hephastion

This moderated forum is for discussion of Alexander the Great. Inappropriate posts will be deleted without warning. Examples of inappropriate posts are:
* The Greek/Macedonian debate
* Blatant requests for pre-written assignments by lazy students - we don't mind the subtle ones ;-)
* Foul or inappropriate language

Moderator: pothos moderators

amn178

hephastion

Post by amn178 »

Considering Platonic terms, who was the "lover" and who the "beloved" in the alex/hephastion relationship. was it like achilles and patrolus? is that oversimplified,or is there no other way for such a homosexual relationship to exist given the facts of the situation...i.e. king alexs need for constant dominance. or in his trust (only) of hephastion was this the only relationship of submision for alex.
xxx

Re: hephastion

Post by xxx »

While it is common in modern gay literature for Hephaistion to be portrayed as the erastes and Alexander the eromenos or 'beloved' in fact, that would not have been the case. Alexander's status in Macedonian society would not have allowed him to be anyone's eromenos as the only one who held a higher societal position was his own father, Philip.Hephaistion is often thought to be the elder and that being given as a reason for him possibly being an erastes, but in fact, the only mention of his age is by Curtius who says he was of the same age group as Alexander.Hephaistion is referred to by later writers as the King's eromenos, so it was perfectly clear to them. Sexual roles were quite rigid and not fluid as in today.
heinrich
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 5:18 am

Re: hephastion

Post by heinrich »

Perhaps it is relevant to note that the Iliad contains no reference to Patroklos and Achilleus as lovers. In fact, in book 9 of the Iliad, Homer says explicitly that they slept apart. Of course, later generations believed that they were lovers; I wonder if this was already generally believed in the age of Alexander.HM
kenny
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:42 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by kenny »

HM HiI couldnt Agree with you more,,, I could be wrong as my sources extertise is not up to TRE or Marcus.But as far as im aware I never read anywhere that Alexander and Hepheastion were lovers as you say its presumption on todays society.Todays society maybe cant understand the comprehension of brothers in arms or the right hand man.About 5 years ago I made a friend and we became very close and as brothers we shared and talked about everything,,, Some things not even known to my wife. Eventually the guy got a job away,,, I made dinner for him and his wife and my wife and I.Eventually the night ended we shook hands then we hugged.HE said he loved me and they left,,, I understand this type of brotherhood and needless to say we were not lovers or did we sleep together.Is that similar to Alexander and Heaphastion,,, I would wager not.
Kenny
xxx

Re: hephastion

Post by xxx »

Yes, during Alexander's time, they were considered lovers.
lucian
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:23 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by lucian »

We'll never know. We do know Alexander loved him, we also know that Hephaistion was considered a favorite of the king. I recall reading in Mary Renault's Nature of Alexander, a fragment of Hephaistion's reply to Olympias' jealousy over his own relationship with her son, in which he said "Stop quarreling with me; not that in any case I shall much care. You know Alexander means more to me than anyone." If the line is true, they might have just been best friends with benefits :0) I just don't think mothers go wild with buddies, they tend to be threatened by lovers.And yes men can have strong relationships with other men, but in a society where the line could have been easielly crossed and not shunned, I find it very dificult to believe that the two were not more deeply involved. Heck, my belief is that if it weren't for religious problems with homosexuality, there wouldn't be a closet to come out of.
jona
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 484
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:36 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by jona »

It sounds very plausible, and I certainly believe you, but I am just wondering which sources are the evidence?Jona
Linda
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 434
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 2:57 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by Linda »

Plato's Symposium refers to Achilles and Patroclus as lovers. Not quite Alexander's time - but just before. In the Symposium, there is also speculation about their roles - Achilles was assumed to be the erastes, as he was a King, but there is some provacative speculation that he should have been the eromenos, as he was younger and prettier. So I guess in such relationships (between adult men) there was some ambiguity occasionally, but I don't think anyone would have dared say Alexander was Hehpaestion's eromenos. And it is generally accepted (referring to my classical dictionary, that roles, in Athens anyway, were "set"). I think their relationship is referred to in those sexual terms once, by Arrian. In that, the reference is to an eromenos of Alexander, pretty clearly Hephaestion.
jona
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 484
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:36 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by jona »

I ought to have known this. It's too many years ago that I read the Symposium. Thanks!Jona
xxx

Re: hephastion

Post by xxx »

Aeschylus' Myrmidons is another off the top of my head.
User avatar
marcus
Somatophylax
Posts: 4764
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2002 6:27 am
Location: Nottingham, England

Re: hephastion

Post by marcus »

Which I believe is the earliest where it is suggested - or darn well near the earliest.M
Marcus
Sine doctrina vita est quasi mortis imago
At Amazon US
At Amazon UK
jona
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 484
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:36 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by jona »

Actually, perhaps Homer himself is the best evidence that it was widely believed that Achilles and Patroclus were lovers. The line in Book IX lies so much stress on the fact that the two men slept apart. It is as if Homer wants to be very clear that they were not lovers - which proves that this was a common idea. Perhaps the poet "protests too much".Jona
canto
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 4:01 am

Re: hephastion

Post by canto »

I was under the impression that Heph. was a very large man, larger than Alexander, would this not have any bearing on who was erastes?
xxx

Re: hephastion

Post by xxx »

No it would not.
lucian
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:23 pm

Re: hephastion

Post by lucian »

What about the saying "Alexander was never defeated except by Hephaistion's thighs" ??????I don't know who said that first, but there's no reason to believe that Hephaistion was a better wrestler, so this statement sounds pretty racy, and it might put Hephaistion as well "the top". And (brace yourselves) I think Jared Leto put it well that Alexander conquers the world, but might have needed someone to conquer him. I guess in view of the crowd Alexander was the big man, but who knows what might have been indoors.
Post Reply