Before proceeding to collect some notes upon the state of paiderastia at Athens, I will recapitulate the points which I have already attempted to establish. In the first place, paiderastia was unknown to Homer. 4 Secondly, soon after the heroic age, two forms of paiderastia appeared in Greece--the one chivalrous and martial, which received a formal organisation in the Dorian states; the other sensual and lustful, which, though localised to some extent at Crete, pervaded the Greek cities like
a vice. Of the distinction between these two loves the Greek conscience was well aware, though they came in course of time to be confounded. Thirdly, I traced the character of Greek love, using that term to indicate masculine affection of a permanent and enthusiastic temper, without further ethical qualification, in early Greek history and in the institutions of Dorians. In the fourth place, I showed what kind of treatment it received at the hands of the elegiac, lyric, and tragic poets.
It now remains to draw some picture of the social life of the Athenians in so far as paiderastia is concerned, and to prove how Plato was justified in describing Attic customs on this point as qualified by important restriction and distinction.
I do not know a better way of opening this inquiry, which must by its nature be fragmentary and disconnected, than by transcribing what Plato puts into the mouth of Pausanias in the Symposium. 1 After observing that the paiderastic customs of Elis and Botia involved no perplexity, inasmuch as all concessions to the god of love were tolerated, and that such customs did not exist in any despotic states, he proceeds to Athens.
"There is yet a more excellent way of legislating about them, which is our own way; but this, as I was saying, is rather perplexing. For observe that open loves are held to be more honourable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honourable. Consider, too, how great is the encouragement which all the world gives to the lover; neither is he supposed to be doing anything dishonourable; but if he succeeds he is praised, and if he fail he is blamed. And in the pursuit of his love the custom of mankind allows him to do many strange things, which philosophy would bitterly censure if they were done from any motive of interest or wish for office or power. He may pray and entreat, and supplicate and swear, and be a servant of servants, and lie on a mat at the door; in any other case friends and enemies would be equally ready to prevent him, but now there is no friend who will be ashamed of him and admonish him, and no enemy will charge him with meanness or flattery; the actions of a lover have a grace which ennobles them, and custom has decided that they are highly, commendable, and that there is no loss of character in them; and, what is strangest of all, he only may swear or forswear himself (this is what the world says), and the gods will forgive his transgression, for there is no such thing as a lover's oath. Such is the entire liberty which gods and men have allowed the lover, according to the custom which prevails in our part of the world. From this point of view a man fairly argues that in Athens to love and to be loved is held to be a very honourable thing. But when there is another regime, and parents forbid their sons to talk with their lovers, and place them under a tutor's
care, and their companions and equals cast in their teeth anything of this sort which they may observe, and their elders refuse to silence the reprovers, and do not rebuke them, any one who reflects on all this will, on the contrary, think that we hold these practices to be most disgraceful. But the truth, as I imagine, and as I said at first, is, that whether such practices are honourable or whether they are dishonourable is not a simple question; they are honourable to him who follows them honourably, dishonourable to him who follows them dishonourably. There is dishonour in yielding to the evil, or in an evil manner; but there is honour in yielding to the good, or in an honourable manner. Evil is the vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul, and who is inconstant because he is a lover of the inconstant, and, therefore, when the bloom of youth, which he was desiring, is over, takes wing and flies away, in spite of all his words and promises; whereas the love of the noble mind, which is one with the unchanging, is lifelong."
Pausanias then proceeds, at considerable length, to describe how the custom of Athens required deliberate choice and trial of character as a condition of honourable love; how it repudiated hasty and ephemeral attachments and engagements formed with the object of money-making or political aggrandisement; how love on both sides was bound to be disinterested, and what accession both of dignity and beauty the passion of friends obtained from the pursuit of philosophy and from the rendering of mutual services upon the path of virtuous conduct.
