Similisexual Love in the Brute World; in Primitive, Barbarous and Semi-Civilized Man; in Ancient Civilizations and Religions; and under Ancient and Modern Statutory Law.
The distinctly individual and biographic contents of this study will be regarded by the less philosophic with more interest than these preliminary analyses of various aspects of similisexual passion. But only through these considerations can one enter with full intelligence on the narratives and other clinical memoranda of Uranian and Uraniad types.
in the Brute
When we look into sexualism in the brute-world we soon discern that nothing could be more the misuse of a term than to speak of similisexual passion as "against nature", an an "unnatural" impulse, and so on. Everyday observation, wherever wild animals or tame are to be watched, convinces us of the in-rooted propensity. The entire chain of beasts, birds, fishes, reptiles, and rather in proportion to advances in fineness of nervous organism, practice similisexual habits, by inborn impulses and deliberate choice. By an odd contradiction of phrase, the tendency is called both an "unnatural" and a "bestial" one, In the mammals, the horse, the dog, the camel, the ass, the elephant, all members of the ursine, lupine, bovine and rodent families, the larger and the smaller felidae, and in particular the ape and monkey, entire genera are given to it. In Dr. Garnier's interesting work on Onanism he gives many
instances. The preference on the part of the animal for sexual gratification with its own sex instead of with the opposite one, does not necessarily originate in the fact that the male, for instance, has no access to the female for heterosexual copulation. On the contrary his inclination seems deliberate, often to obstination.
In birds the tendency is also general. A great proportion of birds make no distinction whatever between copulating with the male or the female; actively or passively participating in it. The same obedience to either the active or passive role is observed in many common beasts. One of our domestic animals giving us every day the most common proof of making no distinction as to sexual passion, the dog, is rarely willing to be passive in the act; though the dog, occasionally, seems to prefer that form. The word "dog" in all oriental languages, especially in Scriptural usages, is synomous for sodomite, etc.
In the entomological kingdom most interesting habits of deliberate, preferred similisexual intercourse between male insects have been minutely observed and recorded. The reader, is referred to the notes of Professor Karsch of Berlin, and to Kelch, Noel, Osten-Sacken, Lacassagne and others, either directly or as cited by Moll, Ellis, and others when treating of human similisexualism. But the naturalist does not discover any new general principle when studying the instinct in the animal-world. Pliny and Aristotle noted it, and even argued from it toward the general problem.
We may also take note of the fact that botany is not altogether silent on the question of similisexual relations between plants. Something much like (strange as it seems) a deliberate similisexual intention has been studied by several botanists of authority in connection with researches into fertilization and cross-fertilizations.
We turn to primitive man; or at least to far-away periods of human social and racial existence. What was the attitude of individuals or nations toward similisexual passion when men were uninfluenced by artificial cultures, and followed the lead of plain natural impulses?
That it was a primitive, natural predisposition in human nature, is hardly contestable, even if the scrawls of troglodytes and lacustrine savages do not speak of it. The oldest Oriental and Latin and Hellenic writers found it active in the barbarous nations with whom they came into contact, in war or peace. Today, the explorers in the wilds of the savage-world have found it rooted, contrary to theories of its relation to advanced esthetic life. The savage still regards it largely as of no import, morally or physiologically. Similisexual love, the will to satisfy it, has among its paradoxes this one, that it pervades quite uncultured natures, while also appearing to be to be a direct consequent of aesthetic and intellectual cultivation. To refined civilizations it is almost an inevitable accompaniment, ever working along the nervous lines of aesthetic susceptibility. But also it occurs distinctly where all society's concepts are rudimentary. The savages of Asia, Central Africa and East-Indian islands, the Esquimaux, the Patagonian and Red Indian tribesmen, the barbaric dwellers in the archipelagoes of the Pacific, are all given to similisexual practices, whether between men and men or between women and women, but especially in its male phases. Among that mystic and ever-primitive race, the Gipsies, the passion of the male for the male, and its frankest physical gratification is current, especially in Central-European Zigeunerthum. The ancient Scythians so accepted the instinct of sexual relations between males that a special class of well-conducted male prostitutes was organized by that warlike people. The primitive German and Gothic races were given to it, coincidental with their strongest military periods. To-day it is one of the racial traits of their descendants. The Etruscans were peculiarly given to similisexualism and the Tuscans and Umbrians have inherited its passions. It was a part of the Aztec social system, and even of Aztec religions, and Central America and South America know it instinctively.
In the social life of those great past peoples, the Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian nations, similisexual love, at least between males, was more or less a recognized and even legitimate factor, physiologic and spiritual. The sexual charm of the male for the male, the influence of his beauty as an esthetic force on his own sex, appears to have been taken for granted as natural, and seldom was discountenanced. Of a prevalence of female similisexualism we have no historic record, but its existence is beyond doubt. Earliest legislation took little or no control of the, similisexual impulses and habits. In -Egypt there seems to have been no period when men were not accustomed to give free course, as by natural right, to the passion. In all dynasties, in all classes, in the army, the priesthood, in civil life, it was well-known.
al Love was so
unced by the
Here we may notice a matter, referring to Egypt, that will be found significant; painfully so when presently we look at the attitudes of modern criminal-law toward the passion. In Egypt, at the time of Moses and the Jewish servitude, similisexualism could be easily a deterrent, of importance, to increase of population. It was especially a check of the male and "war-available". Sexual intercourse between men was a foe to normal sexual satisfaction, to heterosexual love, and so to early marriages and offspring. Undoubtedly the habit was rooted in the Hebrew people when, for generations captive to the Egyptian race, saturated
with all that was Egyptian, morally, socially and religiously. Moses, or whoever, whatever, is typified by Moses, the shrewd, far-seeing law-giver, had his mind fixed on, not only the deliverance of his race hut on its uttermost expansion as a people, a fighting people. There were arduous campaigns before the Hebrews for their establishment as a dominant race. Hence Mosaic laws set severe penalties against masculine similisexualism. The new nation must be made populous as well as prosperous. Every individual male was to count. Every family was to be urged to increase and multiply, or the military occupation of the Promised Land would be impossible. Accordingly the early Hebrew legislation repudiated on a distinctly religious basis, and branded as a moral and religious offence, an impulse that has no natural, no spiritual reasons for such prohibition any more than has the classing of one or another beast as a "clean" or "unclean" article of diet. The Mosaic ban of semilisexualism had a direct relation to economy of sexual powers, and to population.
