The Greek Pederast Mythos

The Myth: Ancient Greeks regarded homosexuality as equal or superior to heterosexuality. (NO WAY)

Omar Zaid
Omar Zaid

At no time, and in no place, was this practice considered normal behavior, or were those engaged in it allowed to go unpunished.

To remove any doubt whatsoever, read Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Diodorus Seculus, Euripides, Homer, Lysias, Plato, Plutarch, and Xenophon, all of whom have left a written record as to what the prevailing norms were concerning this behavior. There were at least fifty different city-states in what we know as Greece, and the idea that homosexuality was important in the culture is based on only a minority of these.

In many of the Greek city-states, homosexuality was never accepted or tolerated. In the broader ancient Greek culture, heterosexuality held its natural dominant position. The worldview of the ancient Greeks is best understood through its gods and its mythology. In Greek mythology, sexuality is represented by Aphrodite, a female goddess, beautiful and desirable to men, who feel reciprocal desire for the male Ares (Mars). The king of the gods, Zeus, is a lustful philanderer who pursues many females and is only once attracted to a boy, Ganymede.

The myth says that Zeus made Ganymede his cup-bearer, not his lover or catamite. Any homosexual interpretation is optional.

Ares, and Poseidon are all heterosexual. [Originally, I mentioned Phoebus the sun-god here, but it has been pointed out to me that he is really androgynous, so he does not count.] There is no homosexual god. So homosexuality is classified as an aberration, a minor exception to the heterosexual rule, and identified with pederasty.

In the greatest of the Greek epic poems, the Iliad, the story revolves around the love of Paris for Helen, a beautiful woman. In its successor, the Odyssey, Ulysses is a heterosexual who returns home after twenty years to find his wife, Penelope.

These great stories, interwoven with innumerable lesser stories, dominated the culture and reflected its fundamental assumptions. In the surviving Greek drama, heterosexuality is also the prevailing norm. The comedies portray domestic life in which households consist of a man and his wife. The tragedies concern families with a mother, father, sons, and daughters.

There are no Greek dramas about homosexual love or relationships. In the myths about homosexual relationships, the outcome is often tragic. Even the celebrated female poet, Sappho of Lesbos, most of whose works are tragically lost, was bisexual. She fell in love with a young man called Phaon and is supposed to have committed suicide because of this.

This would be typical of the pattern commonly seen today. Exclusive lesbians are very rare. Most women classified as lesbian are bisexual and avoid men because of some negative experience.

~ Girandola, Hub Pages, Ten Gay Myths That Need To Go, Online (13Feb18).

Omar Zaid

Author, Editor, Physician & Essential Monotheist