This sufficiently indicates, in general terms, the moral atmosphere in which Greek love flourished at Athens. In an earlier part of his speech Pausanias, after dwelling upon the distinction between the two kinds of Aphrodite, heavenly and vulgar, describes the latter in a way which proves that the love of boys was held to be ethically superior to that of women. 1
"The Love who is the offspring of the common Aphrodite is essentially common, and has no discrimination, being such as the meaner sort of men feel, and is apt to be of women as well as of youths, and is of the body rather than the soul; the most foolish beings are the objects of this love, which desires only to gain an end, but never thinks of accomplishing the end nobly, and therefore does good and evil quite indiscriminately. The goddess who is his mother is far younger than the other, and she was born of the union of the male and female, and partakes of both."
Then he turns to the Uranian love.
"The offspring of the heavenly Aphrodite is derived from a mother in whose birth the female has no part. She is from the male only; this is that love which is of youths, and the goddess being older, has nothing of wantonness. Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the most valiant and intelligent nature; any, one may recognise the pure enthusiasts in the very character of their attachments;
for they love not boys, but intelligent beings whose reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their beards begin to grow. And in choosing them as their companions they mean to be faithful to them, and pass their whole life in company with them, not to take them in their inexperience, and deceive them, and play the fool with them, or run away from one to another of them. But the love of young boys should be forbidden by law, because their future is uncertain; they may turn out good or bad, either in body or soul, and much noble enthusiasm may be thrown away upon them; in this matter the good are a law to themselves, and the coarser sort of lovers ought to be restrained by force, as we restrain or attempt to restrain them from fixing their affections on women of free birth."
These long quotations from a work accessible to every reader may require apology. My excuse for giving them must be that they express in pure Athenian diction a true Athenian view of this matter. The most salient characteristics of the whole speech are, first, the definition of a code of honour, distinguishing the nobler from the baser forms of paiderastia; secondly, the decided preference of male over female love; thirdly, the belief in the possibility of permanent affection between paiderastic friends; and, fourthly, the passing allusion to rules of domestic surveillance under which Athenian boys were placed. To the first of these points I shall have to return on another occasion. With regard to the second, it is sufficient for the present purpose to remember that free Athenian women were comparatively uneducated and uninteresting, and that the hetairai had proverbially bad manners. While men transacted business and enjoyed life in public, their wives and daughters stayed in the seclusion of the household, conversing to a great extent with slaves, and ignorant of nearly all that happened in the world around them. They were treated throughout their lives as minors by the law, nor could they dispose by will of more than the worth of a bushel of barley. It followed that marriages at Athens were usually matches of arrangement between the fathers of the bride and the bridegroom, and that the motives which induced a man to marry were less the desire for companionship than the natural wish for children and a sense of duty to the country. 1 Demosthenes, in his speech against Neæra, declares: 2 "We have courtesans for our pleasures, concubines for the requirements of the body, and wives for the procreation of lawful issue." If he had been speaking at a drinking-party, instead of before a jury, he might have added, "and young men for intellectual companions."
The fourth point which I have noted above requires more illustration, since its bearing on the general condition of Athenian society is important. Owing to the prevalence of paiderastia, a boy was exposed in Athens to dangers which are comparatively unknown in our great cities, and which rendered special supervision necessary. It was the custom for fathers, when they did not themselves accompany their sons, 1 to commit them to the care of slaves chosen usually among the oldest and most trustworthy. The duty of the attendant guardian was not to instruct the boy, but to preserve him from the addresses of importunate lovers or from such assaults as Peisthetærus in the Birds of Aristophanes describes. 2 He followed his charge to the school and the gymnasium, and was responsible for bringing him home at the right hour. Thus at the end of the Lysis we read 3:--
"Suddenly we were interrupted by the tutors of Lysis and Menexenus, who came upon us like an evil apparition with their brothers, and bade them go home, as it was getting late. At first, we and the bystanders drove them off; but afterwards, as they would not mind, and only went on shouting in their barbarous dialect, and got angry, and kept calling the boys--they appeared to us to have been drinking rather too much at the Hermæa, which made them difficult to manage--we fairly gave way and broke up the company."
In this way the daily conduct of Athenian boys of birth and good condition was subjected to observation; and it is not improbable that the charm which invested such lads as Plato portrayed in his Charmides and Lysis was partly due to the self-respect and self-restraint generated by the peculiar conditions under which they passed their life.