The "Sin of So-
dom" never a Sin,
and Never Estab-
lished as Such
by the Story of
Naturally one is told by surprised objectors to this plain fact, that the "earlier," "ante-Mosaic," civilization opposed similisexual love; punished mercilessly sexual intercourse of the kind. So we have been informed, when especially the story of Lot and his mysterious guests in Sodom is cited. But such objectors will do well to understand once for all (likely for the first time) that the entire episode of Lot and the wicked men of Sodom does not afford any grounds for arguing that Sodom was destroyed on account of its similisexual tastes and practices, or that Sodom was really given to such. Further, we have no proof that homosexual intercourse was ever special to Sodom, ever was or is an offense to God, even to a Jehovistic concept of God; nor that what the world's statute-books, and pulpit-parlance especially, have
so long termed "sodomy" should ever have such a meaning. The incident of Lot and his guests, and of the mob that attacked Lot's house in Sodom with the clamorous "Bring out the men, that we may know
them!" correctly read, is simply a common civic episode of a suspicious Oriental town. A mob-element being excited, feared some political treachery; and violated the hospitality that Lot had offered to two strangers, supposed to be spies or what else, by the unfriendly crowd. There is no textual or other reason to give the verb "know" a sexual value, no warrant for sexual colouring of the affair. Almost exactly the same incident occurs in another defense of guests; set
forth in Judges XIX, vv. 16-26 (retold in Chap. XX, vv. 4-5)
in the night-attack of the curious and alarmed townsmen of the city of Gibeah. There, too, a stranger, a Levite, had been taken into a house, with the same Eastern hospitality, and saved his life by allowing his concubine to be the victim of the mob, precisely as Lot offered his virgin daughters. Both episodes are plainly tales of violated hospitality. The same devices to appease the citizens are mentioned; but there is no evidence even in this last detail of sexual insults to the guest. In the story of the Levite, we distinctly read that the object of the attack was because "they thought to have slain
" him; and Sodom's mob included both "young and old, all the people from every quarter". The two stories are absolutely of Oriental "guest and host" duties and claims.
The Mosaic charge to Israel that similisexual love was an abomination in the. sight of the Jewish Jehovah, a particular moral enormity meriting death, had no basis in any moral "revelation to Moses," any more than had other wise provisions of the Mosaic Code. The warning, the death-penalty, were inserted for directly practical motives, not theological nor ethical objections. (The very words that are used of similisexual relations as a sin, refer to many other matters often; to what we consider quite minor offenses). Let us note, for other example, the story of Onan. There is absolutely no ground in the incident of Onan and the spilled seed, for regarding masturbation as a moral obliquity. Onan was not punished for what was a moral sexual dereliction per se; but for unwillingness to marry his brother's widow, and to raise up a family for his brother's name; a breach of religion, of Oriental civil-custom, in Onan's early day. Onan, like many men, has his name used as a reproach against him and his posterity, by an injustice to the man and the action. We can admit that the Mosaic Code put similisexual passion and its gratification in line with grave moral, social, religious offenses, with rape, murder, idollatry, bestiality. But such a juxtaposition and the death-penalty for homosexual relations should never have been taken by later and non-Israelitish peoples as referring such sexual intercourse, between men and men, or women and women, to the unnatural, or to the ethically vicious.
There is interest in our also noticing here that though Moses so plainly includes bestiality as an offence, laying stress on feminine intercourse with a beast, he makes no allusion to similisexual passion between two women, general as it must have been in the Egyptian and Hebrew social life.
The Status of Mo-
and Canon Law
Ethics, as an
We are thus brought all at once to a peculiarly important, a startling but irresistible conclusion. Our general fabric of modern and Christian law, directly and indirectly, being so considerably informed with ideas and provisions of the Mosaic Code, in spite of the weight of Roman and other legislative codes that enter into modern legislation and ethical feeling, we realize that the attitude of Christian civilization and of Christian morals toward similisexual love and its
gratification is simply a relic of ancient Jewish, semi-civilized dispensations. Legislation against it utters a moral-social sentiment with which we have, today, rightfully, little or nothing to do.
More than this, however startling to us, let us observe also that similisexualism has never by right known any essential, even inferred, prohibition in the real Christian system. For, the position of the Gospel narratives, the attitude and expressions or silences of Christ as to it, point out differentially the fact that what the Apostles affirmed of it was on their own authority; merely part and parcel of the Judaism with which, from the very beginning, Christianity has been so loaded down. From that it suffers to-day only too much. The purest New Testament ethical dispensation ever should ignore homosexualism, when we look closely into the finer origins of gospel ethics. Our criminal laws, so much infused with old Canon Law, with mediaevally religious views, have perpetuated the hostile sentiment and error. In fact, the attitude of Christ toward many recondite human relations raises the question of how far Christ himself is an illustration of the emotion of similisexual love, with its concurrent reserve toward any warmer relationships to woman than that of son or friend or teacher. We also justly can infer that Apostolic Christianity pronounced against intersexualism through policy, quite as much as through moral antagonism of Jewish colour.
