Spartan marriage ceremony.

Jun 2013
745
Agraphur
#31
How do you interpret the passage from Plutarch then? It seems clear that the bride dresses male because the groom is more used to male sex.
Plutarch wrote about ancient Sparta 300 years after the famous Lycurgian system was abolished for the first time. Moreover he isn't an historian but a moralist that was most keen on presenting the Spartan's as these badass killing machines. He writes stuff like "They were the only men in the world for whom war brought a respite in the training for war.” straight, which is of course laughable.
His info is also disjointed as he claimed to have put them to together from various sources. For example in the passage about the marriage rites he talks about how Spartan men didn't see their wives in daylight before they became fathers, While in the passages before he talks about boys and girls partying and singing in the nude with the girls praises and mock their accomplishments and how the female nudity is there expressively to facility marriage. Given that the Spartiates numbered in the 3-4000 so the boys that went entered their 20thies would have been in the hundreds and marriage prospects was further regulated by wealth and status, Meaning that any Spartan's would know well which handful of individual they could end up marrying from early childhood.

I find this idea that that the bride would dress as a boy as to make the men more comfortable with heterosexuality hilarious. So these boys that trained from childhood into enduring cold, pain, hunger beaten into obedient competitive super soldiers yet it was when these young men with testosterone out of their eyeballs were compelled into sexing it up with the girls, their sensibilities needed to be spared. The gay conversion therapy must have been perfected in those days.
 
Likes: bedb
Sep 2014
869
Texas
#32
The sparsity of information of Pleistarchus reign could have any kind of reasons. A lot of exciting stuff happened while he was a minor. Maybe it's simply was that he was outmanuvered by his uncle and cousin who succeeded him. If the Spartan's chose ignore him due to unbefitting behavior it could be a thousand things beside gayness. In general when the Spartan's were displeased with their kings they were banished from the country or even killed.
It is my belief Gorgo was behind their deaths. I do not have kind thoughts about her.
 
Sep 2014
869
Texas
#33
Plutarch wrote about ancient Sparta 300 years after the famous Lycurgian system was abolished for the first time. Moreover he isn't an historian but a moralist that was most keen on presenting the Spartan's as these badass killing machines. He writes stuff like "They were the only men in the world for whom war brought a respite in the training for war.” straight, which is of course laughable.
His info is also disjointed as he claimed to have put them to together from various sources. For example in the passage about the marriage rites he talks about how Spartan men didn't see their wives in daylight before they became fathers, While in the passages before he talks about boys and girls partying and singing in the nude with the girls praises and mock their accomplishments and how the female nudity is there expressively to facility marriage. Given that the Spartiates numbered in the 3-4000 so the boys that went entered their 20thies would have been in the hundreds and marriage prospects was further regulated by wealth and status, Meaning that any Spartan's would know well which handful of individual they could end up marrying from early childhood.

I find this idea that that the bride would dress as a boy as to make the men more comfortable with heterosexuality hilarious. So these boys that trained from childhood into enduring cold, pain, hunger beaten into obedient competitive super soldiers yet it was when these young men with testosterone out of their eyeballs were compelled into sexing it up with the girls, their sensibilities needed to be spared. The gay conversion therapy must have been perfected in those days.
Amen. And Plutarch said no such thing. Boys had access to all the girls they wanted
 
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Jun 2013
745
Agraphur
#34
If you mean sexual access I'm not so sure. Of course it would have happened but Sparta was famously regimented. It's difficult to see the helot system working as well as it did, if Spartan's could force themselves on female helots with impunity. Helots owned property and arranged their own marriages, willy nilly bastards would have played havoc with the system.
And everything suggests that Spartan society were rather reserved when it comes to sex despite their display of public nudity. Xenophon claims Sparta had no brothels. Virtually none of their known art could be described as licentious in stark contrast to what you find in Attica or Argos. Moreover both Xenophon and Plutarch claims the Spartan's viewed limited sexual access as a good thing. Not only did it contribute to good marriages but that they believed that the intensity of the love making itself played a part in the resulting children's health. Hence the sneaking thing in the 20thies. Anyway it makes sense that people famous for their discipline would apply it to sex as well. Which reinforce the notion that homosexuality wasn't socially approved by society but on the other hand it would increase the temptation to rub one out with the boys.

But contrary to the rest of Greece Sparta had considerable gender integration. They would run in to each other in public spaces all the time, something that's alien to most of Greece where women almost always were confined to the home, much as it looks in the traditional middle east today. TBH I find it quite weird how Spartan teenagers of the opposite sex could socialize as they did. Some peers around the king wouldn't appreciate if their daughters got pregnant by some boy from a family that scraped by their mess fees. Still they are known to have had access to birth control. and it's that thing about their being no infidelity yet they clearly had the notion of bastard children. That Spartan men married early by Greek standards surely helped but still.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,039
#35
Teenage boys generally have not had unlimited sexual access to girls.

