Did Spartan women kill gay men?

antocya

Ad Honorem
May 2012
5,778
Iraq
Gay men are perfectly capable of marrying women. I have a former partner who was married twice and has three kids but he vastly prefers men.

I think the hostility to non-marriage probably comes from procreation as a civic duty or something.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,045
Italy, Lago Maggiore
As for I know a sacred battalion of homosexual couples defeated the Spartans [battle of Tegyra, 375 BCE] ... it was the Theban battalion leaded by Gorghidas [an introduction: Sacred Band of Thebes - Wikipedia]. They even killed a Spartan king ...

Historical? Not historical?

Actually it sounds a bit "politically correct". In any case it seems that historians tend to accept the historicity of the existence of the "Sacred Band".
 
Nov 2011
1,051
The Bluff
In Roman times it went beyond it's original intent if Plutarch's saw boys dying. In classical times it was a violent game.
For those who cannot find the passages referred to by the poster, they are below:

Plut. Lyk. 15.1-2:
Moreover, there were incentives to marriage in these things, — I mean such things as the appearance of the maidens without much clothing in processions and athletic contests where young men were looking on, for these were drawn on by necessity, "not geometrical, but the sort of necessity which lovers know," as Plato says. Nor was this all; Lycurgus also put a kind of public stigma upon confirmed bachelors. They were excluded from the sight of the young men and maidens at their exercises, and in winter the magistrates ordered them to march round the market-place in their tunics only, and as they marched, they sang a certain song about themselves, and its burden was that they were justly punished for disobeying the laws. Besides this, they were deprived of the honour and gracious attentions which the young men habitually paid to their elders. Therefore there was no one to find fault with what was said to Dercyllidas, reputable general though he was. As he entered a company, namely, one of the younger men would not offer him his seat, but said: "Indeed, thou hast begotten no son who will one day give his seat to me."

Ibid 18.1:
The boys make such a serious matter of their stealing, that one of them, as the story goes, who was carrying concealed under his cloak a young fox which he had stolen, suffered the animal to tear out his bowels with its teeth and claws, and died rather than have his theft detected. And even this story gains credence from what their youths now endure, many of whom I have seen expiring under the lash at the altar of Artemis Orthia.
Now, just exactly what these passages have to do with Spartan women killing homosexual Spartan men is beyond my comprehension. The first relates to the education of Spartan women and the desire of the state for these women to produce strong offspring. A by-product of this was the natural attraction of Spartan men to the maidens (those available to marry). Those men who were bachelors were frowned upon for not adding to the state. Carrot and stick. Nothing to do with homosexuality which is not a term that has any real meaning in ancient Greece as can be seen in the encouragement of younger men to take youths as lovers as part of the agoge and women to take maidens in a similar fashion (Ibid, 18.4). Perhaps the men should have killed these women as well??!!

The second passage relates to a supposed ceremony where boys were beaten at the altar of Artemis Orthia. This is of varying origin according to the ancient sources: Paus. 3.16.10; Plut. Arist. 17.8; Plut. Instituta Laconica, 40 and Xenophon, Laconian Constitution, 2.8-9 (below):

So the Spartans chastise those who get caught for stealing badly. He made it a point of honour to steal as many cheeses as possible [from the altar of Artemis Orthia], but appointed others to scourge the thieves, meaning to show thereby that by enduring pain for a short time one may win lasting fame and felicity. It is shown herein that where there is need of swiftness, the slothful, as usual, gets little profit and many troubles.
Again, just what any of this has to do with Spartan women beating and killing homosexual Spartan men is anyone's guess. More to the point, that passage from Xenophon is near universally agreed to be an interpolation by a late copier the references to this practice are all Hellenistic. What may have begun as part of the agoge has morphed into something far more and it is not coincidental that these references come from Roman times. The altar of Artemis Orthina had, by the second century AD, become an amphitheatre. Spectators came to see this supposed ritual flogging. Sparta, in Roman times, had become a tourist attraction where Romans came to see the famed Spartans and their supposed culture. You might call it a theme park and I believe Peter Green once did. In any case, the view that these practices describe Spartan women killing Spartan homosexual men is a nonsense.
 
Sep 2014
941
Texas
For those who cannot find the passages referred to by the poster, they are below:



Now, just exactly what these passages have to do with Spartan women killing homosexual Spartan men is beyond my comprehension. The first relates to the education of Spartan women and the desire of the state for these women to produce strong offspring. A by-product of this was the natural attraction of Spartan men to the maidens (those available to marry). Those men who were bachelors were frowned upon for not adding to the state. Carrot and stick. Nothing to do with homosexuality which is not a term that has any real meaning in ancient Greece as can be seen in the encouragement of younger men to take youths as lovers as part of the agoge and women to take maidens in a similar fashion (Ibid, 18.4). Perhaps the men should have killed these women as well??!!

The second passage relates to a supposed ceremony where boys were beaten at the altar of Artemis Orthia. This is of varying origin according to the ancient sources: Paus. 3.16.10; Plut. Arist. 17.8; Plut. Instituta Laconica, 40 and Xenophon, Laconian Constitution, 2.8-9 (below):



Again, just what any of this has to do with Spartan women beating and killing homosexual Spartan men is anyone's guess. More to the point, that passage from Xenophon is near universally agreed to be an interpolation by a late copier the references to this practice are all Hellenistic. What may have begun as part of the agoge has morphed into something far more and it is not coincidental that these references come from Roman times. The altar of Artemis Orthina had, by the second century AD, become an amphitheatre. Spectators came to see this supposed ritual flogging. Sparta, in Roman times, had become a tourist attraction where Romans came to see the famed Spartans and their supposed culture. You might call it a theme park and I believe Peter Green once did. In any case, the view that these practices describe Spartan women killing Spartan homosexual men is a nonsense.
you skipped over Plutarch's comment about seeing boys beaten to death. why?
 