in Greece in
We reach now the race and the civilization commonly most associated with similisexual love, as an open element of emotion and civil life. The passion early received one of its names, "Greek love" from significance in almost every period of Hellenic society. It was instinctive to the Greek temperament, a temperament at once rugged and yet aesthetically sensitive as in no other race. Similisexuality long-time has been spoken
of also as "Greek friendship". This is a misleading term, since similisexualism often was distinguished by Greek psychists and philosophers and legislators from friendships between men and men, or women and women, on lines that have differentiated it in the preceding chapter. We may indeed say that certain of the finest epochs of Grecian military dominancy, and esthetic, sensitiveness were informed saturated, ruled by homosexualism. That a man should be sexually attracted, enthralled, by the corporeal beauty of another male being, as well as won to him by intellectual and moral attractions in the object of his passion, was regarded as wholly natural. The sentiment was outspoken exactly as the heterosexual love was outspoken. Often the freest and happiest mutual course was given it. It was admired, idealized and reverenced. Heroic Greece, warlike Greece, pacific Greece, philosophic Greece, aesthetic and ethic Greece recognized its natural impulses. A man's sexual love for a man or for a youth, at certain periods was accounted purer, more elevating and manly than love for woman. The Greek was a passional woman-lover, frequently. But the sentiment for mistress or betrothed or wife was, over again, ranked as inferior to the heroic and mysterious similisexual flame. This, instead, became a leaven and lever in statecraft. It strengthened the young warrior's spirit in battle, as he fought for, or beside, the "dear companion". It struck down tyrants,. breathed life into art and letters, idealized human nature. It was prehistorically a part of the Olympian system of Hellenic mythology, from Jupiter downward. Especially it gave rise to the Platonic theory of the Two Venuses; Venus Pandemonia inspiring the heart with love for the other sex; the other a Venus Urania, the greater and more elementary Venus, that inspires a man's passion for a man. It endured through many Hellenic periods, though subject to important civil attitudes, including hostile ones. Greece to-day knows it, as does the rest of the modern world, though in its relatively clandestine relation to
daily life. As Hellenic society and states declined, the phases of similisexual love altered; its quality abased, becoming vulgarized in tone and idealism. It transferred itself, under such derogatory phases, into the Roman social fabric, though it was not in the least new to Oscan, Etruscan and early Latin civilizations. Even to day, it survives in a particular frankness and purity in a spot near its original Grecian home. A similisexual love between men, that frequently offers much of the heroic and ideal, is found in the wild and reticent clans of the Albanians; honourably recognized by that warlike and imaginative race as a distinct sentimental factor; and there, too, as a sentiment by no means of the "disembodied" type.
and of the Heroic
Age, in Greece?
Certain students of the similisexual instinct in Hellenic life have claimed that the earliest periods of Greek society, particularly the Heroic and Homeric Epochs recognized only a spiritual, intellectual love between man and man; a sentiment intensely romantic and absorbing, even to excluding love for woman, but without the wish for physical gratification. We are asked to recognize in the bond between, for instance, Achilles and Patroclus only this abstract and ideal love. The notion is incorrect. The mistake originated with the wish of later apologists to gloss over the true elements of such relationship. Especially did such a view become part of the aim of Judaic and Christian ethics to define similisexual love between men as a depraved pagan impulse; not compatible with elevated heathenism, or with finer heroic temperaments. The same insistance on such heroic "friendship" as having no physical undercurrent, has dealt dishonestly with Biblical and other Oriental male affinities; with thousands of modern historic examples. It has been accented by a sort of perverse suppression of biographical details; by following too reticent or too ignorant guides.
in Hellenic Love.
But we must point out that the Greeks themselves made at least three important distinctions as to homosexualism, during various periods of their social fabric. They did, indeed, recognize a merely spiritual passion and bond, untouched by physical desires. This type, however it was confused with a much less ideal sentiment, existed and it was much lauded; as it deserved. But it was not love, but friendship, at its highest throb. As regards it we also have reason to believe that many aspects which the idealists in Greece permitted to this psychic relationship, as details of its spirituality, were blended with physical desires. A calmer sentiment bespeaks maturity of the ages, minds and tempers in the two friends. Second, we find current in Greece the similisexual physical love confessedly, or under a veil; including high idealism, intellectual companionships, completion of the friend's existence, along with the physical passion for him, and its natural satisfaction. This is a sort of similisexual passion and love-sentiment in which the friends are relatively of equal and fairly mature ages. It needs a ripened emotionality on both sides, a harmonious and balanced union. Last, we must record the fact that as Greek social civilization developed at the expense of its heroic quality, as Greek military spirit weakened, there increased in the aesthetic Hellene his sense of merely boyish beauty, with his desire of mere physical possession of a youth. This sentiment we know today under the phases of Pederasty, or boy-love, on the part of the man. Beyond dispute, this was and is a lower, in some sense a decadent aesthetic emotion. It was probably wrought into the Greek temperament by Oriental and outside influences; at least they developed it materially. It was the surrender of the Hellene to his more superficial sense of what is. indeed, a peculiarly winning expression of human beauty; but one divorced in too large degree from the intellectual dignity and mature beauty that enters into fine similisexual love. In such a sentiment lurks
contravention of childhood, damage to emotional tranquillity and innocence of youth. It becomes a baneful social influence, and a menace to national and individual well-being, whether in Greece or any other land, whether in past epochs, or about us to day.
Greek Society to-
Pederasty became a most influential sentiment in Greek life, during numerous periods of greater or lesser importance and interest. As its harmful relations to youth became clearer understood, it was directly legislated against, often most severely, by Greek lawgivers; sometimes was strongly repudiated socially. But this hostile attitude was a fluctuating matter. Through long epochs of all that was most Greek, boy-love was regarded as quite as legitimate and ideal a sentiment as the love of a man for a woman, or even more so. General was the passion of a man, not merely a young man, or a lad, for the loveliness of a boy just verging on manhood, and so uniting especially the first potency of the masculine physique with the grace of the feminine, and at the same time offering the spontaneous psychic charm of youthful, boyish natures. Pederastic admiration was outspoken and accepted by all classes, from philosophers and poets to statesmen or the humblest citizens. The Greek lyric and dramatic writers made it their theme. Theognis, Anacreon, Pindar, Meleager, Euripides, Plato, Lucian, Athenaeus, and so on in an endless succession, "married it to immortal verse," to noble prose or to learned study. Amusingly, we discover how Socratism juggled rhetorically with it. For, it is true that we find the Greek philosophers, eternal straw-splitters, often insisting on line distinctions in the quality of pederasty. They persisted in giving it as far as possible an intellectual and educational and other complexions. They draped elegantly its nudely physical quality, they made it what we might call pedophily, in place of pederasty. But it is not easy to believe in the sincerity of
the average Greek pedophilist in vigorous and normal life, who repudiated all idea of bodily desire in his passion for a beautiful youth. Socrates cannot be acquitted of just this real and natural sort of similisexual love of the pederastic sort. His admirations and intimacies were not merely psycho-pedophilic: no matter what are specious counter-arguments or such occasional anecdotes as that well-known one by Alcibiades—a tale of dubious sincerity. Indeed much of what is written as "apologetic" and controversive of pederasty in Hellenic temperaments is rhetoric. The pages of Plutarch and of Athenaeus are lavish in instances of the fact that every phase of hellenic society was influenced by the physical passion of the male for the male. Grave political events could turn on such a sentiment, and even valuable national concomitants. In Plutarch's Life of Pelopidas, a considerable account occurs of the celebrated "Sacred Band," originated by Gorgias, exclusively composed of young warriors. Each one was the declared lover of some comrade, his associate in battle or peace, with whom his career and life were indissolubly united in a homosexual emotion, tending toward their mutual advance in bravery and virtue. The story of Aristides specially recognizes the fact that the life-long feud between Aristides and Themistocles took its course because of their early rivalry for the love of a certain youth called Stesilaos of Keos, spoken of "as the most beautiful young man of his time;" for the exclusive possession of whom the two men struggled obstinately. Plutarch says that this Stesilaos "was adored by them both with an affection that passed all bounds." Agesilaos the noble sovereign of Sparta, was highly susceptible to similisexual passions. His relationships to one or another beautiful boy, were famous. We read of his intimacy with Megabetes, the handsome son of Spithridates; of the swift attraction which he exercised on the beautiful young son of Pharnabazus; of his similisexual attitude toward the young king Agesipolis, his ward; indeed of his special
approval of all such sentiments. Agesilaos seems to have transmitted his similisexualism to his son, Archidamos; for we have an account of Archidamos as the lover of a beautiful lad named Kleomenes, the same youth who presently died a glorious death in battle, and upon whose body another young man named Panteus committed suicide in his intense grief and love; an historical incident worthy the pen of a Vergil. Again, in the history of the tyrannical Demetrius comes the story of Damocles "the Beautiful." This boy was famed far and wide for his surpassing loveliness. Demetrius was determined to possess him, and laid all manner of plans to that end. The boy would none of him. One day, the tyrant, inflamed with his lust, surprised the boy alone, in a private bath; for Damocles had avoided all public places of the kind, so hateful to him was the passion of the prince. Finding that this time he was helpless, the lad threw himself into the boiling water, and so perished, rather than allow himself to be enjoyed by a man whom he loathed.
