I need your oppinions on this

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stathis

I need your oppinions on this

Post by stathis »

As i was reading Dr Zimmerman's article about Alexander's sexuality in this site something caught my attention and i would like to comment it.
Now,Dr Zimmerman is very carefull about the "elegant" matter of homosexuality and i agree with this approach but a researcher must examine all hitorical facts.So i will attempt to examine here one of these facts and i hope that you dont concider me as a racist because of this.I am not one. Dr Zimmerman writes:
''The ancient Greeks had no word that corresponded quite to our term "homosexual" --- hence my preference for "homoerotic".'' Now,that is not quite true. The ancient greeks had one word to describe this sexual behaviour.The word is "kinaidos" as it is spelled in greek.
This word actually gives a very strong meaning to homoerotic behaviour.I will try to analyse this word:
Kinaidos=he who ''moves'' aido.(Exact translation in greek= O kinon tin aido).Aidos=the feeling of same,respect,honor.The verb "move" is used in this sentence(in the greek original) to define someone that actually provokes "aido",he moves it,misplacing it from it's original form.
So he who moves aido actually provokes the feeling of same,honor,respect he goes against it and his behaviour was concidered provocative to the other people too.
Aidos was worshiped as a goddess in ancient greece and he who insulted her was punished.

I have a question though as i want to be as objective as i can.It is a fact that in ancient greece in some societies like Thebes (with the sacred band) homoerotism was accepted as a normal behaviour.That contradicts with the word "kinaidos" and it's meaning as it was used by the greeks.
So what was actually happening?
It is a fact that there are little that we know even about Thebes.The sum of the ancient works that have survived through the centuries is believed to be the 2% of the whole.Maybe the scripts of "Oksyrinch" (the ones that are now being translated and read through x-rays) will reveal us more.

There are many contradictions about this matter.On the one hand we have Thebes and on the other we have Plato that is actually "flaming" homosexual behaviour in his work:"Plato's laws", and Socrates teaching about "love" in "Plato's Syposium". So i need your oppinions to why this contradictions existed. Was it because of different societies and cultures within greece?Or maybe we dont know the whole truth to it?
S

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by S »

Greetings Stathis,Some good questions! Have you sent your original quesry to Professor Zimmerman, also? She may have further reading suggestions." have a question though as i want to be as objective as i can.It is a fact that in ancient greece in some societies like Thebes (with the sacred band) homoerotism was accepted as a normal behaviour.That contradicts with the word "kinaidos" and it's meaning as it was used by the greeks. So what was actually happening? It is a fact that there are little that we know even about Thebes.The sum of the ancient works that have survived through the centuries is believed to be the 2% of the whole.Maybe the scripts of "Oksyrinch" (the ones that are now being translated and read through x-rays) will reveal us more. There are many contradictions about this matter.On the one hand we have Thebes and on the other we have Plato that is actually "flaming" homosexual behaviour in his work:"Plato's laws", and Socrates teaching about "love" in "Plato's Syposium".So i need your oppinions to why this contradictions existed. Was it because of different societies and cultures"It is most likely that a variety of cultures existed and you are right- we cannot know everything about them because so much has been lost. It is probable that, over the centuries, too, social conditions and norms varied.We do know that the culture was polytheistic, that some of the mythology had homoerotic overtones, that acceptable sexual behaviors were most likely, based on evidence and writing, more flexible than today *depending* on the time, class, and region.Regards,
Sikander
stathis

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by stathis »

I will send this post to Dr.Zimmerman.I would be very interested to read any books about this matter
Marilyn

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by Marilyn »

I thought the sense was, all things in context considered, that "kinaidos" applied only to the one penetrated, not the penetratee?? Or whatever you call it. So it was the guy that allowed himself to be "used like a woman" that was shameful, not the guy who did it to him because women were less "valuable' or something
stathis

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by stathis »

No,actually if someone did an action like this to another man who wouldnt comply to it using force per example, then the first man is a "kinaidos" but the second is just the victim.Because the second man doesnt want to participate.
But the greeks had also a word for this action. " Bawd" ( aselgeia ).They actually used the word "aselgeia-aselgo(the verb)=bawd for those who by force tried to make love to other men.So, the word "kinaidos" must have been used to define homosexual lovers and homosexual men in general.
A quote that is reffering to "bawd":
Ailianos says:''Love in Sparta had nothing to do with sameless things.If a teenager tried to bawd(come in intercourse) with another, it wasnt wise for both of them to embarrass (to put same on) Sparta.In this case they were either banned from Sparta or worse,lost their lives.
(Ailianos,diverse history III,12)
I am trying to locate the sources and books that include the word "kinaidos" so i can post the quotes here.I dont currently have them but i will find them shortly.
Also,women weren't that degraded.At least not in all greek cities.And dont forget that there were some cities that women had a strong word and oppinion,like Sparta.And even before that in the times before the trojan war there were societies in greece that were litterally ruled by women.
Of course that differed from time to time and from city to city...
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amyntoros
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by amyntoros »