Sep 2014
941
Texas
As for I know a sacred battalion of homosexual couples defeated the Spartans [battle of Tegyra, 375 BCE] ... it was the Theban battalion leaded by Gorghidas [an introduction: Sacred Band of Thebes - Wikipedia]. They even killed a Spartan king ...

Historical? Not historical?

Actually it sounds a bit "politically correct". In any case it seems that historians tend to accept the historicity of the existence of the "Sacred Band".
The Sacred Band did most assuredly exist, and one of the founders Epimanondas was buried with one of his lovers. Pelopidas was the other founder, but the ancients mention his wife and kids but not his lover.

They were brave men.....sadly I think Thebes was the worst Greek city state in the ancient world. I do not griever its destruction by Phillip II.
 
Nov 2011
1,051
The Bluff
you skipped over Plutarch's comment about seeing boys beaten to death. why?
For someone who can write "Well the men on this group need to actually read the books", I'd suggest you re-read the post. While you are at it, perhaps you can post some actual evidence supporting your assertion that Spartan women killed Spartan gay men. A novel is not evidence. Perhaps you might also enlighten us on just how the two passages of Plutarch you've adduced (quoted in my post above in full) show Spartan women killing gay Spartan men for being such.
 

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
For those who cannot find the passages referred to by the poster, they are below:



Now, just exactly what these passages have to do with Spartan women killing homosexual Spartan men is beyond my comprehension. The first relates to the education of Spartan women and the desire of the state for these women to produce strong offspring. A by-product of this was the natural attraction of Spartan men to the maidens (those available to marry). Those men who were bachelors were frowned upon for not adding to the state. Carrot and stick. Nothing to do with homosexuality which is not a term that has any real meaning in ancient Greece as can be seen in the encouragement of younger men to take youths as lovers as part of the agoge and women to take maidens in a similar fashion (Ibid, 18.4). Perhaps the men should have killed these women as well??!!

The second passage relates to a supposed ceremony where boys were beaten at the altar of Artemis Orthia. This is of varying origin according to the ancient sources: Paus. 3.16.10; Plut. Arist. 17.8; Plut. Instituta Laconica, 40 and Xenophon, Laconian Constitution, 2.8-9 (below):



Again, just what any of this has to do with Spartan women beating and killing homosexual Spartan men is anyone's guess. More to the point, that passage from Xenophon is near universally agreed to be an interpolation by a late copier the references to this practice are all Hellenistic. What may have begun as part of the agoge has morphed into something far more and it is not coincidental that these references come from Roman times. The altar of Artemis Orthina had, by the second century AD, become an amphitheatre. Spectators came to see this supposed ritual flogging. Sparta, in Roman times, had become a tourist attraction where Romans came to see the famed Spartans and their supposed culture. You might call it a theme park and I believe Peter Green once did. In any case, the view that these practices describe Spartan women killing Spartan homosexual men is a nonsense.
When the term "lover" is used, there is not necessarily a sexual connotation. In fact, the ancient sources are unanimous that the Spartants did ban homosexual pederasty, and that does include both Plutarch in the life of Lycurgus, and Xenophon, who commanded Spartan troops in battle and sponsored his sons through the agoge. However, the penalty was not death, and certainly not carried out by women.

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 Spartans, 7

I think I ought to say something also about intimacy with boys, since this matter also has a bearing on education. In other Greek states, for instance among the Boeotians, man and boy live together, like married people; elsewhere, among the Eleians, for example, consent is won by means of favors. Some, on the other hand, entirely forbid suitors to talk with boys. The customs instituted by Lycurgus were opposed to all of these. If someone, being himself an honest man, admired a boy's soul and tried to make of him an ideal friend without reproach and to associate with him, he approved, and believed in the excellence of this kind of training. But if it was clear that the attraction lay in the boy's outward beauty, he banned the connection as an abomination; and thus he caused lovers to abstain from boys no less than parents abstain from sexual intercourse with their children and brothers and sisters with each other.
Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, chapter 2
 
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Nov 2011
1,051
The Bluff
When the term "lover" is used, there is not necessarily a sexual connotation. In fact, the ancient sources are unanimous that the Spartants did ban homosexual pederasty, and that does include both Plutarch in the life of Lycurgus, and Xenophon, who commanded Spartan troops in battle and sponsored his sons through the agoge. However, the penalty was not death, and certainly not carried out by women.
That is true and the Greek term certainly applies in that fashion as well. While ostensibly frowned upon there is little doubt such relationships could involve more than simply admiring the mind. Agesilaos fell head over heels in love with a Persian lad while in Asia as just one example which springs to mind. Either way, we're agreed that nothing in the cited passages substantiates Spartan women killing "gay" Spartan men. That is nonsense.
 

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
That is true and the Greek term certainly applies in that fashion as well. While ostensibly frowned upon there is little doubt such relationships could involve more than simply admiring the mind. Agesilaos fell head over heels in love with a Persian lad while in Asia as just one example which springs to mind. Either way, we're agreed that nothing in the cited passages substantiates Spartan women killing "gay" Spartan men. That is nonsense.
But Agesilaus , according to Spartan law, refused the kiss.

Yes, we agree on that. The penalty was revocation of citizenship rights.
 
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Nov 2011
1,051
The Bluff
But Agesilaus , according to Spartan law, refused the kiss.
Indeed he did, though it speaks volumes about the agoge which Agesilaos went through as a "lame heir" never meant to take the throne!

Yes, we agree on that. The penalty was revocation of citizenship rights.
Perhaps this explains the numbers of lesser citizens who filled out homoioi ranks even though they were not homoioi such as the hypermeiones ("lesser ones").