Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece
William A. Percy
(University of Illinois Press, 1996)
Description from University of Illinois Press: Combining impeccable scholarship with accessible, straightforward prose, Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece argues that institutionalized pederasty began after 650 B.C., far later than previous authors have thought, and was initiated as a means of stemming overpopulation in the upper class.
William A. Percy III maintains that Cretan sages established a system under which a young warrior in his early twenties took a teenager of his own aristocratic background as a beloved until the age of thirty, when service to the state required the older partner to marry. The practice spread with significant variants to other Greek-speaking areas. In some places it emphasized development of the athletic, warrior individual, while in others both intellectual and civic achievement were its goals. In Athens it became a vehicle of cultural transmission, so that the best of each older cohort selected, loved, and trained the best of the younger.
Pederasty was from the beginning both physical and emotional, the highest and most intense type of male bonding. These pederastic bonds, Percy believes, were responsible for the rise of Hellas and the "Greek miracle": in two centuries the population of Attica, a mere 45,000 adult males in six generations, produced an astounding number of great men who laid the enduring foundations of Western thought and civilization.
Author’s afterthought: Late marriages (females at 16 to 18 rather than at 12 to 15 as in other societies) gave time to both sexes to mature physically and intellectually. This also helped spark the Greek miracle.
Outline and Original manuscript files
Paucity of Sources
What the Greeks Did
Pederasty vs. Androphilia
PART I. GREECE BEFORE THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF PEDERASTY
Sacred Ritual or Casual Sex?
Proto-Greeks: "The Coming of the Greeks"
Minoan Origins? Nudity in Art
Legend and Fact
Pure or Sacred Pederasty?
Greek Love in Homer?
Mariners, Soldiers, and Their Mates
"Nouveaux pauvres," Poor Farmers,
Emigrants, Paupers, and Slaves
Middle Archaic Innovations: A New View
PART II. INSTITUTIONALIZATION
Pederastic Gods and Heroes
Mythological Originators of Pederasty
Shamans, "Musicians," Sages, and Lawgivers
The Pederastic System of Age-Classes
Diffusion to Sparta and Other Areas
"Lycurgus," Tyrtaeus, and Thaletas
Inspirers and Listeners
Cultural Efflorescence and Blight
PART III. DIFFUSION
Nudity in Athletics
Symposia and Schools
Backward Arcadia and Achaea
The Dorian Argolid
Knightly Thessaly and Boeotia
Phocis, Locris, Doris, and the Northern Marchlands
The Aegean Islands
Simonides and Bacchylides
Epimenides the Cretan and "Folktale" Lovers
Solon the Lawgiver
Solon the Pederast
Pederastic Democracy in the Age of Themistocles and Aristides
Unpublished Second Volume
I, as an elderly and frail academic, warily present two rough drafts hoping that someone may find something of use in them. The first covers Roman homosexuality from the Early Republic down until its end and also the Classical and Hellenistic homosexualities in the Greek-speaking areas, emphasizing the fundamental differences rather than the similarities between Greek and Latin customs. The second (hardly more than roughly sketched) tries to explore Greek and Latin homosexualities under the Pagan and Christian Empires.
When I wrote the first of the two drafts, the best single volume about Roman homosexuality was still Otto Keifer’s Sexual Life in Ancient Rome (English translation, 1934). This manuscript of mine was last revised around 1992 before Craig Williams’ masterpiece Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 1999) appeared. Therefore it relied only on his unrevised and still flawed dissertation. It also, of course, did not use the special Journal of Homosexuality double-volume issue edited by Beert Verstraete and Vernon Provencal (Vol. 49, Nos. 3 & 4 – also available in book form as Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West) in which a variety of scholars try to improve upon Williams’ work.
The first of these sketches of manuscripts have not been revised since 1992 and the second not since 1989. They relied for Greek primarily on the works of Hans Licht (Paul Brandt), Father Buffiere (Eros adulescent: la pédérastie dans la Grèce antique, a much neglected and massive, if unanalytical work), Dover’s brief, tendentious, and unconsciously homophobic collection of essays Greek Homosexuality, Foucault’s ambitious three volume work, and Boswell (an interlocking trinity that I try to refute as well as the particularly unconvincing, pretentious, self-loathing essays derived from them in Halperin’s One Hundred Years of Homosexuality). I also used Pogey-Castries and Warner Jaeger’s Paideia. Lombardi-Nash had not yet translated Hirschfeld’s Die Homosexualitat Des Mannes Und Des Weibes, which is excellent and more inclusive and better, I believe, than Kiefer. Naturally I also used Wayne Dynes’ Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, of which I was associate co-editor along with my housemate of 5 years Warren Johansson. I concentrated on the dates of the setting and the corruption of Plato’s dialogues, especially of the Phaedrus.
When I asked Nick Pappas who else believed that Plato’s παρα φυσιν in the Laws was meant ironically, he brought me the very next week Leo Strauss’ Commentary on the Laws, which maintained exactly that. How else would an aristocratic Athenian lecture a Cretan and Spartan, the very people that his class most admired, on how to constitute a polis – such irony, like the prohibition of music, was meant to be understood by the cognoscienti.
