Jun 20, 2014 · Plato is obviously gay, although it’s easier to say this in 2014 than it was in 1955.
Many will note that as Plato matured, he grew to call for an abandonment of homosexuality, but it seems that for him, homosexual love and heterosexual love were almost the same. I might contend that what Plato was raging against was not the act or feeling itself of either homosexual or heterosexual …
Crompton (2011) stated that in general “Plato’s dialogues are suffused with a homoerotic ambience” (p. 1). However, in Plato’s last work, the Laws, he seems to take the opposite view (Hubbard, 2003, p. 9). In that work, Plato refers to heterosexual intercourse as “natural” and same-sex sex between women and men as “unnatural” (Jowett, 1937, 636, p. 418).
Aug 09, 2002 · Keep in mind that while not unheard of, especially in the armies and the upper classes of Sparta and Athens, homosexuality was not the social norm. It is known that Plato never married, and in his works he has described the perfection of homoerotic relationships.
First thing’s first: stop trying to modern politicized labels to describe ancient cultural,practices. The ancient Greeks had no term for homosexuality— the word was coined in 1869 by Karoly Benkert. What the Greeks did have was aphrodisia, a term ...
The term ‘homosexuality’ was coined in the late 19 th century by an Austrian-born Hungarian psychologist, Karoly Maria Benkert. Although the term is new, discussions about sexuality in general, and same-sex attraction in particular, have occasioned philosophical discussion ranging from Plato’s Symposium to contemporary queer theory. Since the history of cultural understandings of same ...
The ancient Greeks have a reputation for indulging in and approving of homosexual sex. The reputation is well deserved. However, the great political theorist and philosopher Plato (born in 429 BC, Athens) was resolutely against homosexuality in ways that remind me of the strictures against the practice in the Bible and Qur'an. Plato in his…Estimated Reading Time: 1 min
This is a highly biased account, because Plato himself was homosexual and wrote very beautiful epigrams to boys expressing his devotion. Platonic homosexuality had very little to do with sex; Plato believed ideally that love and reason should be fused together, while concern over the body and the material world of particulars should be annihilated.
Throughout history, many have claimed Plato was homosexual (in sense 1. above) — usually as an attack on his character — and many others have claimed he wasn’t. The evidence is very limited and ambiguous: According to a much later biographer, a poem attributed to young Plato mentions his kissing another man. Plato never married or had
In classical antiquity, writers such as Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Athenaeus and many others explored aspects of homosexuality in Greece. The most widespread and socially significant form of same-sex sexual relations in ancient Greece was between adult men and pubescent or adolescent boys, known as pederasty. Though sexual relationships between adult men did exist, at least one member of each of …
This last speech makes the most sense and seems to be considered the truth about love. The post-Stonewall era has also seen marked changes in Western Europe, where the repeal of anti-sodomy laws and legal equality for gays and lesbians has become common. So, um, where does that leave us? Every mention Phaedrus makes of love and lovers is referring to men and their boyfriends, with the exception of the myth of Alcestis and her husband. More Entertainment. Leave a Reply, Please! By Plato. Love is courageous as well as wise and creative. While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. It is difficult to perceive a common, natural sexuality expressed across these three very different cultures. Foucault, Michel, , The History of Sexuality. Plato and same-sex sexuality. Where is the source for this quote since the word homosexuality did not exist in platos day something stinks. One of the most prominent scholars working in the area of gay and lesbian issues in constitutional law has also drawn on queer theory to advance his interrogation of the ways that US law privileges heterosexuality Eskridge, Dynes, Wayne R. Views Read Edit View history. I know they sometimes get called immoral, but that's wrong: their actions aren't prompted by immorality, but by courage, manliness, and masculinity" He had a ' subversive ' influence on the minds of the young" "Socrates," Also, Agathon makes no mention of women in love or men in love with women, which is a common theme throughout the entire book. Apella Ephor Gerousia. Chapter 9. There is a wealth of material from ancient Greece pertinent to issues of sexuality, ranging from dialogues of Plato, such as the Symposium , to plays by Aristophanes, and Greek