A considerable majority of the legends which have been related in the preceding section are Dorian, and the Dorians gave the earliest and most marked encouragement to Greek love. Nowhere else, indeed, except among the Dorians, who were an essentially military race, living like an army of occupation in the countries they had seized, herding together in barracks and at public messes, and submitting to martial drill and discipline, do we meet with paiderastia developed as an institution. In Crete and Lacedæmon it became a potent instrument of education. What I have to say, in the first instance on this matter is derived almost entirely from C. O. Müller's Dorians, 2 to which work I refer my readers for the authorities cited in illustration of each detail. Plato says that the law of Lycurgus in respect to love was Poikiles, 3 by which he means that it allowed the custom under certain restrictions. It would appear that the lover was called Inspirer, at Sparta, while the youth he loved was named Hearer. These local phrases sufficiently indicate the relation which subsisted between the pair. The lover taught, the hearer learned; and so from man to man was handed down the tradition of heroism, the peculiar tone and temper of the state to which, in particular among the Greeks, the Dorians clung with obstinate pertinacity. Xenophon distinctly states that love was maintained among the Spartans with a view to education; and when we consider the customs of the state, by which boys were separated early from their homes and the influences of the family were almost wholly wanting, it is not difficult to understand the importance of the paiderastic institution. The Lacedæmonian lover might represent his friend in the Assembly. He was answerable for his good conduct, and stood before him as a pattern of manliness, courage, and prudence. Of the nature of his teaching we may form some notion from the precepts addressed by the Megarian Theognis to the youth Kurnus. In battle the lovers fought side by side.,
and it is worthy of notice that before entering into an engagement the Spartans sacrificed to Erôs. It was reckoned a disgrace if a youth found no man to be his lover. Consequently we find that the most illustrious Spartans are mentioned by their biographers in connection with their comrades. Agesilaus heard Lysander; Archidamus, his son loved Cleonymus; Cleomenes III. was the hearer of Xenares and the inspirer of Panteus. The affection of Pausanias, on the other hand, for the boy Argilus, who betrayed him according to the account of Thucydides, 1 must not be reckoned among these nobler loves. In order to regulate the moral conduct of both parties, Lycurgus made it felony, punishable with death or exile, for the lover to desire the person of a boy in lust; and, on the other hand, it was accounted exceedingly disgraceful for the younger to meet the advances of the elder with a view to gain. Honest affection and manly self-respect were exacted on both sides; the bond of union implied no more of sensuality than subsists between a father and a son, a brother and a brother. At the same time great license of intercourse was permitted. Cicero, writing long after the great age of Greece, but relying probably upon sources to which we have no access, asserts that "Lacedæmonii ipsi cum omnia concedunt in amore juvenum præter stuprum tenui sane muro dissæpiunt id quod excipiunt: complexus enim concubitusque permittunt." 2 "The Lacedemonians, while they permit all things except outrage in the love of youths, certainly distinguish the forbidden by a thin wall of partition from the sanctioned, for they allow embraces and a common couch to lovers."
In Crete the paiderastic institutions were even more elaborate than at Sparta. The lover was called Philetor, and the beloved one Kleinos. When a man wished to attach to himself a youth in the recognised bonds of friendship, he took him away from his home, with a pretence of force, but not without the connivance, in most cases, of his friends. 3 For two months the pair lived together among the hills, hunting and fishing. Then the Philetor gave gifts to the youth, and suffered him to return to his relatives, If the Kleinos (illustrious or laudable) had received insult or ill-treatment during the probationary weeks, he now could get redress at law. If he was satisfied with the conduct of his would-be comrade, he changed his title from Kleinos to Parastates (comrade and bystander in the ranks of
battle and life), returned to the Philetor, and lived thenceforward in close bonds of public intimacy with him.