Of the way in which a Greek boy spent his day, we gain some notion from two passages in Aristophanes and Lucian. The Dikaios Logos 4 tells that--
"in his days, when justice flourished and self-control was held in honour, a boy's voice was never heard. He walked in order with his comrades of the same quarter, lightly clad even in winter, down to the school of the harp-player. There he learned old-fashioned hymns to the gods, and patriotic songs. While he sat, he took care to cover his person decently; and when he rose, he never forgot to rub out the marks which he might have left upon the dust lest any man should view them after he was gone.
[paragraph continues] At meals he ate what was put before him and refrained from idle chattering. Walking through the streets, he never tried to catch a passer's eye or to attract, a lover. He avoided the shops, the baths, 1 the Agora, the houses of Hetairai. 2 He reverenced old age and formed within his soul the image of modesty. In the gymnasium he indulged in fair and noble exercise, or ran races with his comrades among the olive-trees of the Academy."
The Adikos Logos replies by pleading that this temperate sort of life is quite old-fashioned; boys had better learn to use their tongues and bully. In the last resort he uses a clinching argumentum ad juvenem. 3
Were it nor for the beautiful and highly finished portraits in Plato, to which I have already alluded, the description of Aristophanes might be thought a mere ideal; and, indeed, it is probable that the actual life of the average Athenian boy lay mid-way between the courses prescribed by the Dikaios and the Adikos Logos.
Meanwhile, since Euripides, together with the whole school of studious and philosophic speculators, are aimed at in the speeches of the Adikos Logos, it will be fair to adduce a companion picture of the young Greek educated on the athletic system, as these men had learned to know him. I quote from the Autolycus, a satyric drama of Euripides:--
"There are a myriad bad things in Hellas, but nothing is worse than the athletes. To begin with, they do not know how to live like gentlemen, nor could they if they did; for how can a man, the slave of his jaws and his belly, increase the fortune left him by his father? Poverty and ill-luck find them equally incompetent. Having acquired no habits of good living, they are badly off when they come to roughing it. In youth they shine like statues stuck about the town, and take their walks abroad; but when old age draws nigh, you find them as threadbare as an old coat. Suppose a man has wrestled well, or runs fast, or has hurled a quoit, or given a black eye in fine style, has be done the state a service by the crowns he won? Do soldiers fight with quoits in hand, or without the press of shields can kicks expel the foeman from the ate? Nobody is fool enough to do these things with steel before his face. Keep, then, your laurels for the wise and good, for him who rules a city well, the just and temperate, who by his speeches wards off ill, allaying wars and civil strife. These are the things for cities, yea, and for all Greece to boast of."
Lucian represents, of course, a late period of Attic life. But his picture of the perfect boy completes, and in some points supplements, that of Aristophanes. Callicratidas, in
the Dialogue on Love, has just drawn an unpleasing picture of a woman, surrounded in a fusty boudoir with her rouge-pots and cosmetics, perfumes, paints, combs, looking-glasses, hair dyes, and curling irons. Then he turns to praise boys. 1
"How different is a boy! In the morning he rises from his chaste couch, washes the sleep from his eyes with cold water, puts on his chlamys, 2 and takes his way to the school of the musician or the gymnast. His tutors and guardians attend him, and his eyes are bent upon the ground. He spends the morning in studying the poets and philosophers, in riding, or in military drill. Then he betakes himself to the wrestling-ground, and hardens his body with noontide heat and sweat and dust. The bath follows and a modest meal. After this he returns for awhile to study the lives of heroes and great men. After a frugal supper sleep at last is shed upon his eyelids."
Such is Lucian's sketch of the day spent by a young Greek at the famous University of Athens. Much is, undoubtedly, omitted; but enough is said to indicate the simple occupations to which an Athenian youth, capable of inspiring an enthusiastic affection, was addicted. Then follows a burst of rhetoric, which reveals, when we compare it with the dislike expressed for women, the deeply-seated virile nature of Greek love.