artwork and vases. The age limit for pederasty in ancient Greece seems to encompass, at the minimum end, boys of twelve years of age. Greek gods, such as Zeus, had stories of same-sex exploits attributed to them, as did other key figures in Greek myth and literature, such as Achilles and Hercules. This discourse, in turn, linked up with considerations about the state and its need for a growing population, good soldiers, and intact families marked by clearly defined gender roles. Socrates, even though he was married, was known to participate in homosexual affairs, and "in B. In the 21st century, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage has become widespread. Reality, including eternal moral truths, is a matter of phusis. Socrates' logic is hardly better than Agathon's, but it makes slightly more sense. This changed in the early morning hours of June 28, , when the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, rioted after a police raid. In the 18 th and 19 th centuries an overtly theological framework no longer dominated the discourse about same-sex attraction. Wikimedia Commons. According to him, there is such a thing as too young, and that defines the difference between pedophilia and pederasty. Is transgenerational sex e. In his ideal city, he says in his last, posthumously published work known as The Laws , homosexual sex will be treated the same way as incest. In contrast certainly to its medieval formulation, most contemporary natural law theorists argue for limited governmental power, and do not believe that the state has an interest in attempting to prevent all moral wrongdoing. Probably the most frequent assumption about sexual orientation, at least by ancient Greek authors, is that persons can respond erotically to beauty in either sex. Dean knew what was going on. Main article: Homosexuality in the militaries of ancient Greece. What is the justification for this important addition? A reasonable place to begin is with the dialogues of Plato, for this is where some of the central ideas are first articulated, and, significantly enough, are immediately applied to the sexual domain. Gay Democratic clubs were created in every major city, and one fourth of all college campuses had gay and lesbian groups Shilts, , ch. With the decline of prohibitions against sex for the sake of pleasure even outside of marriage, it became more difficult to argue against gay sex. Surgery United States. A good deal of Christian theology is built upon the likes of Plato as is American political ideology. This is a cheering thought, especially when you think of what happened to Mineo, who fought discrimination all his life and who also died young, murdered at age 37 by an intruder outside his West Hollywood home in The most influential formulation of natural law theory was made by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. This post is meant to engender conversation as relating to several things, namely the use of the ancients to justify our ignorance of the present.
Plato is perhaps the most significant and influential philosopher in the Western tradition. He lived from c. At one time Plato wrote that the best relationship would be an erotically charged relationship between men, though he believed the highest relationship would not involve actual sexual contact. It is from this ideal that we get the term platonic relationship. However today a platonic relationship refers to a completely non-sexual relationship. Plato also writes of the origin of same and opposite sex urges. In his Symposium , Plato has Aristophanes tell a tale of human origins in which everyone was once a four legged creature until Zeus cut each in half. Each half tried to reunite with its mate and this explains the nature of human beings:. Men who are a section of that double nature which was once called androgynous [made up of a man and a woman] are lovers of women, adulterers are generally of this breed, and also adulterous women who lust after men. The women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments: the female companions [that is, lesbians] are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they have affection for men and embrace them [the Greek verb implies a sexual sense], and these are the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature. This passage is an unusual celebration of male same-sex desire by contemporary Western standards. Plato is explicitly linking manliness not with heterosexual desire but with homosexual desire. Photo courtesy of Marie-Lan Nguyen. Wikimedia Commons. Up to: Student Resources. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. On the Web. Article of India's Penal Code. Plato and same-sex sexuality. Additional Resources. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. Chapter 8. Chapter 9. Chapter Contact Your Sales Rep. Higher Education Comment Card.
