And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

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xxx

And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by xxx »

Err, I guess those lawyers don't read very well because I could find source material...and they'd be laughed out of court...http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6530956/
iskander_32

Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by iskander_32 »

With Regard to the Sexuality for me its only relative,,, I doubt anyone will put this theme into context and really think about it at all with relativity to ancient Greece and the way people were then.To be honest I am anti gay to the extent it is not normal if it were then the human race would be gone within a generation,, yet I cant deny Alexander had bisexual relations as it was of the time,, I think Stone is playing the serx and scandal here to put a liitle sauce to his story.Bottom line we can only judge what Stone does with his material and how its portrayed minor discrepencxies I think we aught to forgive but whole sale alterations puts it in the Hollywood norm of A story Based on fact been total fiction,, Braveheart as a proven point.Braveheart to me was a a fantastic thought inspiring story till I real about William Wallace,, The scene in the movie wher he beat the armies of the English at Stirlin when in real life he ambushed them and wiped them out whilst crossing the bridge.RegardsKenny
xxx

Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by xxx »

Actually Kenny, same sex relationships exist in the animal populations as well so it is not an exclusively human thing. And in those cases it is all about power, which is what it was all about in the ancient world. And don't forget, you can still have or contribute to children no matter what your preference. We have a modern aversion to such things based on religion and social morays of modern society. I would myself speculate the majority of humans are bisexual by nature both then and now, but prevent themselves from being so based on modern societal perceived norms. And like then as now, there would have been those who preferred the company of men exclusively and those who preferred the company of women excusively. There's no one 'normal' thing to be.
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Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by jona »

"And in those cases it is all about power, which is what it was all about in the ancient world."I suppose you refer to the distinction between an older lover and his younger lover, and to the disgrace of being a "pathikos". These are power relations indeed. However, there's a recent book called *Eros Dikaios* by a man named Charles Hupperts, which shows that these views about Greek homosexuality are only partly correct. There is much evidence for homosexual love affairs that were nor primarily based on the submission of the pathikos or on an old/young educational principle.Anyhow, Alexander's sexuality does not really matter. If his love life would have influenced his public life, it would be relevant, but Alexander was not involved in sex scandals, nor did he fight wars to satisfy his sexual appetites. The fact that our sources don't mention his love life very often suggests that people like Arrian and Plutarch also thought that it is none of our business.Jona
xxx

Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by xxx »

Indeed we have some evidence that Macedonian males were of the same age or close in age (as were Alexander and Hephaistion) when they had their relationships and of course as I said there were some men who preferred the company of men exclusively and indeed who preferred women only.If one puts one's mind to it, you will see why there had to be a Bagoas because of the social positioning of Hephaistion (as Alexander is moving him up he has to give him up in that facet painful as it might have been to both) and the Persian societal requirements. But it would be unlikely that males would have switched the roles of penetrator to penetrated, so there would always have been a dominant partner from the Greek point of view. Now of course a socially superior male could have been younger, but that would again, be rare as that would not have been good for the reputation of the older man. And I am more than aware that what is pictured on vases and discussed by Athenians is a best case scenario, but not everyone follows what are the rules, then or now :-)Farrell made a comment that he would rather spend 20 minutes in a gym than kiss a guy as he did in At Home At the End of the World. He found the feeling of a beard against his skin repulsive. It reminded me of course that the growth of hair in certain areas signaled the supposed end of such relationships in the Ancient Greek world, and again Greek commentary where they are seemingly shocked that men with beards in Macedon were still getting it on.It's quite an interesting subject in and of itself, and modern fascination with the topic will always lead to commentary about what Alexander did or didn't do. However, I would contend the reason that we don't read much about Alexander's love life in the sources is because he was very private about his personal life (one makes note he had to be encouraged to kiss Bagoas in public)and his primary friends who wrote of him would have respected that. But that's another kind of source commentary.
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Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by beausefaless »

This is one of the reasons, I mentioned a couple of seasons ago, why a number of the Greeks did not want Oliver Stone filming in Greece.
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Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by jan »

Kenny, All the extant sources are hearsay evidence, and none can prove one way or the other that Alexander did or did not have sex with anyone except those who gave birth to his children!
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Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by Linda »