"Truly he is worthy to be loved. Who would not love Hermes in the palæstra, or Phbus at the lyre, or Castor on the racing-ground? Who would not wish to sit face to face with such a youth, to hear him talk, to share his toils, to walk with him, to nurse him in sickness, to attend him on the sea, to suffer chains and darkness with him if need be? He who hated him should be my foe, and whoso loved him should be loved by me. At his death I would die; one grave should cover us both; one cruel hand cut short our lives!"
In the sequel of the dialogue Lucian makes it clear that he intends these raptures of Callicratidas to be taken in great measure for romantic boasting. Yet the fact remains that, till the last, Greek paiderastia among the better sort of men implied no effeminacy. Community of interest in sport, in exercise, and in open-air life rendered it attractive. 3
"Sons of Eudiades, Euphorion,
After the boxing-match, in which he beat,
With wreaths I crowned, and set fine silk upon
His forehead and soft blossoms honey-sweet;p. 37
Then thrice I kissed him all beblooded there;
His mouth I kissed, his eyes, his every bruise
More fragrant far than frankincense, I swear,
Was the fierce chrism that from his brows did ooze."
"I do not care for curls or tresses
Displayed in wily wildernesses
I do not prize the arts that dye
A painted cheek with hues that fly:
Give me a boy whose face and hand
Are rough with dust or circus-sand,
Whose ruddy flesh exhales the scent
Of health without embellishment :
Sweet to my sense is such a youth,
Whose charms have all the charm of truth
Leave paints and perfumes, rouge, and curls,
To lazy, lewd Corinthian girls."
The palæstra was the place at Athens where lovers enjoyed the greatest freedom. In the Phædrus Plato observes that the attachment of the lover for a boy grew by meetings and personal contact 1 in the gymnasiums and other social resorts, and in the Symposium he mentions gymnastic exercises with philosophy, and paiderastia as the three pursuits of freemen most obnoxious to despots. Æschines, again describing the manners of boy-lovers in language familiar to his audience, uses these phrases: "having grown up in gymnasiums and games," and "the man having been a noisy haunter of gymnasiums, and having been the lover of multitudes." Aristophanes also in the Wasps 2 employs similar language: "and not seeking to go revelling around in exercising grounds." I may compare Lucian, Amores, cap. 2, "you care for gymnasiums and their sleek oiled combatants," which is said to a notorious boy-lover. Boys and men met together with considerable liberty in the porches, peristyles, and other adjuncts to an Attic wrestling-ground; and it was here, too, that sophists and philosophers established themselves with the certainty of attracting a large and eager audience for their discussions. It is true that an ancient law forbade the presence of adults in the wrestling-grounds of boys; but this law appears to have become almost wholly obsolete in the days of Plato. Socrates, for example, in the Charmides, goes down immediately after his arrival from the camp at Potidæa into the palæstra of Taureas to hear the news of the day, and the very first question which he asks his friends is whether a new beauty has appeared among the youths. 3 So again in the Lysis, Hippothales invites Socrates to enter the private palæstra of Miccus, where boys and men
were exercising together on the feast-day of Hermes. 1 "The building," he remarks, "is a newly erected palæstra, and the entertainment is generally conversation, to which you are welcome." The scene which immediately follows is well known to Greek students as one of the most beautiful and vivid pictures of Athenian life. One group of youths are sacrificing to Hermes; another are casting dice in a corner of the dressing-room. Lysis himself is "standing among the other boys and youths, having a crown upon his head, like a fair vision, and not less worthy of praise for his goodness than for his beauty." The modesty of Lysis is shown by the shyness which prevents him joining Socrates' party until he has obtained the company of some of his young friends. Then a circle of boys and men, is formed in a corner of the court, and a conversation upon friendship begins. Hippothales, the lover of Lysis, keeps at a decorous distance in the background. Not less graceful as a picture is the opening of the Charmides. In answer to a question of Socrates, the frequenters of the palæstra tell him to expect the coming of young Charmides. He will then see the most beautiful boy in Athens at the time: "for those who are just entering are the advanced guard of the great beauty of the day, and he is likely to be not far off." There is a noise and a bustle at the door, and while the Socratic party continues talking Charmides enters. The effect produced is overpowering 2:--
"You know, my friend, that I cannot measure anything, and of the beautiful I am simply such a measure as a white line is of chalk; for almost all young persons appear to be beautiful in my eyes. But at that moment when I saw him coming in, I confess that I was quite astonished at his beauty and his stature; all the world seemed to be enamoured of him; amazement and confusion reigned when he entered; and a troop of lovers followed him. That grown-up men like ourselves should have been affected in this way was not surprising, but I observed that there was the same feeling among the boys; all of them, down to the very least child, turned and looked at him, as if he had been a statue."