Like my good friend Louis Crompton, of whose Homosexuality and Civilization I was the second reader for Belknap, I am not a social constructionist or a phantom construction essentialist (as many charged John Boswell with being). We are unabashed Hellenophiles holding Abrahamic religions responsible for almost all institutionalized homophobia. For this reason, we cannot agree that the much discussed Lex Scantinia ever prohibited sex tout court between Roman citizens or even that a Roman citizen couldn’t legally be penetrated by a phallus, even though my old professor and admired mentor Eugene Rice holds that it did (see his article on Ancient Rome at Claude Summers’ GLBTQ —the best successor to the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality and one containing eight excellent entries from Rice).
Thomas Hubbard's sourcebook Homosexuality in Greece and Rome, often with his own translations and erudite introduction, is essential and irreplaceable. No one could fail to mention the contributions by Amy Richlin, Halperin’s nemesis, or of Pogey-Castries and Marron, let alone J. A. Symonds and the 18th and 19th century German scholars who lay behind his A Problem in Greek Ethics.
Andrew Lear is publishing a book that is not only erudite, but sensible – a quality ever so rare among scholars. Essentially he cuts halfway between Sir Kenneth, who claimed that citizens merely lusted after boys to bugger them, and traditionalists like me who argue that Greek pederasts often very earnestly and successfully mentored their boyfriends. How many did either or both can doubtless never be settled, considering that even today not all youths are clearcut victims in such age-asymmetrical sex, as is today asserted by almost all. It is indeed dangerous not to echo the mantra, as one leading expert Bruce Rind learned when both houses of Congress unanimously censured his fine research on intergenerational sex. Fortunately for me it is somewhat less dangerous to cite certain advantages arising from ancient Greek pederasty, i.e. with adolescents – all too often today confused with pedophilia: properly meaning sexual relations with prepubescents of either sex.
Another point is that Black Athena and all its supporters who claim everything good originated in Africa not Greece, fail to discuss pederasty, the most constructive type of which I argue was first institutionalized in Greece in the late 7th century, B.C. Although Martin Bernal, in a phone conversation with me several years ago, promised to discuss pederasty in his forthcoming works, he has so far failed to do so, while Mary Lefkowitz and the other Hellenophiles who support her against that Afro-centrist, also steadfastly avoid mention of pederasty. How they refuse to tarnish their idols with intergenerational sex, as J.A. Symonds pointed out almost a century and a half ago!
Did the Greeks copy pederasty from the Egyptians, and was the custom in Greece harmful, neutral, or beneficial? When and why did it start, and when and why did it stop? I’m hoping to entice more scholars to post on this and other GLBTQ items on Wikipedia (which I believe is well on its way to upstage the Encyclopedia Britannica — that stodgy, old thing hardly mentions homosexuals and bisexuals) in the expectation that we may eventually get into the textbooks to give status and role models to persecuted and scorned gay and lesbian youths.
Part I: Classical
A. Heroes of the Persian Wars
B. Cimon and Aeschylus
C. Increasing Democracy: Pericles
D. Sophocles and the Parthenon
A. Battles and Economic Problems
B. Aristophanes and the Old Comedians
C. Euripides, Socrates and Alcibiades
D. Symposiasts and Gymnasts
E. Athenian and Lesbian Ladies
A. Demographic and Social Changes
B. Harmosts and Spartan Oppression
D. Lysis, Charmides, and Protagoras
E. Socrates' Other Students
F. Sicilian Tyrants
G. The Hippocratics on Sexual Types
A. Symposium, Republic, and Phaedrus
B. Heroes of the Sacred Band
C. Spartan Depopulation
D. The Sacred War
A. The Laws
C. Other Later Philosophers
D. Orators and Comedians on Cinaedi, Pornoi and Effeminates
E. Gymnasia, Games and Symposia
F. Laws in Other Poleis
G. Philip's and Alexander's Eromenoi
A. Monarchical and Divine Excesses
B. Rustic Puritanism
C. Expansion and Conquests
A. The Second Temple
C. Ezra and His Reforms
D. The Pentateuch, Constitution of the Jewish Community
E. Beginning of Jewish Homophobia
Part II: Hellenistic
B. Diffusion and Diversity
D. Pederastic Rulers
E. "Hens in the Coop" at the Library
F. Stoicism and Epicureanism
G. Bucolic and Epigrammatic Poets
H. Mathematics, Science and Medicine
I. Princesses and Femmes fatales
B. Pederastic Poets
C. Erotic Tales and Romances
F. Astrological Characterology
G. Dream Interpretation
H. Sexual Magic
I. Pagan Gods and Goddesses of Love
A. Annexation of the East
C. Plautus and Terence
D. The Scipios and Cato
A. The Gracchi
B. Social and Civil Wars
D. Cicero and Cataline
E. Catullus and Lucretius
F. Greek Pederasty at Rome?
A. Completion of the Hebrew Scriptures: The Prophets and Hagiographa
B. Reaction to Hellenization
C. The Maccabean Uprising
D. Independence of Judea under Roman Protection
E. Mounting Homophobia: Jubilees, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Sybilline Oracles, pseudo-Phocylides