Jan - And the band played believe it if you like... :)Jona, I am interested in this book you mention - since I have started reading about Alexander and ancient Greece history, I have found myself puzzled by the analysis of sexuality in those times, as being too prescriptive, and as being too much influenced by modern psychology, religious beliefs and morals. I can understand differences in social and economic behaviour in other societies, but the descriptions of sexuality are twisted out of all recognition of that of any society - now or then (and the past is just another country). And against nature... And I think that has been seen in the film. Historians like Robin Lane Fox only list who Alexander loved, without saying more about whether he was gay, straight, bi...He just doesn't want to get involved, and I think he is probably right not to, as it isn't really one of the most important things about Alexander. However, in a film, as some of the reviews have pointed out, the characters have to have real love and passion, and motives, and real emotions, not just theories of sexuality. I think this film (although it may also have other faults) just emphasises the huge lacunae in understanding that we have about Alexander's emotional life. We live in a mainly monogamous society, which is why we may find it hard to comprehend there being both Bagoas and Hephaestion in his life, as well as Barsine and Roxanne. Tre, I can understand why the idea that Hephaestion was just to big and important to be considered Alexander's eromenos, but only if you look at the "model", not if we look at examples of other relationships, or at any hint of disapproval in the texts. There is none, that I can see - none in Arrian, when he callls Hephaestion Alexander's eromenos. One thing that is significant about Bagoas is precisely that he was a eunuch. Alexander may not have been able to have two male lovers - but for a bit on the side, a eunuch was not a threat to Hephaestion, and therefore acceptable to him. Alexander obviously, although not as driven by sexual impulses as other ones, had a bit of a roving eye on occasion. But there issn't any serious rival to Hepahestion - and Bagoas perhaps was for those times when he and Hephaestion were parted, or just in a relationship which we can't understand so well, as we are in a monogamous society..
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Eunuch

Post by jona »

Just one brief note, dear Linda (I'm in a hurry), but it should be stressed that a eunuch is not, as is always said, a (partially) castrated man. It is the Greek translation of an oriental court title, sha reshi, "the one near the king's head". If all sha reshi's were really mutilated, we would have to castrate half the courtiers.This matter has been discussed at some length by Pierre Briant in his *Histoire de l' empire Perse*, but I can not mention the pages as I lent to a friend.Another question is the origin of the misunderstanding, but I do not know the answer.Jona
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Re: Eunuch

Post by Linda »

Bloody hell! Stop the clocks. I suppose unless we look down his trousers, there is no way of knowing... There goes one theory. Hmm - but some eunuchs must have been castrated. While you are here (or when you get back), Jona, can you explain if someone called Bagoas was always a (castrated or uncastrated) eunuch? I read this somewhere...Linda
xxx

Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by xxx »

And where did I say Hephaistion was not Alexander's eromenos?
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Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by Linda »

TreYou said:"If one puts one's mind to it, you will see why there had to be a Bagoas because of the social positioning of Hephaistion (as Alexander is moving him up he has to give him up in that facet painful as it might have been to both)" (sic)Did I get that wrong? I assumed you were saying that Alexander had to give up having Hephaestion as his eromenos in a sexual sense. Do you mean at this stage they were platonic lovers? In which case there would be no conflict with Bagoas, or less. Agreed. But I don't know if I accept the idea that they (A&H) stopped being physical lovers (or as much as people ever are after 15 years or so together :)) As I say, this seems to come from the "model" (this is how it must have been in those days) rather than anything anyone has said about the nature of their relationship. Jona's book reference seemed to provide a challenge to the rather blindly accepted view of the Greek model of homosexuality, which I am obviously rather too much interested in. But maybe that was how it was. Who knows? Who cares? Could you also be a bit less confrontational in your replies? I get a bit fed up of every time I say something, you jump down my throat. Linda
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Re: Eunuch

Post by jona »

That "bagoas" means eunuch (in what sense?) is somewhere in Pliny the Elder, but I am unable to find it. Sorry.Jona
xxx

Re: And the Greeks Say He Was Not BiSexual

Post by xxx »

I was asking you where I said Hephaistion was not Alexander's eromenos. I don't consider that confrontational. I took it that you thought I said they were never lovers.What I put out there about Bagoas is food for thought, but I do not base it on any particular 'model', but rather a change in the dynamic of a new court in a different culture and Alexander's desiring to be acceptable to his newfound mixed Kingdom and that it would be in Hephaistion's best interests that he be the best friend without the sexual component as that might be misinterpreted by the Persians. However, you are certainly entitled to think what I put out there is crap, as it is just my opinion based on my own research :-)
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Re: Eunuch

Post by amyntoros »

Linda, if you ever remember the source, I would be interested in having the citation. I haven't seen any such reference, but Pliny the elder was a prolific writer and if Jona is right and it is in his books, I may never find it without help. An aside here: I did read in Plutarch's life of Demetrius that the position of treasurer was usually given to a eunuch. There's mention that Demetrius used to ridicule the other kings by giving them titles - Seleucus was the Master of Elephants, Ptolemy the High Admiral, and Lysimachus the Treasurer. Apparently Lysimachus was the only one who didn't find this funny and was somewhat indignant "at being considered a eunuch, such being usually then selected for the office of treasurer." Seems to me that to the Greeks and Macedonians, eunuch meant "castrated." Wonder if Harpalus knew of the above when he was given the post of treasurer? :-)
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