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Gay greek mythology apollo

Gay Greek Mythology Apollo
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Apollo The sun god, one of the most important in all literature, was also quite the libertine. Besides dalliances with numerous nymphs, Apollo was also lover to Macedonian Prince Hyakinthos, who died catching a thrown discus, then turned by the god into the hyacinth flower. The Pseudo-Apollodorus also said Apollo had been with Thracian singer Thamyris in the first man-on-man relationship in history. And for those who think same-sex nuptials are a 21st-century invention, Apollo also was in a relationship with Hymen, the god of marriage.

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Wilde was tapping into a shared gay fantasy about the past, a fantasy in which one culture stood out above all others, the world of Classical Greece. From the days of the Old Testament through to the flourishing of culture in Greece and the Renaissance, Wilde sought to bear witness to a gay past of free romantic expression.

This musician is best known for descending into the underworld in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retrieve his wife Eurydice from the clutches of death. Alastair Blanshard does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

For many, it was only in their dreams that they could escape oppression. That it should be so the world does not understand.

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It was a powerful, captivating dream, one which scholars of ancient Greece have started to pull apart, revealing a culture in which homosexuality was much more regulated and controlled than ly thought. One place in particular attracted the longings of gays and lesbians. Older men pursued younger boys, and it is hard not to see an inherent power imbalance in such relationships, even if the older man is completely smitten. Was this a coded reference to indecent passions, asked the prosecutor.

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Dried fish and fighting cocks were the ancient homosexual equivalent of flowers and chocolates. The Greeks become a little more disappointing, but also more real. In this spirited defense of same-sex love, Wilde created a genealogy of historical moments in which homosexual love had blossomed. The rhetoric Wilde advanced had been in circulation for decades. Boys should not appear too eager. In another case, one man tried to murder another over the affections of a slave boy.

What is it about this emotion that causes a culture to attempt to reign it in through complicated systems of courtship or invent a series of myths to scare you about committing yourself too completely to someone? It goes without saying that the arguments offered by Justice Alito and his followers are deeply flawed. In a similar vein, numerous lesbians travelled to the Greek island of Lesbos. In our sexual histories series, authors explore changing sexual mores from antiquity to today.


Quite what their Italian models thought of these odd Germans and their desire to dress them up in wreaths, togas, and splay their bodies on leopard skin rugs remains a mystery. Indeed, the association between Greece and homosexuality is so strong that even anti-same-sex marriage advocates are not above using it to support their arguments. Abderus was consumed by man-eating horses.

A gay utopia may be possible, but it is a project for the future, not a lost relic of the past. Violating these rules lead to social death: slut-shaming seems to be a universal human tendency. What is less well-known is that following this attempt, he gave up entirely on women and instead turned his attention to young men. In the US Supreme Court case that legalised same-sex marriage, one of the dissenting judges, Justice Samuel Alito noted that while the Greeks and Romans approved of homosexual relations, they never created an institution of same-sex marriage.

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The hero was so distraught at the loss of his lover that he abandoned the quest for the Golden Fleece. Passion, jealousy and death are repeated motifs in Greek homosexual myths.

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The Greek attitude to same-sex attraction was not nearly as permissive or free as many have assumed. There were elaborate protocols regulating the process of seduction. One should not underplay the importance of such fantasies.

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Here was the utopia that they dreamed about — a place in which homosexuality was not only accepted, but celebrated. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Studying attitudes to same-sex love amongst the ancient Greeks is a salutary reminder that there is a difference between history and nostalgia, and it is dangerous to confuse them.

Nevertheless, these arguments do point to some of the dangers of relying on an overly romantic view of the Greeks and their attitudes to same-sex love.

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No longer looking at the Greeks through the rose-coloured lens of escapist wish-fulfillment reveals a culture that is complex and diverse in its attitudes and behaviours. Any idealised view of the Greeks falls apart the moment one remembers — and yet how easy it seems to be to forget — that ancient Greece was a society where slave-ownership was prevalent and that slaves were regularly sexually exploited by their masters. Any educated homosexual in the 19th century could have given you a speech along much the same lines, citing the same canonical figures and possibly a few more.

These myths point to an ambivalence that runs through Greek society about same-sex attraction. Our best evidence remains the fragments of poems of Sappho that have come down to us. The law-court and the parliament were deaf to their pleas.

