posted on Dec, 1 2013 @ 01:54 PM
I must say I'm kinda baffled were the notion of compulsory homosexuality in Sparta comes from.
Firstly when you talk about homosexuality in Ancient Greece you are talking about pederasty, sexual exploation of minors. Which I would think the LGBT
movement would hesitate to label a true expression of homosexuality. Homosexuality between adults was considered a disgrace.
Secondly even if the Spartan used their children sexually the term you would be looking for would be bisexual rather then homosexual since I never
seen anyone deny their requirement to marry and procreate.
Thirdly people doesn't become homosexual because they are compelled to perform homosexual acts. no more then corrective rape turns lesbians straight.
Yet apparently the Spartan training system had a feature that could condition straight men into bona fide gays. Which is kinda amazing consider all
the research and medications thats been developed to turn gays straight with very poor results.
Anyway the easiest way to resolve this is to turn to the ancients sources shall we?
It's noted that the Spartan practised a erastes system like elsewhere in Greece and that it was rare for one of them to lack this bond. Those sources
we have explicitly state the bond is pedagogical and a sexual relation was a crime.
"Affectionate regard for boys of good character was permissible, but embracing them was held to be disgraceful, on the ground that the affection
was for the body and not for the mind. Any man against whom complaint was made of any disgraceful embracing was deprived of all civic rights for
Plutarch, Customs of the Spartans, 7
"Spartan love knows nothing shameful: whether a young man should dare to suffer outrage or a lover to give it, it would benefit neither to
dishonor Sparta by doing so. For they would either have to leave their fatherland or better yet life itself."
Aelian, Varied History 3.12
and of course Xenophon the only primary source on the subject :
"I think I ought to say something also about intimacy with boys, since this matter also has a bearing on education. In other Greek states, for
instance among the Boeotians, man and boy live together, like married people; elsewhere, among the Eleians, for example, consent is won by means of
favours. Some, on the other hand, entirely forbid suitors to talk with boys. The customs instituted by Lycurgus were opposed to all of these. If
someone, being himself an honest man, admired a boy's soul and tried to make of him an ideal friend without reproach and to associate with him, he
approved, and believed in the excellence of this kind of training. But if it was clear that the attraction lay in the boy's outward beauty, he banned
the connexion as an abomination; and thus he caused lovers to abstain from boys no less than parents abstain from sexual intercourse with their
children and brothers and sisters with each other. "
Xen. Const. Lac. 2.12-3
Then we have Aristotle's that explains the spartans lack of control over their women is due to their exceptional hetrosexuality:
"The consequence is that in such a state wealth is too highly valued, especially if the citizen fall under the dominion of their wives, after the
manner of most warlike races, except the Celts and a few others who openly approve of male loves. The old mythologer would seem to have been right in
uniting Ares and Aphrodite, for all warlike races are prone to the love either of men or of women. This was exemplified among the Spartans in the days
of their greatness; many things were managed by their women. "
Aristotle, Politics, book 2 part IX
People in this thread have held the shrinking spartan population as an evidence of widespread gayness. Even though most historians agree it was
mainly due to economic reasons.
Yet we plenty of examples how Spartan social control harshly enforced sexuality for procreation. From childhood boys and girls swam,exercised and
danced naked together in public. Motherhood was a spartan womens greatest glory and were widely known for their beauty and sexual openess. Wives
could also be shared with the husbands permission to concieve children. Bachelors were publicy humilated and excluded from festivals, younger men
with living sons didn't rise for older men without, an incredible humiliation in Sparta. A Spartan with three sons got excused from military service,
four sons from taxes as well.
Despite this the numbers of Spartiates kept declining and to the point that it led to the nations demise. And this is the nation that would institute
“compulsory homosexuality” at the same time? Like why?
I believe modern psychology claims that sexual abuse in childhood is traumatic, but perhaps we are to hard on the pedophiles since apparently it
creates character and strong bonds of friendship when done right.
It might also be noted that while plenty of artifacts depicting homosexual acts has been found from Ancient Greece, none of them have been found in
Sparta to date.
I would really love to know where this Bettany Hughes gets this compulsory homosexuality thing from. Like all who claim it to be the case they never
bother to list any sources yet seems utterly assured it's true.