Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome Essay example

1353 Words Feb 25th, 2013 6 Pages
Homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome

Americans endlessly recycle the old conflicts: "first we fought about slavery, then segregation, then gender, and now sexual orientation"-(Anon). Homosexuality is an on-going conflict in America, as well as other countries. The history of homosexuality goes back to the ancient civilizations. As we have different ideas and ways of "dealing" with it, so did the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. Ancient Greece is considered as being the most accepting of homosexuality. The belief that the human body was worthy of respect and admiration is one of the reasons that homosexuality was tolerated and often accepted in society. They did not see it as an evil thing because
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Homosexual conduct between a teacher and a student was considered a valuable part of the education process. Since the children were taken care of mostly by the government, it was important to establish a lasting relationship with someone that would teach you how to become a young man. The military supported homosexuality, as they thought that one would fight harder to protect his unit if he had a lover or multiple lovers in the same unit. It was also believed to bring about a sense of comradeship. "Similarly, the Greek attitude toward sex was, for the most part, value-neutral... And though exclusive homosexuality was probably discouraged as a threat to the family, it was widely tolerated both for older men who had children and for younger men prior to marriage."-(Blumenfeld and Raymond 1988. 155) Yet, as time went on, people who performed homosexual acts were considered polluted and to have become like women, and were therefore expelled from the military. The Greeks had double standards. Even though they recognized passion and attraction towards the same sex, those who were not attracted to women were not tolerated. Therefore, if a man was homosexual, he had to already have a wife and children. These double standards came from the fact that the society had to reproduce in order to survive. Homosexuality was only tolerated if both of the men have already established a family and met their obligations to reproduce. Social status was also