Charmides, like Lysis, is persuaded to sit down by Socrates, who opens a discussion upon the appropriate question of Sophrosyne, or modest temperance and self-restraint. 3
"He came as he was bidden, and sat down between Critias and me. Great amusement was occasioned by everyone pushing with might and main at hit; neighbour in order to make a place for him next to them, until at the two ends of the row one had to get up, and the other was rolled over
sideways. Now I, my friend, was beginning to feel awkward; my former bold belief in my powers of conversing with him had vanished. And when Critias told him that I was the person who had the cure, he looked at me in such an indescribable manner, and was going to ask a question; and then all the people in the palæstra crowded about us, and, O rare! I caught a sight of the inwards of his garment, and took the flame. Then I could no longer contain myself. I thought how well Cydias understood the nature of love when, in speaking of a fair youth, he warns someone 'not to bring the fawn in the sight of the lion to be devoured by him,' for I felt that I had been overcome by a sort of wild-beast appetite."
The whole tenor of the dialogue makes it clear that, in spite of the admiration he excited, the honour paid him by a public character like Socrates, and the troops of lovers and of friends surrounding him, yet Charmides was unspoiled. His docility, modesty, simplicity, and healthiness of soul are at least as remarkable as the beauty for which he was so famous.
A similar impression is produced upon our minds by Autolycus in the Symposium of Xenophon. 1 Callias, his acknowledged lover, 2 had invited him to a banquet after a victory which he had gained in the pancration; and many other guests, including the Socratic party, were asked to meet him. Autolycus came, attended by his father; and as soon as the tables were covered and the seats had been arranged, a kind of divine awe fell upon the company. The grown-up men were dazzled by the beauty and the modest bearing of the boy, just as when a bright light is brought into a darkened room. Everybody gazed at him, and all were silent, sitting in uncomfortable attitudes of expectation and astonishment. The dinner party would have passed off very tamely if Phillipus, a professional diner-out and jester, had not opportunely made his appearance. Autolycus meanwhile never uttered a word, but lay beside his father like a breathing statue. Later on in the evening he was obliged to answer a question. He opened his lips with blushes, and all he said was, 3 "Not I, by gad." Still, even this created a great sensation in the company. Everybody, says Xenophon, was charmed to hear his voice and turned their eyes upon him. It should be remarked that the conversation at this party fell almost entirely upon matters of love. Critobulus, for example, who was very beautiful and rejoiced in having many lovers, gave a full account of his own feelings for Cleinias. 4
"You all tell me," he argued, "that I am beautiful, and I cannot but believe you; but if I am, and if you feel what I feel when I look on Cleinias, I think that beauty is better worth having than all Persia. I would choose to be blind to everybody else if I could only see Cleinias, and I hate the night because it robs me of his sight. I would rather be the slave of Cleinias than live without him; I would rather toil and suffer danger for his sake than live alone at ease and in safety. I would go through fire with him, as you would with me. In my soul I carry an image of him better made than any sculptor could fashion."
What makes this speech the more singular is that Critobulus was a newly-married man.
