Expert Answer Forum
Homosexuality in early Greek & Roman history- QUESTION from Mr. Michael J. Molloy Friday, October 22, 1999 During a recent bible study of St.Paul's letter to the Romans, the priest conducting the class was expounding on Chapter1 Vs 24 through 29(and the males likewise gave up natural,etc.). He went on to infer that this type of perversity was common and especially in Athens in addition to Rome. The stated comment was that in Greece the males only had intercource with their wives for procreation and any other sex for the expression of love or communication was directed to some young male.
Is there any documentation to verify this and the inference that the entire male population could act in such an unnatural way? Since God has placed His word in our hearts and minds through the natural law, I find it almost impossible to accept this theory unless there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin on October 24, 1999 Dear Mr. Molloy
It is no secret to those who study Ancient Greece that homosexual behaviour was not only normal but expected of males. Men were sexually initiated as boys between the ages of 13 and 17, before they grew their beards, as the saying went. They were pursued by older men, and their families knew all about it and approved of it.This practice is known as pederasty. When these boys grew into manhood, they were expected to find a woman to breed and raise their children. Women were not highly valued in Greek culture-- and that is not feminist claptrap. Women were expected to stay home, breed children to carry on the family line, raise them, supervise the household and never venture out of the house except with a male relative, and they were to say as little as possible. It was believed that since true love could only truly exist between equals, then the truest love existed between two men.
Greek literature contains countless references homosexuality. Even in Plato's *Symposium*, a wonderful work about the philosophy of love, homosexuality is taken for granted. So the priest was not relating anything that is unknown to anyone familiar with Ancient Greek culture.
The Romans were less open toward homosexuality because they had some sense of chastity, but the few laws against homosexuality in existence were a dead letter. The Romans had a strange attitude toward homosexuality. It was socially acceptable for a man to engage in homosexual acts, so long as he did not play the passive role. It was considered unmanly. The Romans, to their credit, had a greater respect for women. Heterosexual love was much more valued.
The natural law does not preclude that people ignore its precepts. Look at our own age: the natural law is widely disregarded. Babies are killed in the womb. And now killing oneself is becoming more acceptable. Soon killing the disposable people in this world will be acceptable, too. And that's only scratching the surface.
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