointed to explain why they deserved respect from others. Accordingly, while hunting was not an activity limited to the wealthy by any means, it was an activity that was especially appealing to wealthy men who wanted respect from others.
So Ephorus offers an account of pederasty in Crete in which the meaning of pederasty is clear: it is an institution in which the best men are clearly recognized as the best men. The abduction ritual provides a field for the erastês to embody most fully the abilities to master his world physically and to show respect to others that defined successful Greek masculinity. We might compare the importance of hunting and feasting with Plato’s observations in the Republic (411A-412A) about the importance of linking training in music and gymnastics, because gymnastic training will make a man brave and strong, while practicing music will make him compassionate and gentle. We saw earlier that the Cretan rite embodies certain themes that scholars have recognized in Athenian pederasty: aggressive behavior on the part of the erastês, social benefits for the erômenos, initiation into the adult male community. What is worth noting now, however, is that it embodies these themes in a way that is more transparent than in other forms of pederasty. The aggression belonging to the role of lover need not be inferred from the vocabulary or imagery of love, but is dramatized in an actual battle. The social benefits the beloved reaps from the affair are not the results of some abstract education, but are embodied in actual objects, events and titles. Indeed, these themes appear so much more clearly in Ephorus’ account that we might conclude that the Cretan rite is a more original form of Greek pederasty, and that in contrast to the other Greeks, who were forced to accomodate their practices of pederasty to the complexities of urban life, the Cretans were able to pursue a more traditional practice. Certainly Crete was (and remains -- see Herzfeld 1985) an island where influences from the rest of the world were less powerful, so if we were to find a survival of the old ways, we would expect it there. These factors have been of particular interest to those scholars who believe that this Cretan rite is the most primitive form of pederasty, a form which shows that the practice began as a tribal initiation, and only took a shape that is educational and sexual in a modern sense as it adapted to a more modern setting (Bremmer 1980, Cantarella 1992, Percy 1996, Sergent 1986).
The difficulty with such an interpretation is the difficulty with all ethnographies claiming that the form of a cultural practice in another society is a “primitive” one preserving meanings that have been obscured in the form of the practice found in the society of the writer. This attitude requires that the “primitive” society be one in which institutions are preserved without significant change, while the “modern” society of the writer continually undergoes transformation over time. This is an understandable illusion for a writer in a society with written historical records to possess when he comes into contact with a society that has none, as he has obvious evidence of change in his own society, and none from the society he is studying. It is nevertheless an illusion, since with or without writing human societies change in all sorts of ways. However, the concept of the “primitive” has a number of uses, not the least of which is the ability to represent the “primitive” as the truth about some social phenomenon whose “modern” form is contested. Since the “primitive” is by definition the origin of the “modern,” and hence the simple truth behind the complex “modern” phenomenon, a writer may defend the truth of his view of the “modern” by portraying a “primitive” in which such a view is explicit.
We thus need to be very careful about seeing the “primitive” in ethnographic accounts, especially in one produced by an Athenian historian dead for more than two thousand years. If the Cretans seem to practice a “primitive” pederasty in relation to the more “modern” practices of the historian’s city, this may well be because Ephorus meant to describe a pederasty in which those attitudes he considered most important in Athenian pederasty could be made explicit. In this case Ephorus becomes a source for Athenian rather than Cretan attitudes. To illuminate these attitudes it is especially useful to reflect on those aspects of the rite that are different from what comparative anthropology tells us to expect from initiation rites, since these are not simple mistakes made by an ethnographer unable to make sense of a rite we can now recognize clearly as an initiation. All of what Ephorus describes is significant, in all of its contradictions and impracticalities, for the primitive here is not an origin, but an ideal, an account which shows a particular conception of pederasty in the mind of a particular author.
William Percy (Percy 1996) has noted how several classical authors trace the Greek practice of pederasty back to Crete; this fact is the basis of his argument that pederasty was a primitive initiation practice that developed into the preeminent educational institution of classical Greece. But if we assume that these writers were as much, perhaps more, concerned with addressing their peers’ thoughts about pederasty as with maintaining the strictest historical and ethnographic accuracy, the choice of Crete may have been symbolic. Athenians who supported aristocracy often expresssed their political goals through an admiration for Spartan institutions. Sparta offered an image of a city in which a small portion of the male population pursued military and political excellence to the exclusion of all other concerns, while the rest of the state made such a life economically feasible. Ephorus and other writers claimed that the Spartan constitution originated in Crete, that Crete maintained the original and more primitive form of the Dorian constitution the Spartans lived under. So Crete may also have served as an ideal that Athenian aristocrats could look to in contemplating how politics and social relations could be arranged in a better, more aristocratic fashion. In this vein, it is perhaps significant that in Plato’s Laws, the Athenian discusses the nature of the best city and the best citizens with both a Spartan and a Cretan. Such figures served as heirs to a traditional aristocratic wisdom; indeed, Plato’s Cretan, Clinias, claims that the Cretans got their laws from Zeus (Laws 624A).
