A Problem in Greek Ethics

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A PROBLEM IN GREEK ETHICS

A

PROBLEM

IN

GREEK ETHICS

being

AN INQUIRY INTO THE PHENOMENON OF

SEXUAL INVERSION

addressed especially to medical psychologists and jurists

 

by

JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS

 

PRIVATELY PRINTED

for

THE ΑΡΕΟΠΑΓΙΤΙΓΑ SOCIETY

LONDON

1908

Privately Printed in Hollana for the Society.

PREFACE.

 

 

The following treatise on Greek Love was written in the year 1873, when my mind was occupied with my Studies of Greek Poets. I printed ten copies of it privately in 1883. It was only when I read the Terminal Essay appended by Sir Richard Burton to his translation of the Arabian Nights in 1886, that I became aware of M. H. E. Meier's article on Pæderastie (Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopædie, Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1837). My treatise, therefore, is a wholly independent production. This makes Meier's agreement (in Section 7 of his article) with the theory I have set forth in Section X. regarding the North Hellenic origin of Greek Love, and its Dorian character, the more remarkable. That two students, working separately upon the same mass of material, should have arrived at similar conclusions upon this point strongly confirms the probability of the hypothesis.

J. A. SYMONDS.

CONTENTS.

 

 
I. Introduction: Method of treating the subject.
II. Homer had no knowledge of paiderastia—Achilles—Treatment of Homer by the later Greeks.
III. The Romance of Achilles and Patroclus.
IV. The heroic ideal of masculine love.
V. Vulgar paiderastia—How introduced into Hellas—Crete—Laius—The myth of Ganymede.
VI. Discrimination of two loves, heroic and vulgar. The mixed sort is the paiderastia defined as Greek love in this essay.
VII. The intensity of paiderastia as an emotion, and its quality.
VIII. Myths of paiderastia.
IX. Semi-legendary tales of love—Harmodius and Aristogeiton.
X. Dorian Customs—Sparta and Crete—Conditions of Dorian life—Moral quality of Dorian love—Its final degeneracy—Speculations on the early Dorian Ethos—Bœotians' customs—The sacred band—Alexander the Great—Customs of Elis and Megara—Hybris—Ionia.
XI. Paiderastia in poetry of the lyric age. Theognis and Kurnus—Solon—Ibycus, the male Sappho—Anacreon and Smerdies—Drinking songs—Pindar and Theoxenos—Pindar's lofty conception of adolescent beauty.
XII. Paiderastia upon the Attic stage—Myrmidones of Æschylus—Achilles' lovers, and Niobe of Sophocles—The Chrysippus of Euripides—Stories about Sophocles—Illustrious Greek paiderasts.
XIII. Recapitulation of points—Quotation from the speech of Pausanias on love in Plato's Symposium—Observations on this speech. Position of women at Athens—Attic notion of marriage as a duty—The institution of Paidagogoi—Life of a Greek boy—Aristophanes' Clouds—Lucian's Amores—The Palæstra—The Lysis—The Charmides—Autolicus in Xenophon's Symposium—Speech of Critobulus on beauty and love—Importance of gymnasia in relation to paiderastia—Statues of Erôs—Cicero's opinions—Laws concerning the gymnasia—Graffiti on walls—Love-poems and panegyrics—Presents to boys—Shops and mauvais lieux—Paiderastic Hetaireia—Brothels—Phædon and Agathocles. Street-brawls about boys—Lysias in Simonem.
XIV. Distinctions drawn by Attic law and custom—Chrestoi Pornoi—Presents and money—Atimia of freemen who had sold their bodies—The definition of MisthosisEromenos, Hetairekos, Peporneumenos, distinguished—Æschines against Timarchus—General Conclusion as to Attic feeling about honourable paiderastia.
XV. Platonic doctrine on Greek love—The asceticism of the Laws—Socrates—His position defined by Maximus Tyrius—His science of erotics—The theory of the Phædrus: erotic Mania—The mysticism of the Symposium: love of beauty—Points of contact between Platonic paiderastia and chivalrous love: Mania and Joie: Dante's Vita Nuova—Platonist and Petrarchist—Gibbon on the "thin device" of the Athenian philosophers—Testimony of Lucian, Plutarch, Cicero.
XVI. Greek liberty and Greek love extinguished at Chæronea—The Idyllists—Lucian's Amores—Greek poets never really gross—Mousa Paidiké—Philostratus' Epistolai Erotikai—Greek Fathers on paiderastia.
XVII. The deep root struck by paiderastia in Greece—Climate—Gymnastics—Syssitia—Military life—Position of Women: inferior culture; absence from places of resort—Greek leisure.
XVIII. Relation of paiderastia to the fine arts—Greek sculpture wholly and healthily human—Ideals of female deities—Paiderastia did not degrade the imagination of the race—Psychological analysis underlying Greek mythology—The psychology of love—Greek mythology fixed before Homer—Opportunities enjoyed by artists for studying women—Anecdotes about artists—The æsthetic temperament of the Greeks, unbiased by morality and religion, encouraged paiderastia—Hora—Physical and moral qualities admired by a Greek—Greek ethics were æsthetic—Sophrosyne—Greek religion was æsthetic—No notion of Jehovah—Zeus and Ganymede.
XIX. Homosexuality among Greek women—Never attained to the same dignity as paiderastia.
XX. Greek love did not exist at Rome—Christianity—Chivalry—The modus vivendi of the modern world.



This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.