Best get your etymology straight pun intended. What is the justification for this important addition? Wikimedia Commons. There is no description of the love between male and female or even between females. He largely shares the account of important human goods that natural law theorists have, yet in his evaluation of the worth of same-sex relationships, he is clearly sympathetic to gay and lesbian concerns. Natural law theorists, in their discussions of these issues, seem to waver. In the 19 th century there was a significant reduction in the legal penalties for sodomy. Aristophanes says, "Love draws our original nature back together; he tries to reintegrate us and heal the split in our nature" This goes along with the general idea of soul mate s, and searching for one's true love. Historiographical Debates 3. Main article: Homosexuality in the militaries of ancient Greece. Greek colonisation. In his ideal city, he says in his last, posthumously published work known as The Laws , homosexual sex will be treated the same way as incest. The Symposium, while not the general consensus, is a representation of an opinion favored among the educated, powerful, and rich. Large gay urban communities in cities from coast to coast became the norm. By virtue of this heterosexual privilege, Wilson is allowed the voice of the impartial, fair-minded expert. Main article: Achilles and Patroclus. Similarly, queer theory has also been on the margins in German philosophy and political philosophy. Cancel reply. In Book Eight, the Athenian speaker considers how to have legislation banning homosexual acts, masturbation, and illegitimate procreative sex widely accepted. Diotima introduces a middle ground on the extremes that have been tossed around in the other speeches. According to this view, homosexuality is a specific, natural kind rather than a cultural or historical product. He then goes on to describe, through the speech of Aristophanes, how wonderful and perfect it is when a man finds his other male half. Gay subcultures in eighteenth century Europe. In Bernadotte Perrin ed. Yet persons may be expressing a diseased or pathological mental state, and hence medical intervention for a cure is appropriate. It would be ironic that a woman delivers the wisdom in this story, after Plato has basically claimed women to be incapable of love on any higher level than pure lust, except the words come from Socrates and are therefore adopted as his own. Probably the best reconstruction of his views places him in mainstream Greek society as outlined above; his main concern is with an active versus a passive role, with only the latter problematic for those who either are or will become citizens. This is a very idealistic view of love, except that it seems to only apply to men. Weitham, Paul J. For some, post-gay marks the culmination of the gay rights movement, which all along, they contend, was an effort to be treated as equals. It is something contrary to nature, he insists, calling it "utterly unholy, odious-to-the-gods and ugliest of ugly things". In Athens the older man was called erastes. The offcuts of the androgynous gender are attracted to the opposite sex, and to Aristophanes, it seems logical that "most adulterers come from this group; the equivalent women are attracted to men and tend to become adulteresses " Ah, my friends, how difficult it seems to ensure that the working of an institution shall be as unquestionable as its theory! While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. Worthen 10 June History 2. The debates about homosexuality, in part because they often involve public policy and legal issues, tend to be sharply polarized. Arising out of this history, at least in the West, is the idea of natural law and some interpretations of that law as forbidding homosexual sex. Journalistic Standards. That is, since only the emission of semen in a vagina can result in natural reproduction, only sex acts of that type are generative, even if a given sex act does not lead to reproduction, and even if it is impossible due to infertility. This would not be controversial if the traditional Western conception of homosexuality were not so negative. Plato, in contrast, argued that unchanging truths underpin the flux of the material world. The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier as modern Western societies have done. Given that only free men had full status, women and male slaves were not problematic sexual partners. Other figures played important roles in the development of natural law theory.