We have seen that Ephorus portrays the Cretan rite as a performance with an audience, in which erastês and erômenos depict themselves as men of distinction and breeding. The idea of honor, good birth and good behavior as qualities revealed in performance was critical to Athenian concepts of aristocracy. While the actual oligarchical arrangements in Greek cities reflected the ability of certain families to monopolize wealth and political authority, the democratic constitution of Athens had no offices of importance which an individual could expect to occupy on the basis of his wealth or parentage. As Josiah Ober (Ober 1989) has discussed in some detail, men with famous and powerful ancestors often became powerful in the city, but they could only make use of the reputation of their family by claiming that their ancestors had become important because of their exceptional qualities that were manifest in their own appearance and behavior. Such men needed ways to use their wealth and leisure time to demonstrate an inherited good character that could assure the city concrete political and military success. Aristocrats could be quite creative in devising such activities; Sparta, where a very unique mode of life was tied to remarkable military success and political stability, was an obvious source of inspiration. Many Athenian aristocrats affected Spartan manners, and the formal accounts of Spartan virtue by aristocratic writers such as Xenophon and Plato are in many respects more detailed explanations of why such affectations should be influential in the politics of a city. We can sense the rhetorical force of such arguments even on our own political landscape, in the appeal that Plato’s imaginary cities hold for conservative thinkers from Allan Bloom to William Bennett.
The very public, performative pederasty that Ephorus describes would have an obvious appeal for aristocrats. The reliance on social networks and friendships, the need for wealth and leisure, the feasting and celebration, the awarding of special honors and titles—these all mark the rite as an institution where inherited property brings an individual the opportunity for special political status. Ephorus presents this rite in such a way that this “primitive” practice highlights the aristocratic value of Athenian pederasty. He notes at the beginning of his account that the Cretans rely on abduction rather than persuasion to win time with their erômenoi, and yet even so the rite appears as a noble practice bringing glory to both man and boy. If such a rough and simple drama can bring about such a noble outcome, how much more effective Athenian pederasty ought to be in displaying the nobility of erastês and erômenos, given that the more sophisticated Athenian erastai abjure mock abductions in favor of the more elegant power of rhetoric.
This close reading of Ephorus’ account thus reveals to us a dimension of ancient pederasty that has largely been overlooked: participation in a pederastic relationship offered both erastês and erômenos opportunities to demonstrate a noble character that deserved the respect of other men. A beautiful youth who attracted the attention of many men but reserved his affections for the best, a man who spared no pains in his devotion to beauty and respectable courtship, a couple spending time together in manly exercise and well-ordered feasts—these could expect the admiration of their fellow men. The emphasis that the historian puts on this dimension of pederasty implies that he expected his audience to recognize it, and meant them to consider how central the desire for a good reputation was in such love affairs. While the account undoubtedly offers some insight into lost rituals of ancient Crete, it is perhaps even more important as a window into the attitudes of a fourth-century historian and the elite Athenian audience that read his work.
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Fig. 1. Black-figure amphora, Cabinet des Médailles 206. Photo: Museum. Fig. 2. Black-figure amphora, San Antonio Museum of Art 86.134.44. Photo: Museum. Fig. 3. Black-figure neck-amphora, Louvre Cp 10619. Photo: Museum. Fig. 4. Red-figure cup, Berlin 2279. Photo: Museum. Figs. 5-6. Black-figure Tyrrhenian amphora, Montpellier, Musée Fabre 149 bis. After Laurens 1984. Fig. 7. Black-figure kalpis, New York, Collection of Shelby White and Leon Levy 737. Photo by Bruce White, courtesy of Shelby White. Figs. 8-9. Black-figure amphora, British Museum B 153. Photos courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Figs. 10-11. Red-figure column-krater, Christchurch (New Zealand), James Logie Collection, University of Canterbury, 182/97. Photos: Museum. Fig. 12. Red-figure amphora, Louvre G 45. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux. Fig. 13. Red-figure psykter, J. Paul Getty Museum 82.AE.53. Photo: Museum. Fig. 14. Detail of the psykter Fig. 13: Leagros and Euphronios. Photo: Museum. Fig. 15. Red-figure neck-pelike, Villa Giulia. Photo: after EdM, p. 168. Fig. 16. Red-figure cup, Oxford 1967.304. Photo: Museum. Fig. 17. Kritios and Nesiotes, "The Tyrant Slayers Aristogeiton and Harmodius." Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples. Photo: Art Resource.
Notes on Contributors
David B. Dodd is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at UCLA. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1999, and works on narratives of Greek adolescence.
Thomas K. Hubbard is Professor of Classics at the University of Texas, Austin. He is author of three books and numerous articles on Greek and Roman literature. He is currently editing an anthology of primary texts in translation on homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, forthcoming from University of California Press.
S. Sara Monoson is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. Her book Plato's Democratic Entanglements is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.
H. A. Shapiro is W. H. Collins Vickers Professor of Archaeology and Chair of Classics at The Johns Hopkins University. He is author of two books on Greek art and editor of three collection catalogues, as well as numerous articles connecting Greek vase painting and social history.