Many more historic passages to the point can be cited from Hellenic authours of history. We shall see later what belles-lettres afford, in the same key.
In short, similisexual love and its intercourse in Hellenic life was, for the most part, put on a footing with heterosexual love, even when it narrowed itself, not to say degenerated, to pederasty as a merely physical rather than spiritual impulse. When pederastic, it was not legislated-against nor frowned-down, except when dangers to the intellectual, moral and physical development of the lad and disturbance in the family were perceived, and properly made a serious consideration. It was satirized as a weakness, reproved as a lapse, by philosophers and poets when it was not excepted-against in any statutory manner.
The similisexual passion between women appears with distinctness in Greek social life, and enters into Hellenic literature with emphasis. It has, in fact, received a specific name, Lesbianism, from the relationship of the great woman-poet of Hellas to the passion. "Greek love" as a term has been long applied almost as particularly to female similisexualism, and to its grosser phases, as it has been to masculine passion. But no legislative notice was taken of feminine similisexualism by Greek statutory law. Society smiled at it, or ignored it; just as is the case today. It never acquired any dignified philosophic or other recognition in Greece, at any time; apparently being relegated to the indifference that was felt toward much that was feminine, by the Hellene.
Rooted in the primitive Etruscan and and Latin peoples, a covert passion in the earlier and less aesthetic Roman State, strengthened by Greek and Oriental influences in proportion to the progress of luxury and loss of idealism in later periods of Roman civilization, the sexual passion of the male for the male pervaded Rome with cumulative vigour. Throughout classic and pagan epochs, it was, successively, either tolerated; or merely spasmodically reprehended as a civil danger, rather than treated through any general moral question of it; or satirized, idealized, glorified; or simply taken for granted. We are often assured that primitive
Latin society was a stranger to it, or regarded it as a moral disgrace. This is not the fact, any more than that it became first influential in Latin character through importation from Greece. It did however suffer shameful debasements from Greek ideals, when Roman corruption of social morals was at the fullest, along with the Roman grossness that distorted so much of what in Greek conditions was richly ideal and spiritual.
Rome republican and monarchical, Rome military and pacific, Rome m power and decadence, was a Rome similisexual as to love. Under the Republic, a certain vague attitude of rebuke to it seems to have existed, but not as to feminine similisexualism. Of the remote Scatinian Law that bore on it, we have vague data; that law appears to have referred to special pederastic practices and to the protection of innocent youth from debauchery. The Lex Julia, another early law dealing with the matter, is also obscure in its scope. We can note the presence of a special legislation of some sort that related to soldiers when in military service, needing a bodily vigour not to be impaired in camps and barracks. This latter detail, by the way, is to-day recognized by modern Italian law, which otherwise takes no notice of sexual passions or practices between men and men, men and youths, women and their own sex, unless public decency is openly outraged, force used, or minor youth debauched.
Under the Roman Empire, however, similisexual love reached a degree of open acceptance, stood on a sentimental footing, in Roman society that met almost no repudiation of it by popular notions. We have but to turn to the pages of the finest flower or the rankest weed-growth of Latin literature, to the historians and biographers of the golden-decadent Roman world, whether giving us pictures of the Palatine or the Suburra, to find it writ large. Legislation cared little for it, save now and then some protective laws for minors, among these Domitian's prohibitive laws against prostitution of young children, which Martial received with such fulsome praise in an epigram. The sentiment in the epoch of the first Caesars degenerated repulsively. It became crudely pederastic, losing all quality of manly idealism. All phases of it obtained. Its prostitutes were legion. The Augustan Age was full of it. One has only to read his Vergil, and the pages of Suetonius, Tacitus, Dion Cassius, Tibullus, Catullus, Juvenal, Persius, Martial, where each has written part of the long record,
showing us how gross or spiritual was the passion in the Roman temperament. The Empire was filled full with it. The attitudes of high Roman philosophy, did not affect the general views. Not till the Judo-Christian system of Apostolic ethics reached the Imperial throne, and became weighty in Roman statutory law and in the public mind, did the idea that similisexual love was contrary to nature, and to be rooted-out as an evil impulse in the human temperament, become fixed. Even as late as the reign of Alexander Severus (A. D. 222-236) the Roman law dealt only with debauchment of minors. The same reserve is noted under such late legislators as the Emperors Philip, and Aurelius Victor.