Since the history of cultural understandings of same-sex attraction is relevant to the philosophical issues raised by those understandings, it is necessary to review briefly some of the social history of homosexuality. Arising out of this history, at least in the West, is the idea of natural law and some interpretations of that law as forbidding homosexual sex. References to natural law still play an important role in contemporary debates about homosexuality in religion, politics, and even courtrooms. Finally, perhaps the most significant recent social change involving homosexuality is the emergence of the gay liberation movement in the West. In philosophical circles this movement is, in part, represented through a rather diverse group of thinkers who are grouped under the label of queer theory. A central issue raised by queer theory, which will be discussed below, is whether homosexuality, and hence also heterosexuality and bisexuality, is socially constructed or purely driven by biological forces. There is a wealth of material from ancient Greece pertinent to issues of sexuality, ranging from dialogues of Plato, such as the Symposium , to plays by Aristophanes, and Greek artwork and vases. What follows is a brief description of ancient Greek attitudes, but it is important to recognize that there was regional variation. For example, in parts of Ionia there were general strictures against same-sex eros , while in Elis and Boiotia e. Dover, ; Halperin, Probably the most frequent assumption about sexual orientation, at least by ancient Greek authors, is that persons can respond erotically to beauty in either sex. Diogenes Laeurtius, for example, wrote of Alcibiades, the Athenian general and politician of the 5 th century B. For example, Alexander the Great and the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, were known for their exclusive interest in boys and other men. Such persons, however, are generally portrayed as the exception. Furthermore, the issue of what biological sex one is attracted to is seen as an issue of taste or preference, rather than as a moral issue. Even though the gender that one was erotically attracted to at any specific time, given the assumption that persons will likely be attracted to persons of both sexes was not important, other issues were salient, such as whether one exercised moderation. Status concerns were also of the highest importance. Given that only free men had full status, women and male slaves were not problematic sexual partners. Sex between freemen, however, was problematic for status. The central distinction in ancient Greek sexual relations was between taking an active or insertive role, versus a passive or penetrated one. The passive role was acceptable only for inferiors, such as women, slaves, or male youths who were not yet citizens. Hence the cultural ideal of a same-sex relationship was between an older man, probably in his 20s or 30s, known as the erastes , and a boy whose beard had not yet begun to grow, the eromenos or paidika. In this relationship there was courtship ritual, involving gifts such as a rooster , and other norms. The erastes had to show that he had nobler interests in the boy, rather than a purely sexual concern. The boy was not to submit too easily, and if pursued by more than one man, was to show discretion and pick the more noble one. There is also evidence that penetration was often avoided by having the erastes face his beloved and place his penis between the thighs of the eromenos , which is known as intercrural sex. The relationship was to be temporary and should end upon the boy reaching adulthood Dover, To continue in a submissive role even while one should be an equal citizen was considered troubling, although there certainly were many adult male same-sex relationships that were noted and not strongly stigmatized. While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. Greek gods, such as Zeus, had stories of same-sex exploits attributed to them, as did other key figures in Greek myth and literature, such as Achilles and Hercules. Plato, in the Symposium , argues for an army to be comprised of same-sex lovers. Thebes did form such a regiment, the Sacred Band of Thebes, formed of soldiers. They were renowned in the ancient world for their valor in battle. Ancient Rome had many parallels to ancient Greece in its understanding of same-sex attraction, and sexual issues more generally. This is especially true under the Republic. Yet under the Empire, Roman society slowly became more negative in its views towards sexuality, probably due to social and economic turmoil, even before Christianity became influential. Exactly what attitude the New Testament has towards sexuality in general, and same-sex attraction in particular, is a matter of sharp debate. What is clear, however, is that while condemnation of same-sex attraction is marginal to the Gospels and only an intermittent focus in the rest of the New Testament, early Christian church fathers were much more outspoken. In their writings there is a horror at any sort of sex, but in a few generations these views eased, in part due no doubt to practical concerns of recruiting converts. By the fourth and fifth centuries the mainstream Christian view allowed only for procreative sex. This viewpoint, that procreative sex within marriage is allowed, while every other expression of sexuality is sinful, can be found, for example, in St. Soon this attitude, especially towards homosexual sex, came to be reflected in Roman Law. Historians agree that the late Roman Empire saw a rise in intolerance towards homosexuality, although there were again important regional variations. With the decline of the Roman Empire, and its replacement by various barbarian kingdoms, a general tolerance with the sole exception of Visigothic Spain for homosexual acts prevailed. The latter part of the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries, however, saw a sharp rise in intolerance towards homosexual sex, alongside persecution of Jews, Muslims, heretics, and others. While the causes of this are somewhat unclear, it is likely that increased class conflict alongside the Gregorian reform movement in the Catholic Church were two important factors. This appeal to natural law discussed below became very influential in the Western tradition. A sodomite was understood as act-defined, rather than as a type of person.