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Same Sex Relationships Greeks And Romans

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Same Sex Relationships Greeks and Romans


The Ancient Romans and Greeks have often been viewed as having a moral tolerance of homosexuality. There are some truths to this. But, their idea of same sex relationships was very different from our modern day views of homosexuality. A person's status in society played a significant part in how the Romans and Greeks viewed same sex relationships. Another facet was the role of a sexual partner in a homo sexual relationship. Social class mattered a great deal. The upper classes were more likely to indulge in homosexual acts than the lower class or slaves.

The Romans did not differentiate between homosexuality and heterosexuality, Bisexuality was common in both the Roman and Greek cultures. Because the roles in a same sex relationship was important, upper class Romans did not openly admit to being penetrated. If you admitted to having been penetrated you would be considered effeminate.

Bisexuality and Homosexuality: It has been noted that out of the first 16 Roman Emperors 15 were bisexual, but only the Emperor Hadrian may have actually committed a homosexual act. It has also been noted that the Spartans of Greece viewed homosexuality like a part of military training. According to the Greeks, every soldier knew it was ideal to have an older lover to train him in the art of war. Philosophers have argued that the acceptable desire was defended less by the gender of a man's partner than by the relative status and role played in the sexual act. The Emperor Nero was said to have seduced free born boys to satisfy his sexual appetite. The Emperor is alleged to have castrated a young boy to turn him into a girl, he later married the boy. Some emperors mixed homosexual acts with heterosexual with both men and women.

Some historians have laid blame on the Greeks for the decline Roman morals. The Romans never adopted the Greek custom of using adolescence males as sexual apprenticeship. The Romans chose not to use their sons in this manner. Bisexuality was a part of the conservative's life, like Suetonius, the private secretary of the Roman emperor Hadrian, was a closet homosexual. Suetonius, engaged in sex with women, but, was in love with a young man called Antionus. Upon the death of Antonius Suetonis erected statues of his lover throughout the Roman Empire and even named a city in Egypt after his young lover, but this deeply romantic homosexual relationship was considered to be abnormal by the Romans.

Social Status: The Romans place great emphasis on the social status of the sexual partners as did the Greeks. In Rome homosexuality was confined to the top of the social ladder, in contrast, such lines were not drawn by the Greeks. This is no doubt a result of the fact that the Romans had a more defined class system as did the Greeks. However, in both the roman and

Greek culture, the higher the one's social status, the more leeway one had to indulge in one's sexual desires. The upper class had a morale code of its own.

Roman slaves were subject to the sexual desires of their master. Male prostitutes were common through the Roman Empire. The Greeks believed that a relationship between a man and a boy was the most pure form of love that existed. Some Romans argued that a master had an unquestioned right to use their slave for their sexual gratification. Roman poets wrote poems about masters who loved their slaves. Young Greek men would fight side by side with their older lover. It is believe the lover did not want to shame his beloved, so he fought harder. Unlike the Romans, an older Greek man would inform the family of a boy he fancied of his intentions. If the family considered the older man worthy, they pretended to resist, but he would make off with the boy.

Not all Romans and Greeks accepted such sexual freedoms; some Romans condemned such behavior. Also, several emperors considered the expulsion of male prostitutes from the city of Rome, these rules were never enforced and for several centuries prostitution of both sexes was acceptable. The Greeks did not have any restriction and even start the Olympic game where the upper class participated in events in the nude.

Sexual Roles: Homosexual relationships in the Romans culture were governed by a separate set of rules from the Greeks. The Romans focused on what role a man played in a sexual encounter. A man's masculinity was preserved if he took the penetrating



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