That in the voluptuous and decadent social whirlpool of the Twelve Caesars (the Neronian reign especially) the whole aspect of similisexual love became degraded even to outraging all sense of aesthetics, social decency and virility is only too plain. But it was no new matter; no product of mere late-Roman rottenness. The most august and warlike and philosophic and ethic Emperors, or private citizens, were given to homosexual passions, no matter what were their relations to women; and this, too, at a time when ordinary and heterosexual love had no limit to its open vehemence, and to honour or shame. Julius Caesar seems to have been in all years of his life an unqualified passive pederast; satirized as "every man's woman, and every woman's man." His relations
to young Nicomedes, King of Bithynia
, and to his favorite nephew, who later became the great Augustus, were coarse jests of his day. Augustus the noblest figure in the Roman imperial succession, was similisexual, and by no means confined his intimacies to those with his great predecessor. We find the theater-crowds joking, in the presence of Augustus, as to his habits of the sort; and there is one reference in Plutarch (in the life of Demetrius) to a certain youth called by a significant nick-name "Delicias," who had been a favourite of
Augustus when the great emperor was only Octavianus. The conspiracy which ended tragically the career of Sertorius came to a climax because of the mixing in it of two beautiful young pederasts, Manlius and Aufidius: the lover of Manlius, a high officer in the army, was weak enough to disclose to his minion the plot against his commander
, and the secret began to spread untimely. In the life of Caius Lucius, a valiant soldier, a nephew of Marius, we are told by Plutarch of the passion of Lucius for a certain young officer in his service named Trebonius. Trebonius would not yield himself. Caius Lucius contrived to lure the young man to his tent one night, and attempted to violate him. Trebonius killed Lucius with his sword. This affair made a great scandal. One of the earliest official acts of Cato the Censor was to degrade Lucius Quintus Flamininus, a brother of the great Titus Flamininus, from office, and from his seat at public spectacles, because of a most inhuman crime. Lucius Quintus Flamininus kept a beautiful boy, whom he loved out of measure as a similisexual plaything. The lad pettishly complained once that in the circus he "had never seen a man die". Flamininus ordered that a slave should be brought at once to the dining-room where they then sat; to be executed. Plutarch tells the same gruesome tale, in his account of Titus Flamininus. Plutarch mentions the homosexualism of Pompey. There are other references of more or less pertinence to a study of homosexualism in Rome, at various epochs that far precede the real decadence of the Roman character or State. With the social laxities and lost ideals of the imperial periods, the passion had full movement. Almost each succeeding Caesar, and his court, illustrated it. We trace it onward and onward, through the reigns of Caius, of Claudius, of Nero, and so on, to the immortal passion of Trajan for Antinous, and to princes and epochs far beyond. The emotion never fails of appearing. But it was, as I have pointed out, strikingly pederastic. Hence it deteriorated; even if we
can justly believe that many Romans felt it with its noble and better-compounded elements; turning away from the merely physical passion.
The preponderance of the instinct of similisexual love among Roman women is a matter of clear data, either through historians or belleslettres inference. By merely the references in Juvenal, we can draw plain enough inferences. It must have been general, at least in the intimately smart circles of social Rome. It is not referred to as of emotional consequence by the lyric poets; but rebuked by satirists. No Latin Sappho has sung it. No statutory codes paid attention to it, till the Christian régime attacked it as a moral and religious offence, like the masculine passion.
Hostility of Prim-
ty toward all
But the change was great on the advance of a New Faith into the social and legal and spiritual fabric of the pagan world. With the sternly prohibitory attitude toward so much that was human
, assumed by a Christianity that was and remains Saturated with Judaism, similisexual love began to take-on swiftly, for the whole world a new aspect—that of a special and terrible sin. Hitherto it had been distinctively such—a sin per se
, a sin by religious conviction—only to the Jew. But now that position was to be vastly strengthened in the new and yeasty social revolution, following the decline of Pagan Humanism. All earthly passions were looked at askance by the primitive and Apostolic teachers. Profane loves were snares that drew the heart from God, and from the working-out of personal salvation, during a short and delusive earthly life. The hermits and ascetics implored men and women to fight down all desires, save for Heaven. To love God and the agonized Redeemer must be man's absorbing passion. Thousands fled to the deserts and forests, to shut themselves away from the temptations and distractions of any human affections. The Mosaic
position toward similisexual love was affirmed and reaffirmed by presbyter and priest, by apostle and bishop. The tale of Sodom and Gommorrha was blackened into wholly a special sexual warning. The words of the Jewish ex-voluptuary, who became a pillar of the New Faith, St. Paul, and the allusions of other teachers were cited as the Voice of God concerning a pagan sin of sins; an awful impulse against Nature as perfected by God.
to be Eradicated.
That this sentiment should take such Patristic force is easily understood. Such love was a distinct tendency toward pagan aestheticism. That above all, must be rooted out, annihilated with other earthly interests, other indulgences of the fleshly instincts. There was no place for them under the new dispensation. All profane love save altruistic benevolence to our neighbour, was a peril. Heterosexual love was pernicious enough; any other sort vastly worse. Woman was a snare. Had not Christ held aloof from her?—even if he had been the guest and friend of Martha and Mary. Marriage was tolerated for the laity; but the saintly must abide celibate, the holy-minded must have no personal knowledge of carnal lust.
The Instant Hos-
tility of the Ro-
man Church; and
This was not all. For the sentiment hostile to similisexual love, bent on making in the most depraved of instincts, increased just as the Catholic Church exaggerated its respect for the humble mother of the Redeemer. The new Faith made the worship of the Feminine-Abstract, the Blessed Lady the Immaculate Virgin, a mysterious, strenuous cult; even to displacing by it the just adoration of Christ. Woman, as typified by the Virgin, was held up as the ideal of the world-heart. Mariolatry, the fine flower of feminine concepts became the special policy of the Roman Church, in shrewd concession to human, aesthetic impulses, and in a perpetual combat of male sexualism. Just as
Christianity had darkened existence with the gloom and gore
of the Cross, so the sentiment-of Mary-worship
was to effeminize the social and sexual life of the male.