You might want to take a look at James Davidson's Courtesans and Fishcakes, especially Chapter V, "Bodies." There are pages and pages on the use of the words kinaidos/katapugon - too much (and way too 'descriptive') to post here. :-) The best summary I can give is that the word does not define a homosexual as we would use the word, but was used to describe a man with "boundless unending sexuality." According to Davidson it is it is insatiability and promiscuity and not passivity that defines the kinaidos. "For ultimately, as the philosopher Arcesilaus remarked on seeing some 'adulterous and intemperate' men, 'it makes no difference whether you are a kinaidos in front or behind.'"I suppose it is the equivalent of some of the insulting words today which are used to describe a woman with the above predilections, except it was used in a male/male context. It was all about promiscuity. . .Best regards,Amyntoros
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by tino »

"Affectionate regard for boys of good character was permissible, but embracing them was held to be disgraceful, on the ground that the affection was for the body and not for the mind. Any man against whom complaint was made of any disgraceful embracing was deprived of all civic rights for life."Plutarch, Customs of the SpartansThere seems to be many references to suggest homosexuality was not the 'norm' in ancient Greece.
Marilyn

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by Marilyn »

But THIS sounds like you're discussing guys being "forced" not two willing participants, so it doesn't seem to go along with being anti-homosexual so much as being anti-rape or anti forcing yourself on someone.It just sounds like your talking more about someone not able to control themselves more than about two willing guys. I still wonder about the penetrated/penetratee thing- Jeanne's article on this site makes sense to me in that way.
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dean
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by dean »

Hello,Just reading this made me realise how easily it is for us to place out current values on past history even when there are 2500 years difference.I suppose that I had placed unconsciously my traditionally "Victorian" views on sex with regards to Alexander and the people of his day yet thinking about it "objectively" I can see clearly that there was no need to. Looking closer,I see now that possibly a whole different view was adopted by the masses of the day of Alexander.
Diogenes- lived as closely as possible in touch with nature meaning that he saw the human body as nothing to be ashamed of and maybe "sex" was something that was not so much a taboo subject as it is today.I know that it is going a little off the subject but I must say that I concur with Renault when discussing Alexander's sexuality- he subdued his sexual energy in exchange for chasing other goals which he did with considerable success.To regress, the sacred band- is a good example of what you are talking about but from the Iliad a couple of examples come to mind immediatley.Alexander's own father was rumoured to have had a certain relationship with Pausinias if I am not mistaken and Alexander certainly would have been aware, would he not?Best regards,
Dean.
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by Linda »

I think Sikander once posted something on this which was vey fair, which is that in different socisties, at different time, different conventions and practices were usual/tolerated/encouraged.I would agree with you that I also think that Jeanne's article is perhaps too sweeping in this regard, using the word "norm(al)". I suppose my angle is maybe slightly different to yours, in that I think that most people are born heterosexual, some homosexual, and some in the middle. Social conventions and culture can influence how people behave, and sometimes how they develop, but that to imply that for most men in ancient Greece to be functionally bisexual, I don't see the evidence for. That it was accepted that people could be attracted to either was, perhaps, more "normal" in most ancient Greek societies than in a lot of societies today. It depends how you read her sentence. Of course, even within societies, there would be different points of view - even taking out the religious element that influences most thinking about sexuality today. The fact that Plato was postulating how sexualities develop in the Phaedo show that it was a debate at that time.Linda
S

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by S »

Greetings Linda,>I think Sikander once posted something on this which was vey fair, which is that in different socisties, at different time, different conventions and practices were usual/tolerated/encouraged.I think Sikander once posted something on this which was vey fair, which is that in different socisties, at different time, different conventions and practices were usual/tolerated/encouraged.I think Sikander once posted something on this which was vey fair, which is that in different socisties, at different time, different conventions and practices were usual/tolerated/encouraged.Yes, I did. In fact, I think that still remains true today, though the increasing growth of, and pressure from, monotheistic religions are making it more difficult for people, groups and societies to formulate their own mores.>...in that I think that most people are born heterosexual, some homosexual, and some in the middle. Social conventions and culture can influence how people behave, and sometimes how they develop, but that to imply that for most men in ancient Greece to be functionally bisexual, I don't see the evidence for. ...in that I think that most people are born heterosexual, some homosexual, and some in the middle. Social conventions and culture can influence how people behave, and sometimes how they develop, but that to imply that for most men in ancient Greece to be functionally bisexual, I don't see the evidence for. ...in that I think that most people are born heterosexual, some homosexual, and some in the middle. Social conventions and culture can influence how people behave, and sometimes how they develop, but that to imply that for most men in ancient Greece to be functionally bisexual, I don't see the evidence for. Interesting enough, the sexual continuum studies hold that most people are born "bisexual" (what this also means is they are born with little rigidity towards sexual behaviours and exhibiting far more flexibility in sexual behaviours and attitudes)and that the culture they are in then pushes them in a specific direction, which today is towards hetersosexuality in most cultures. When viewed objectively, it becomes apparent how many cultures literally "force" heterosexuality on children from an early age and continue to impress that orientation on people from teen years to adulthood through social customs and approval, religion, legal systems and rights protections. The closer one gets to the "homosexual" end of the spectrum, the harder it is to conform, and the internal pressures to conform to heterosexuality. In some countries, anyone who lives true to their nature today must have amazing reservoirs of mental/emotional strength and determination. Confronted even with the legal thrieat of death, many people still live true to their nature.
The more I look at natural sexual behaviours in people and animals, the more convinced I am that we are naturally, normally far less rigid that expected, and that certain societies subconsciously recognize this and this is why so many laws are made *against* homosexuality- to try to compel heterosexuality, under threat of punishment, in those who can force themselves to do so. If we want to understand what is "normal" or "natural", we need only observe the very young and animals in their natural state. However, this is going too far off-topic.>That it was accepted that people could be attracted to either was, perhaps, more "normal" in most ancient Greek societies than in
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by Linda »