But to return from this digression to the palæstra. The Greeks were conscious that gymnastic exercises tended to encourage, and confirm the habit of paiderastia. "The cities which have most to do with gymnastics," is the phrase which Plato uses to describe the states where Greek love flourished. 1 Herodotus says the barbarians borrowed gymnastics to ether with paiderastia from the Hellenes; and we hear that Polycrates of Samos caused the gymnasia to be destroyed when he wished to discountenance the love which lent the warmth of personal enthusiasm to political associations. 2 It was common to erect statues of love in the wrestling-grounds; and there, says Plutarch, 3 the god's wings grew so wide that no man could restrain his flight. Readers of the idyllic poets will remember that it was a statue of Love which fell from its pedestal in the swimming-bath upon the cruel boy who had insulted the body of his self-slain friend. 4 Charmus, the lover of Hippias, erected an image of Erôs in the academy at Athens which bore this epigram
"Love, god of many evils and various devices, Charmus set up this altar to thee upon the shady boundaries of the gymnasium." 5
Erôs, in fact, was as much at home in the gymnasia of Athens as Aphrodite in the temples of Corinth; he was the patron of paiderastia, as she of female love. Thus Meleager writes:--
"The Cyprian queen, a woman, hurls the fire that maddens men for females; but Erôs himself sways the love of males for males." 6
Plutarch, again, in the Erotic dialogue, alludes to "Erôs, where Aphrodite is not; Erôs apart from Aphrodite." These facts
relating to the gymnasia justified Cicero in saying "Mihi quidem hæc in Græcorum gymnasiis nata consuetudo videtur: in quibus isti liberi et concessi sunt amores." He adds, with a true Roman's antipathy to Greek æsthetics and their flimsy screen for sensuality, "Bene ergo Ennius, flagitii principium est nudare inter cives corpora." 1 "To me, indeed, it seems that this custom was generated in the gymnasiums of the Greeks, for there those loves are freely indulged and sanctioned. Ennius therefore very properly observed that the beginning of vice is the habit of stripping the body among citizens."
The Attic gymnasia and schools were regulated by strict laws. We have already seen that adults were not supposed to enter the palæstra; and the penalty for the infringement of this rule by the gymnasiarch was death. In the same way schools had to be shut at sunset and not opened again before daybreak; nor was a grown-up man allowed to frequent them. The public chorus-teachers of boys were obliged to be above the age of forty. 2 Slaves who presumed to make advances to a free boy were subject to the severest penalties; in like manner they were prohibited from gymnastic exercises. Æschines, from whom we learn these facts, draws the correct conclusion that gymnastics and Greek love were intended to be the special privilege of freemen. Still, in spite of all restrictions, the palæstra was the centre of Athenian profligacy, the place in which not only honourable attachments were formed, but disgraceful bargains also were concluded; 3 and it is not improbable that men like Taureas and Miccus, who opened such places of amusement as a private speculation, may have played the part of go-betweens and panders. Their walls and the plane-trees which grew along their open courts were inscribed by lovers with the names of boys who had attracted them. To scrawl up, "Fair is Dinomeneus, fair is the boy," was a common custom, as we learn from Aristophanes and from this anonymous epigram in the Anthology: 4--
"I said and once again I said, 'fair, fair'; but still will I go on repeating how fascinating with his eyes is Dositheus. Not upon an oak, nor on a pine-tree, nor yet upon a wall, will I inscribe this word; but love is smouldering in my heart of hearts."
Another attention of the same kind from a lover to a boy was to have a vase or drinking-cup of baked clay made, with a
portrait of the youth depicted on its surface, attended by winged genii of health and love. The word "Fair" was inscribed beneath, and symbols of games were added--a hoop or a fighting-cock. 1 Nor must I here omit the custom which induced lovers of a literary turn to praise their friends in prose or verse. Hippothales, in the Lysis of Plato, is ridiculed by his friends for recording the great deeds of the boy's ancestors, and deafening his ears with odes and sonnets. A diatribe on love, written by Lysias with a view to winning Phædrus, forms the starting-point of the dialogue between that youth and Socrates. 2 We have, besides, a curious panegyrical oration (called Eroticos Logos), falsely ascribed to Demosthenes, in honour of a youth, Epicrates, from which some information may be gathered concerning the topics usually developed in these compositions.