The Later Canon
and Roman Law,
We have now to consider briefly other legal aspects. Under Constantine and Justinian the similisexual passion took its place in relation to civil law as a felony, punishable with great severity—castration and death included. With the breaking-up of the Empire, and the parting of Europe and the rest of the world into the Mediaeval States, each established its own criminal laws and moral systems; but almost all were influenced directly by Roman and Christian conceptions. Hence the intolerant attitude to similisexual love grew only the stronger. The Church, with its severe Canon Law, made it a special matter for ecclesiastical punishment, like heresy, apostasy and other spiritual felonies. It became abhorred as the vice of vices, the very hell-poison of the Beast in mankind. It was visited with death by fire and torture.
of the Passion
despite all Legis-
tation and Social
And yet, when the sentiment of the Christian code of morals and laws so characterized it, the homosexual passion persistently held firm place in humanity. It was continually coming to the surface. By curious irony, the Church became a special conservatory for its cultivation, in spite of law and gospel. Under the mask of spiritually loathing it, the finer society of the mediaeval Italian, Teutonic and Gallic world was riddled-through with similisexual love. Except when deteriorated to a vulgar pederasty, or when associated with moral and physical offence and danger to the individual, thoughtful laic minds held back from attack upon a passion that, if refined, never could injure the moral and spiritual nature any more than could the heterosexual love. How rebuke an impulse which indeed was often part of the finest
idealism and altruism? as natural in demanding its expression as thirst and hunger and sleep!
In Mediaeval and
Naturally the mediaeval period of Italy was outspoken both in civil and canon law, against the passion. But soon this attitude became nominal. The Renaissance especially revived the sentiment in the Italian soul, where it had never been lost, giving it renewed social force. The Italian-Hellenic psychos with its boundless aestheticism, declined to be coerced by any religious teachings as to this sort of love, or as to the other. It became a more or less open phase of Italy's social life in all classes, especially the aristocratic, in Tuscany, Rome, Apulia and Sicily. With such popes as the Borgias and such princes as the Medici it was very considerably pederastic. Laws against homosexual offences fell into disuse, or were abrogated. In the Statutes of Siena which set the most-cruel penalties for it, we find that their repeal was urged because otherwise "everybody" would suffer doom for it. Florence became enthusiastically pederastic: in vain Savonarola denounced it. Perugia, Verona, Venice,
Milan, Naples, Rome, many towns of Sicily
, were distinctively "Cities of Sodom" as they are to-day. And in Italy, at this time, it assumed frequently its ancient Greek dignity, its old-time heroic beauty; a sentiment, for life and death, between the two men bound together in it. Cloister and camp, palace and barrack, studio and shop, it nearly regained its old estate in Italy the Kind. There is somewhat of the ironical, too, in discovering that many indisputably similisexual loves have been glorified by biographers, poets and moralists for centuries, under the name of marvellous and warm "friendships", either in ignorance or in reluctance to look into and to confess their real complexions. Some of these instances we shall have occasion to clarity in later parts of this study.
In Teutonic Coun-
tries and Laws:
and in France and
the North; during
The German, Austrian, Keltic and Scandinavian and Slavic races have always been instinctively similisexual. The Christian system, and its codes of law, secular and spiritual, took special notice in Teutonic and Gallic lands of an impulse that seemed so perverse as to be a social horror for punishment by axe and stake. Under the Karolingian Codes, Germany denounced similisexual love between men, in 289 A. D., as punishable with death, unless the criminal was peculiarly repentant. Later, the invasions of the Saracens and the plague were laid to its secret existence in Central Europe; to the direct visitation of the anger of God, as "on Sodom". The German Canon-Law took the offence under its care. So did early French codes. In some cases the offence between women is part of the legislation, but for the most part not particularized. It was visited with excommunication, confiscation of estate, castration, beheading, fire, and so on, according to the circumstances. Benefit of the clergy was sometimes given to the unfortunate offender, sometimes not allowed him. In France, nevertheless there was a milder attitude even if in many instances we find the accused man castrated, decapitated, or burned; or all three. In Scandinavia, Denmark and their vicinage, similisexualism was a rooted passion, alluded-to by the literature of the races; the attribute of their deities. It was regarded popularly according to one or another degree of aversion, or toleration, or legal reprehension, before the Christian epoch in the Northlands. With the acceptance of Christianity and of the Canon and Civil laws on that basis, such relations between men were, of course, defined as capital sins against God and natural instincts, and were made felonies to be punished with death; a penalty frequently paid.
The British Posit-
ion, Social and
Legal, prior to
In England, Ireland and Scotland, through all Great Britain with its complex blend of Teutonic, Keltic, Anglo-Saxon and other psychologic traits, along with a
high-strung nervous organism, the impulse toward similisexual love between, especially, men has been a most vehement one. This in spite of all obstacles that religious, moral, social legal obstructions against it. In no country of Europe today (contrary to a general notion) is it more an undercurrent of masculine social life, whether elevated or deteriorated in its phases. Subterfuges and conventional hypocrisies do not alter the plain facts before medico-psychiaters. To the sensuous and sensual English organism homosexuality is innate. The iron-bound British social conventions and the perpetuated errors regarding it, whether from the spiritual or physical standpoints, sternly denounce it. The tendency of the Englishman to suppress or hide all emotions in him, makes easier his denial of it. Religion, moral convictions and strong statutory laws unite for this status in Britain. We find it denounced, from the first British-Christian period, as one of the supreme moral offences, and punished under the old laws of the land with death. In Scotland, where the instinct ever was and is strong, the formal death-penalties were abolished only recently. The Victorian Statutes are more human, as we shall see. But still the British, law knows no philosophic and questioning attitude toward homosexuality, such as we shall presently remark in the cases of other European States. Social England is horrified (or pretends to be) at the very existence of homosexual passion. The Englishman affects not to "understand" how classic and aesthetic Greece and Rome gave place to the feeling. Often he really refuses to believe that the references to it, which he reads in schooldays or in his study, refer to a concrete similisexual emotion, physically gratified. He construes the verses of Propertius and Tibullus and the Greek poets, he reads the sonnets of Michael Angelo or Shakespeare, as mere "idealism" or "allegory"! He declares the homosexual man to be a monstrosity, a freak of Nature, or un-nature, a vileness out of name; all this in solemn and grotesque ignorance or hypocrisy.