Hi SikanderSexual continum studies - I beleive there is a changing thinking away from the cultural "blank slate" aspect of sexuality and more to genetic factors. But that is also not an absolute indication. There is a lot to be discussed. More than almost anything, it is an incredibly subjective topic. What I expressed is what I have thought after reading and observing. The trouble with studies is that it is so difficult to take away cultural factors, and human sexuality is incredibly complicated.But what you say about threats is interesting - there was a study (!) that took a group of men, asked them about their attitudes to homosexuality and then showed them gay porn. Surprise surprise, the most homophobic were the ones more "interested" by the porn.Anyway, off topic, but I coudln't resist sharing...
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by marcus »

Long posts ... too wearing on my old eyes ... too tired to concentrate properly ...However, the other thing to bear in mind is that the 'norm', or whatever you want to call it, didn't necessarily demand a physical relationship as the more prurient amongst us might imagine with lolling tongues. The whole business of the youth cosying up with an older man was very much about learning wisdom, or whatever ... note the 'relationship' between Alcibiades and Socrates, which was not based on major physical attraction. So the societal norm didn't develop because all Greek men were born with any particular sexual inclination, but close (and sometimes) sexual relationships grew out of the behaviour that society expected.If that makes sense - I know what I'm trying to say, anyway. ATBMArcus
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S

Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by S »

Greetings Marcus and Linda,>However, the other thing to bear in mind is that the 'norm', or whatever you want to call it, didn't necessarily demand a physical relationship as the more prurient amongst us might imagine with lolling tongues.However, the other thing to bear in mind is that the 'norm', or whatever you want to call it, didn't necessarily demand a physical relationship as the more prurient amongst us might imagine with lolling tongues.However, the other thing to bear in mind is that the 'norm', or whatever you want to call it, didn't necessarily demand a physical relationship as the more prurient amongst us might imagine with lolling tongues.(Laughing and nodding at both posts) I believe the point is, there *is* no real "norm", and that societies vary over time and place as to what is *defined* as norm for that culture; the society then begins to define how that "norm" will be enforced, who shall enforce it and what the punishment or penalty will be for not conforming. And of course, we have to take into account the pressure from groups outside a culture who bring power, money and law to bear against a culture that is different (for example, what happened in the Hawaiian islands to the existing culture when the missionaries arrived). And of course, we will continue to see further erosion of differences as we are influenced by mass media, mass communication, concentraiton of power in the hands of fewer and fewer and the further unfortunate "homogenization" of global cultures.Still, it is a fascinating area of study...>.. So the societal norm didn't develop because all Greek men were born with any particular sexual inclination, but close (and sometimes) sexual relationships grew out of the behaviour that society expected... So the societal norm didn't develop because all Greek men were born with any particular sexual inclination, but close (and sometimes) sexual relationships grew out of the behaviour that society expected... So the societal norm didn't develop because all Greek men were born with any particular sexual inclination, but close (and sometimes) sexual relationships grew out of the behaviour that society expected.This is exactly the point. Sexual inclination is more fluid that we might wish; societal expectations create perceived "norms". But we cannot study *any* culture objectively, past or present, until we set aside our own perceived "norm".. and *this* remains the most difficult thing to achieve..Regards,
Sikander
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Re: I need your oppinions on this

Post by beausefaless »

Greetings, Marcus and anyone else that might give a darn,Humans are of the few maybe the only beings on earth that are *always* in heat three hundred and sixty five days a year except for when there are so called headaches.In ancient times so called morals were very simple, nothing to hide compared to modern times from the pressures of religion and the cultured societies. The Etruscans showed pride in all sexual endeavors especially through their paintings and ornaments that *hung* over the entrance of almost every doorway. Believe me, some of these paintings will blow you away.How many peoples of modern times have thought or had some sort of sexual relief with the same gender in their lives but would never admit it in a million years. Just a thought.Take care,Andrew
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