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Yes, the Greeks tolerated same-sex attraction, but they also tolerated the violent sexual abuse of men and women in a manner that nobody could countenance today. Yet it is worth remembering that for decades, recourse to such methods was not available to LGBT people. Male same-sex relationships attracted particular care and supervision in the Greek world because the freedoms that men, unlike women, enjoyed meant that there was always greater potential for things to go wrong.

It was ultimately unsuccessful. In the warmth and light of the Mediterranean, numerous 19th- and early 20th-century gays and lesbians sought to fleetingly recapture visions of this lost paradise and recreate it amongst its ruins. In recent years, we have seen ificant advances won for LGBT rights through hard-fought legal cases and well-targeted political campaigns.

The picture of same-sex relations that we get from Greece is a complicated one.

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The legacy of this tradition was so potent that many felt even when visiting modern Greece that it was still possible to feel the traces of this passion. We have numerous s of same-sex affairs that go badly resulting in murder and suicide.

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It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an elder and a younger man, when the elder man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. Looking at these images today, it is hard not to be struck by their sense of desperate, wilful escapism and rejection of the contemporary world and all that it offered, even as they used the latest photographic techniques in creating these tableaux. We have seen the same argument used against same-sex marriage in Australia.

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Even amongst free-born men, Greek same-sex courtship was highly regulated. Out of the blood that was spilt grew the first hyacinth. In his opinion, the only conclusion to draw was that the Ancients must have regarded same-sex marriage as an institution that would cause harm to society.

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For the suitors there was a fine line to walk between looking keen and looking like a besotted fool. One of the foundational myths for the establishment of same-sex love in Greece concerns the legendary figure of Orpheus. Yet for all its brave defiance and elegant phrasing, there is little in it that is truly original. He sought to recover a love that time and prudish censors had tried to erase. Myths relating to homosexual love also rarely end well. There are numerous institutions which the Greeks and Roman would have resisted the right of women to vote, for example that even the most arch conservative must accept are a good idea.

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We know very little about the lives of same-sex attracted women in Greece. It is high time to do the same for the hyacinth and rescue the bulb from its dowdy fusty retirement-home image and make it fabulous again. Oscar Wilde popularised the green carnation as a symbol of homosexuality visibility. Models for Cause and Effect: causal inference for social scientists — Southampton, Southampton.

There is nothing unnatural about it. Hercules lost his boyfriend Hylas to some conniving nymphs who drowned the boy in a pool. It is a beautiful vision, but one that seems to be more of a thought-experiment than a reflection of lived reality in ancient Athens. For many this was an act of pilgrimage arising from a desire to visit the home of Sappho, the archaic poet whose passionate, lyrical evocations of female same-sex desire became so famous in antiquity and beyond that women who were sexually attracted to other women came to be named after her island home - a nomenclature that not even a legal action by outraged inhabitants of the island can stop.

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The world mocks it and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it. This was the world of ancient Greece, a supposed gay paradise in which same-sex love flourished without discrimination.

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It is a tragic, moving story that deserves to be better known. Yet even here, the picture is not entirely rosy.

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Sostratus died young. There are lessons to be learnt, but they do not come from imitation. They provided succour and hope in a grim world. In one case, a disappointed lover hanged himself at the door of the boy who rejected him.

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It is that deep, spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect … It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. If left to get out of control, passions could have tragic consequences. It is little wonder that thinkers like Plato turn out to have an ambiguous relationship towards same-sex relationships. Sometimes Plato seems to regard same-sex couples as the very pinnacle of the ideal relationship. Indeed, he was so successful in proselytising for homosexuality that he upset the local female followers of Dionysus, the god of wine and drama.

There were rules about the kinds of wooing gifts that could be used. At other points, such as in his Laws, Plato is dismissive of same-sex relations, regarding them as unnatural and not fit for proper society. Every time that the legal rights of gays and lesbians have been discussed, somebody will evoke the Greeks.

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He rewrote straight history and offered a different version of the past in which his own 19th-century passion ed a continuous tradition that stretched back to the very foundation of European civilization. It is hard to overstate the affection with which 19th-century homosexuals like Wilde viewed the Greek world. Nevertheless, all the efforts undertaken by the Greeks to regulate these relationships does challenge us to consider why societies are so frightened by love, not only gay, but straight desire also.

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