In the Oriental
During all the social history of Asian and African and other Oriental civilizations, similisexual love, particularly between males, has flourished, side by side with alterosexual love; for the most part, accepted as a natural and lawful passion. It was never deemed a matter for legal rebuke under the finest Persian, Arabic, Saracenic, Turkish and other epochs. It was frequently disparaged and satirized, by the Eastern poets of alterosexual passion; but never was it morally taken to task except by severer, distinctly religious, minds of Islam. The Arab and Persian gave himself up to it with the romantic and esthetic and voluptuous laissez-aller
of his temperament. The full glow of military supremacy, and the most brilliant epochs of letters and art in the East were witnesses to it. Hafiz, Omar-Khayam, Nafsawih, Abu-Nuwas, and others, have enshrined it in poetry of intense romanticism, of delicate or gross eroticism. But notably in the East, male similisexualism acquired early and ever has kept its pederastic tinge. The beautiful boy, the fair-bodied cup-bearer of the wine-shop, the youth just passing into puberty, rather than the mature male, rivalled the woman in the Oriental heart. Thus accented, the sentiment became early so open that half of the mass of Persian and Arabic lyric love-verse makes the lover and the object of passion "He" and "Him", not "She" and "Her", a fact till lately carefully suppressed by English and other translators of Eastern poets. Today, the instinct is as much a part of the Orient as ever. Only nominally is it made an object of unfriendly social sentiment or legislation. The latter deals with the protection of minors and with public decency, where concerned at all.
and More Recent
porary Ideas and
and Progress of
a More Tolerant
Legal and Social
With the advance of the Sixteenth and the Seventeenth Centuries, we begin to find the philosophers, the legislators and even the clergy beginning to question, in print and otherwise, the real nature and moral weight of similisexual love. 'Is so rooted a human instinct, a natural-moral sin?'
Broad-minded jurists began to discuss what had been supposed to be out of any argument. The great theorist Beccaria boldly, in the middle of the Eighteenth Century, put himself into a conservative, tolerant attitude toward the passion. So did certain others. The Eighteenth Century, with its many new currents of intellectual and moral thought continued the conservatism. It required courage; but that was shown, in spite of scandalized rebukes by both Protestant and Catholic clergy. Voltaire, so much of whose influence we recognize today as admirably humanitarian, regarded similisexual love as an eccentricity of Nature, originating in deep psychic mystery, and opposed classing it with crimes. Beccaria had desired that the similisexualist should be given opportunity to amend his moral education. Ideas advanced. By the end of the Eighteenth Century, the European laws laying down a death-penalty for sexual intercourse between men were largely a dead letter. There was no direct social toleration of the passion, no religious sufferance of a ground for tolerating it. But it met only imprisonment, loss of civic rights, fines and banishments and so on. Homosexuality was considered abject disgrace, but not felony. Nevertheless, in few European statute-books was its extreme punishment distinctly modified. The penalties were not enforced, the statute was allowed to rust. Even to-day, this is the fact in some States of first-class importance.
Studies Begin to
& Legal Views.
About the middle of the century that is just past as this study is completed, the specialists attention of the European
medico-psychologists began to look into the problem of similisexual love as a matter primarily in the psychiatric province, in all phases, and requiring new investigations. A large
medical literature, and later one of criminology, found
place for it, now in one country now another, particularly from German-writing specialists. Important contributions to the topic came presently from North America. Periodicals gave increasing room to contributions on it. The modifications of the French Code, elicited favourable or other comment. The negative position of Italian and other laws was also discussed with more interest and clearer rationality than had been earlier the tendency in most of Northern Europe. With the analytic study of nervous disease, of sex-problems and sex-instincts calm scientific interest in similisexualism grew firmer in Europe, decade by decade. Of much significance was the fact that the bench and the bar in Germany, France Italy and Austria, especially, began to dissent from legally recognizing intersexual relations and sentiments of the kind, except when forced, or if a menace to the morals of youth or offending by
act the public decorum, as proper for legislation. The position of the Code Napoléon was and is such.
Summary of Crim-
The following paragraph will sum up for the reader the present relations of Statutory Law in the more important European and other States toward
similisexual love: more particularly as to the passion
between men. Even to-day the statutes seem unwilling or indifferent toward the feminine sentiment and its practices, if compared with the masculine.
In Great Britain, where similisexual love is still denounced as a sentiment contrary to all human ethics, it is punished with imprisonment at hard labour for life; and, when only attempted, by imprisonment, also at hard labour, for a term not exceeding ten years; and with loss of civil rights. The offender is a felon, of deepest dye. Legal and popular ideas of more humanely cautious sort are not general. In the British Colonies, not Oriental, similar statutes are enforced, as to the British offender. In the more Oriental British possessions, a modified legislation prevails. But it represents a felony.
In Germany a shifting condition of affairs is noticeable. The public interest in homosexualism is immensely increased within a decade or so, as would be expected in a nation where the proportion of homosexuals of all classes is so large. The topic is no longer regarded as absolutely tabu in even social discussions by serious men and women, taking hold intellectually of its grave social problems. Indeed the rights of the respectable homosexual, whether prince or peasant, as a man now under the ban of useless and mediaeval legal provisions are constantly agitated. A strong petitionary movement has twice memorialized the highest German Legislature, endorsed by all professions and callings, in appeal for the suppression of references in the Statutes to homosexual intercourse, except such provisions as shall guard minor youth and preserve public decorum. Eminent German political men have taken part in the effort to repeal the most useless, or worse, paragraphs of the law. This movement has been made part of the platform of the Social Democratic party in Germany. With all respect to that intelligent and powerful body of citizens and agitators, the connection has not yet proved as useful to the repeal of the laws concerned, as would be desired. The Clerical Party have bitterly and successfully fought against any changes. It is to be observed that before the consolidation of the present day German Empire, many of the States showed a humane and reserved aspect toward homosexualism. When the new Imperial Confederation required a more uniform system in the Criminal Codes, intolerance of homosexual liberty became fixed by the laws throughout the Empire; except that there is no reference to penalties for feminine similisexualism. Under the present (1900) Code, and according to Paragraph 175, similisexual intercourse between males is punished by imprisonment for a term of from one day to live years, according to circumstances, and loss of civic rights can be added. A tendency to a liberal construction of offences under the Paragraph mentioned is noticeable, in spite of the foregoing severe attitude. The continual occurence of blackmailing-scandals has made something like a tacit friendliness of judges and jury a plain necessity. But the similisexual is still a felon under German law. An important deduction from its rigours is however to be noticed. In Germany, in spite of Paragraph 175, a merely mutual onanism, manually performed, between two adults particularly, uncoerced, under private circumstances, as in an hotel, or in one's own dwelling, is not punishable. This curious construction of the law, which the reader will at once perceive to be ridiculously inconsistent with the express intention of it, holds good, and enables many a similisexual to rout some blackmailer. But the reader must understand that any other manner of homosexual acts between males (such as pen. in anum, pen. in os, coitus inter femora, etc.) is more or less severely punishable. Any sexual acts with any minor, however depraved the minor, are felonious. A more absurd interpretation of a statute is not easily found; but it can be one of service to victimized and respectable similisexuals in Germany.