Presents were of course a common way of trying to win favour. It was reckoned shameful for boys to take money from their lovers, but fashion permitted them to accept gifts of quails and fighting cocks, pheasants, horses, dogs, and clothes. 3 There existed, therefore, at Athens frequent temptations for boys of wanton disposition, or for those who needed money to indulge expensive tastes. The speech of Æschines, from which I have already frequently quoted, affords a lively picture of the Greek rake's progress, in which Timarchus is described as having sold his person in order to gratify his gluttony and lust and love of gaming. The whole of this passage, 4 it may be observed in passing, reads like a description of Florentine manners in a sermon of Savonarola.
The shops of the barbers, surgeons, perfumers, and flower-sellers had an evil notoriety, and lads who frequented these resorts rendered themselves liable to suspicion. Thus Æschines accuses Timarchus of having exposed himself for hire in a surgeon's shop at the Peiræus; while one of Straton's most beautiful epigrams 5 describes an assignation which he made with a boy who had attracted his attention in a garland-weaver's stall. In a fragment from the Pyraunos of
[paragraph continues] Alexis a young man declares that he found thirty professors of the "voluptuous life of pleasure," in the Cerameicus during a search of three days; while Cratinus and Theopompus might be quoted to prove the ill fame of the monument to Cimon and the hill of Lycabettus. 1
The last step in the downward descent was when a youth abandoned the roof of his parents or guardians and accepted the hospitality of a lover. 2 If he did this, he was lost.
In connection with this portion of the subject it may be well to state that the Athenian law recognised contracts made between a man and boy, even if the latter where of free birth, whereby the one agreed to render up his person for a certain period and purpose, and the other to pay a fixed sum of money. 3 The phrase "a boy who has been a prostitute," occurs quite naturally in Aristophanes; 4 nor was it thought disreputable for men to engage in these liaisons. Disgrace only attached to the free youth who gained a living by prostitution; and he was liable, as we shall see, at law to loss of civil rights.
Public brothels for males were kept in Athens, from which the state derived a portion of its revenues. It was in one of these bad places that Socrates first saw Phædo. 5 This unfortunate youth was a native of Elis. Taken prisoner in war, he was sold in the public market to a slave-dealer, who then acquired the right by Attic law to prostitute his person and engross his earnings for his own pocket. A friend of Socrates, perhaps Cebes, bought him from his master, and he became one of the chief members of the Socratic circle. His name is given to the Platonic dialogue on immortality, and he lived to found what is called the Eleo-Socratic School. No reader of Plato forgets how the sage, on the eve of his death, stroked the beautiful long hair of Phædo, 6 and prophesied that he would soon have to cut it short in mourning for his teacher.
Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, is said to have spent his youth in brothels of this sort-by inclination, however, if the reports of his biographers be not calumnious.
From what has been collected on this topic, it will be understood that boys in Athens not unfrequently caused quarrels and street-brawls, and that cases for recovery of damages or breach of contract were brought before the Attic law-courts. The Peiræus was especially noted for such scenes of violence. The oration of Lysias against Simon is a notable example of the pleadings in a cause of this description. 1 Simon the defendant and Lysias the plaintiff (or some one for whom Lysias had composed the speech) were both of them attached to Theodotus, a boy from Platæa. Theodotus was living with the plaintiff; but the defendant asserted that the boy had signed an agreement to consort with him for the consideration of three hundred drachmae, and, relying on this contract, he had attempted more than once to carry off the boy by force. Violent altercations, stone-throwings, house-breakings, and encounters of various kinds having ensued, the plaintiff brought an action for assault and battery against Simon. A modern reader is struck with the fact that he is not at all ashamed of his own relation toward Theodotus. It may be noted that the details of this action throw light upon the historic brawl at Corinth in which a boy was killed, and which led to the foundation of Syracuse by Archias the Bacchiad. 2
30:4 This, by the way, is a strong argument against the theory that the Iliad was a post- Herodotean poem. A poet in the age of Pisistratus or Pericles would not have omitted paiderastia from his view of life, and could not have told the myth of Ganymede as Homer tells it. It is doubtful whether he could have preserved the pure outlines of the story of Patroclus.
31:1 Page 182, Jowett's trans. Mr. Jowett censures this speech as sophistic and confused in view. It is precisely on this account that it is valuable. The confusion indicates the obscure conscience of the Athenians. The sophistry is the result of a half-acknowledged false position.