I don't see any other interpretation of Plutarch's passage other than the boys would have sex with boys in the barracks. It makes sense given Greek attitudes towards homosexual sex and Sparta's weird society. It is possible Plutarch was wrong writing 300 years later, but that seems to be what he meant. It doesn't have anything to do with gay conversion, as the boys were mostly heterosexual, but used to having mainly homosexual sex.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,369
Portugal
#36
Although I do acknowledge it was gay sex that caused Athens their fleet at Syracuse.
If you made a reasoning about this and sourced, I missed it, so could you point that sourced reasoning or if it was not yet stated to source this and elaborate it?
 
Sep 2014
869
Texas
#37
Teenage boys generally have not had unlimited sexual access to girls.

I don't see any other interpretation of Plutarch's passage other than the boys would have sex with boys in the barracks. It makes sense given Greek attitudes towards homosexual sex and Sparta's weird society. It is possible Plutarch was wrong writing 300 years later, but that seems to be what he meant. It doesn't have anything to do with gay conversion, as the boys were mostly heterosexual, but used to having mainly homosexual sex.
I once asked if suicide was the greatest form of homophobia. It is found in real life and in Greek mythology., the son of Pelops killed himself after being raped by Laius of Thebes. He was the mentor Pedeasteror of Chrysippus, which everyone says includes gay sex. Laius enjoyed his rights as teacher having access to the unwilling boy, who later hung himself. Why would there be a myth about suicide if EVERYONE was doing it? This story is believed to come from the Lost Tragedies of Euripides.

I'm going to go with what Plutarch said in his histories. I despise generalizations.

When Panteus was forced into exile along with his king, he wanted to take his new wife with him, but her parents locked her up and refused to let her go. She in turn waited and stole some money and fled alone to find her husband. She crossed the Mediterranean alone to find her husband. That is what real people do. And she was killed by whichever Ptolemy was in office because Cleomenes III made an off color joke about him preferring boys and flute girls to war horses.
This is specific. I have read the Life of Agis IV and Cleomenes III so many times its burned into my brain. The two former queens being murdered because they were going to return land to the disenfranchised men of Sparta, the young queen whose baby and husband are murdered who is then forced to marry a teenager because Leonidas II didn't want anyone else to get her land....all their land. And how through her kindness, she almost brought Sparta back to its glory, but too soon she died, it seems in childbirth.

Generalizations do prove a point, you can make straight men gay. Got it. Specifics says no, this is what happened.

And Acrotatus fought a war to keep his Chilonis, who he stole from his great uncle Cleonymus

Siege of Sparta - Wikipedia

Chilonis (daughter of Leotychidas) - Wikipedia please note with the help of their women.
A Spartan princess rallied the men and women against giving up to Pyrrhus. Her name? Archidamiea.

Specifics trump generalizations.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,039
#38
I don't see the relevance of specific heterosexuality in ancient Greece no one doubts that. I don't see the relevance of gay and straight. In prisons, the members of gangs make the other prisoners act as their "wives" and so on. Most of the prisoners are not gay, but pretty much everyone has to do it.

Sexual references are often veiled. When Plutarch states that about how the brides dressed and so on, he implied a lot about what went on in Spartan barracks / military schools. It is impossible to be sure whether it is true at this point.
 
Likes: bedb
Sep 2014
869
Texas
#39
The Spartans had a rule that stated a man could not leave the region Sparta controlled unless he had a living son. It changed by the time Lysander came along as he was the father of daughters.(those girls must have had him wrapped around their fingers) But having a male heir was very important particularly where the kings were concerned.
Ariston of Sparta - Wikipedia
This is a short summary of Ariston. He had had two wives and no children. He was encouraged to divorce his second wife and try again. As the women in his age group were more mature, he looked for a younger woman and found the one he wanted married to a young man eager to be an acquaintance of the king. So Ariston befriended him. After a hunting trip, where the young man complimented the kings hounds, Ariston offered him the dogs if the young man would give him something. Foolishly the young man agreed to it. Ariston gave him the dogs and then said he wanted the man's wife. The young man tried to give the dogs back and pleaded against the trade because he loved his wife. But the witnesses to the agreement all sided with the king and the young man gave his wife up.

(this is classical)
While the young woman waited for the king in his house, in the dark, someone came to see her. I am a romantic and imagined it was her husband, the one who loved her, but it probably wasn't. I imagine in reality it was a friend of the king. He visited with her and then left. Then the king showed up and realized someone had gotten to her first.. But this is Sparta and adultary was no big deal...yes it was...but whatever. Sparta used a lunar calendar and not a solar one, which according to Ariston meant the baby born nine lunar months later was not his.

The baby was Demaratus, This loose comment later causes Demaratus to flee Soarta and go to Persia. He witnessed Leonidas in the pass, and Alexander the Great came upon a village that was ruled by his decendents.

According to Plutarch Demaratus' mother said she didn't know who came to see her, although a dead hero was one of the candidates.
 
Sep 2014
869
Texas
#40
This discussion made me think today that Greek men were probably horrible lovers if they really did spend all their time molesting young boys. Men interested in women didn't go around chasing boys or calling them inferior. Makes me respect the Persians men who brought their harems with them. Not to mention ALARIC.
 

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