In Austria-Hungary by the Laws of 1852, including a special paragraph (159), the similisexualist is punished with imprisonment from one year to five years, according to the nature of his offence. But in districts of the Dual Monarchy-as in Germany-is shown a disposition to construe the law favourably toward an offender whose inborn and constitutional homosexualism can be clearly shown by expert examination of him by medical psychologists. Also, the blackmailer, in Austria-Hungary as a rule, is the sufferer in cases where that element appears clearly. A tendency toward milder construction of the statutes is considerably shown in legal proceedings, now and then in Vienna. In Hungary, the penalty for the offense is one year, or more, according to circumstances.
In Switzerland exist curious differences in the legal attitudes according to the different Cantons and their laws. Generally defined, in the German-speaking cantons the homosexual is punished, by a greater or lesser penalty of imprisonment, with here and there loss of his civic rights: whereas in the French-speaking cantons, the homosexual is not recognized as a criminal provided he does not coerce, nor offend public decency, nor debauch minor youth. Briefly, the differences in the Swiss laws are as follows. In Canton Graubunden, no specific age of consent is set nor extenuating circumstances; penalty, imprisonment up to a term of three years. In Waadt (Vaud), the law specifies that "sodomy" shall not be punishable except on formal complaint, more especially if debauchment of minor youth is shown; in which case the penalty is imprisonment for a term of from two months to three years. In the Valais (Wallis) the law regards only public decorum, not even specifically providing against the debauchment of minors. In Schaffhausen, the law punishes debauchment of minors, according to a varying scale of imprisonment, depending on whether the minor is more than fourteen years old but under sixteen, or otherwise, and a penalty of three months imprisonment is fixed for intercourse between adults. In the canton of Oberwalden, there exists a sort of general penalty for all homosexual offences—imprisonment "up to four years." In Luzern, also is a general provision of punishment for all homosexual intercourse, by a term of imprisonment up to five and ten years, according to the special grade of the offence. In Glarus, is a similar general provision for punishment by imprisonment from two years up to ten. In Freiburg, sexual relations with a minor of less than 19 years of age can be punished by imprisonment from two to eight years, and the public decorum is not to be offended; otherwise, the homosexual is relatively free. In Zürich, like Freiburg, only when the offense is with a minor of less than 18 years, or if public decency is in question, can the homosexual be punished. In Basel, homosexual relations with minors apparently if under 18 years, have special penalties of imprisonment, and the circumstances opposed to public propriety are considered. In the Canton of Tessin (Ticino) debauchment of minors over 12 years and under 15 years is punishable by imprisonment. In Geneva (a city where much homosexualism is met) there is no punishment except for the debauchment of minor youths: that is to say imprisonment from one month to one year if the minor be under 21, and for two years up to five years if the youth be less than fourteen; besides regulations as to public decorum. In Neuchâtel the law is similar to Geneva. In Appenzell, the law punishes adults who offend between themselves, or those who debauch minor youth under 15, according to a series of fines and imprisonments, the latter ranging from two to twenty (!) years. In Schwyz, exists a general provision for homosexual offense, with imprisonment for a term of two years. In St Gall, the law regards the matter in relation only to debauchment of minors, or if a public scandal be made; with a term of two years imprisonment. In a large number of these different legistations in Switzerland, according to this or that cantonal sentiment, there also is met a just paragraph which provides special punishment against any homosexual who debauches a minor in the relation to him of pupil, ward, or otherwise committed to the adult offender, in the capacity of protegé. Also is punished all pandering.
In France, the Code Napoléon maintains its wise and humane provisions. There is no legal recognition, no penalty for homosexual intercourse between males or females, in France, unless public decency comes into the consideration of the offence, violence, pandering, scandal, or unless a legal minor be debauched; or unless the offence is committed with the active participation of more than merely one youth. In Norway and Sweden, in Denmark, Russia, and in certain Balkan States, in all of which homosexualism is in frequent social demonstration, the penalties are imprisonments for relatively long terms, two to ten years, or with deportation, loss of civil rights and so on. The same penalties exist in modern Greek legislation. It may be noted here that in or out of Greece, the modern Greek is extremely given to homosexual intercourse. Athens is a center of it; especially pederasty.
In Italy, except when the offender is a soldier in military actual service, or if violence be used in the acts, or when public decency is outraged or when minor children (under sixteen years old) are debauched, there is no legal opposition to hf similisexual satisfactions. In Holland, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in Belgium, in Portugal, Spain, the Principality of Monaco, and in Turkey, there is no legal position taken against similisexual passion, except when it is a rape, or is exhibited in a way offensive to public decency, or is corruptive of youthful morals.
It should be noted that the phrase "public decency" is often construed in a general sense by the criminal courts of the countries concerned. Also the age of minors is variable; usually the boundary being fourteen years; but under some conditions twelve years, sixteen years, or even more.
In Mexico, there is no penalty for similisexual relations except when under the conditions of actual rape, publicity, or age, as set forth above. The same rule holds in Latin South-America in general.
In the United States of North America, the punishment of homosexualism is severe, in all the State-Codes. For instance, the laws of New York State against the least manifestations of it, punishing it with heavy imprisonments, are typical. It is a first-class felony. Nor is any other view of it, by jurists, in general and clear consideration in America at present, nor in the general public sentiment or notice.
But each day proves how are powerless all legal provisions to lessen the similisexual impulse in humanity the world over: how vain are ethical or religious positions to put it out of the heart and the life-impulses of mankind in each class. Similisexual love flourishes today, in every phase of finer or deteriorated character and expression; from binding the master-bond of high souls to being the living of sordid male prostitutes of a boulevard. It defies clandestinely all penalties, all social intolerances. With this fact as the more personal material for these pages, we turn now to the practical study of the Intersexual races, the Uranian and the Uraniad.