32:1 Page 181. Jowett's trans.
33:1 See the curious passages in Plato, Symp., p. 192; Plutarch, Erot., p. 751; and Lucian, Amores, c. 38.
33:2 Quoted by Athen, xiii. 573 B.
34:1 As Lycon chaperoned Autolycus at the feast of Callias.--Xen. Symp. Boys incurred immediate suspicion if they went out alone to parties. See a fragment from the Sappho of Ephippus in Athen, xiii. p. 572 C.
34:2 Line 137. The joke here is that the father in Utopia suggests, of his own accord, what in Athens he carefully guarded against.
34:3 Page 222, Jowett's trans.
34:4 Clouds, 948 and on. I have abridged the original, doing violence to one of the most beautiful pieces of Greek poetry.
35:1 Aristophanes returns to this point below, line 1,036, where he says that Youths chatter all day in the hot baths and leave the wrestling-grounds empty.
35:2 There was a good reason for shunning each. The Agora was the meeting-place of idle gossips, the centre of chaff and scandal. The shops were, as we shall see, the resort of bad characters and panders.
35:3 Line 1,071, et seq.
36:1 Caps. 44, 45, 46. The quotation is only an abstract of the original.
36:2 Worn up to the age of about eighteen.
36:3 Compare with the passages just quoted two epigrams from the Mousa Paidiké (Greek Anthology, sect. 12): No. 123, from a lover to a lad who has conquered in a boxing-match; No. 192, where Straton says he prefers the dust and oil of the wrestling-ground to the curls and perfumes of a woman's robe.
37:1 Page 255 B.
37:3 Charmides, 153.
38:1 Lysis, 206. This seems, however, to imply that on other occasions they were separated.
38:2 Charmides, p. 154, Jowett.
38:3 Page 155, Jowett.
39:1 Cap i. 8.
39:2 See cap. viii. 7. This is said before the boy, and in his hearing.
39:3 Cap. iii. 12.
39:4 Cap. iv. 10, et seq. The English is an abridgment.
40:1 Laws, i. 636 C.
40:2 Athen., xiii. 602 D.
40:4 Line 60, ascribed to Theocritus, but not genuine.
40:5 Athen., xiii. 609 D.
40:6 Mousa Paidiké, 86.
41:1 Compare the Atys of Catullus: "Ego mulier, ego adolescens, ego ephebus, ego puer, Ego gymnasi fui flos, ego eram decus olei."
41:2 See the law on these points in Æsch. adv. Timarchum.
41:3 Thus Aristophanes quoted above.
41:4 Aristoph., Ach., 144, and Mousa Paidiké, 120.
42:1 See Sir William Hamilton's Vases.
42:2 Lysias, according to Suidas, was the author of five Erotic epistles addressed to young men.
42:3 See Aristoph., Plutus, 153-159; Birds, 704-707. Cp. Mousa Paidiké, 44 239, 237. The boys made extraordinary demands upon their lovers generosity. The curious tale told about Alcibiades points in this direction. In Crete they did the like, but also set their lovers to execute difficult tasks as Eurystheus imposed the twelve labours on Herakles.
42:4 Page 29.
42:5 Mousa Paidiké, 8: cp. a fragment of Crates, Poetæ Conici, Didot, p. 83.
43:1 Comici Græci, Didot, pp. 562, 31, 308.
43:2 It is curious to compare the passage in the second Philippic about the youth of Mark Antony with the story told by Plutarch about Alcibiades, who left the custody of his guardians for the house of Democrates.
43:3 See both Lysias against Simon and Æschines against Timarchus.
43:4 Peace, line 11; compare the word Pallakion in Plato, Comici Græci, p. 26 1.
43:5 Diog. Laert., ii. 105.
43:6 Plato's Phædo, p. 89.
44:1 Orat. Attici, vol. ii. p. 223.
44:2 See Herodotus. Max. Tyr. tells the story (Dissert., xxiv. 1) in detail. The boy's name was Actæon, wherefore he may be compared, he says, to that other Actæon who was torn to death by his own dogs.