The primitive simplicity and regularity of these customs make it appear strange to modern minds; nor is it easy to understand how they should ever have been wholly free from blame. Yet we must remember the influences which prevalent opinion and ancient tradition both contribute toward preserving a delicate sense of honour under circumstances of apparent difficulty. The careful reading of one Life by Plutarch, that, for instance, of Cleomenes or that of Agis, will have more effect in presenting the realities of Dorian existence to our imagination than any amount of speculative disquisition. Moreover, a Dorian was exposed to almost absolute publicity. He had no chance of hiding from his fellow-citizens the secrets of his private life. It was not, therefore, till the social and political complexion of the whole nation became corrupt that the institutions just described encouraged profligacy. 1 That the Spartans and the Cretans degenerated from their primitive ideal is manifest from the severe critiques of the philosophers. Plato, while passing a deliberate censure on the Cretans for the introduction of paiderastia into Greece, 2 remarks that syssitia, or meals in common, and gymnasia are favourable to the perversion of the passions. Aristotle, in a similar argument, 3 points out that the Dorian habits had a direct tendency to check the population by encouraging the love of boys and by separating women from the society of men. An obscure passage quoted from Hagnon by Athenæus might also be cited to prove that the Greeks at large had formed no high opinion of Spartan manners. 4 But the most convincing testimony is to be found in the Greek language: "to do like the Laconians, to have connection in Laconian way, to do like the Cretans," tell their own tale, especially when we compare these phrases with, "to do like the Corinthians, the Lesbians, the Siphnians, the Phnicians," and other verbs formed to indicate the vices localised in separate districts.
Up to this point I have been content to follow the notices of Dorian institutions which are scattered up and down the later Greek authors, and which have been collected by C. O. Müller.
[paragraph continues] I have not attempted to draw definite conclusions, or to speculate upon the influence which the Dorian section of the Hellenic family may have exercised in developing paiderastia. To do so now will be legitimate, always remembering that what we actually know about the Dorians is confined to the historic period, and that the tradition respecting their early customs is derived from second-hand authorities.
It has frequently occurred to my mind that the mixed type of paiderastia which I have named Greek Love took its origin in Doris. Homer, who knew nothing about the passion as it afterwards existed, drew a striking picture of masculine affection in Achilles. And Homer, I may add, was not a native of northern Greece. Whoever he was, or whoever they were, the poet, or the poets, we call Homer belonged to the south-east of the Ægean. Homer, then, may have been ignorant of paiderastia. Yet friendship occupies the first place in his hero's heart, while only the second is reserved for sexual emotion. Now Achilles came from Phthia, itself a portion of that mountain region to which Doris belonged. 1 Is it unnatural to conjecture that the Dorians, in their migration to Lacedæmon and Crete, the recognised headquarters of the custom, carried a tradition of heroic paiderastia along with them? Is it unreasonable to surmise that here, if anywhere in Hellas, the custom existed from prehistoric times? If so, the circumstances of their invasion would have fostered the transformation of this tradition into a tribal institution. They went forth, a band of warriors and pirates, to cross the sea in boats, and to fight their way along the hills and plains of Southern Greece. The dominions they had conquered with their swords they occupied like soldiers. The camp became their country, and for a long period of time they literally lived upon the bivouac. Instead of a city-state, with its manifold complexities of social life, they were reduced to the narrow limits and the simple conditions of a roving horde. Without sufficiency of women, without the sanctities of established domestic life, inspired by the memory of Achilles, and venerating their ancestor Herakles, the Dorian warriors had special opportunity for elevating comradeship to the rank of an enthusiasm. The incidents of emigration into a distant country-perils of the sea, passages of rivers and mountains, assaults of fortresses and cities, landings on a hostile shore, night-vigils by the side of blazing beacons, foragings for food, picquet services in the front of watchful foes-involved adventures
capable of shedding the lustre of romance on friendship. These circumstances, by bringing the virtues of sympathy with the weak, tenderness for the beautiful, protection for the young, together with corresponding qualities of gratitude, self-devotion and admiring attachment, into play, may have tended to cement unions between man and man no less firm than that of marriage. On such connections a wise captain would have relied for giving strength to his battalion, and for keeping alive the flame of enterprise and daring. Fighting and foraging in company, sharing the same wayside board and heath-strewn bed, rallying to the comrade's voice in onset, relying on the comrade's shield when fallen, these men learned the meanings of the words Philetor and Parastates. To be loved was honourable, for it implied being worthy to be died for. To love was glorious, since it pledged the lover to self-sacrifice in case of need. In these conditions the paiderastic passion may have well combined manly virtue with carnal appetite, adding such romantic sentiment as some stern men reserve within their hearts for women. 1 A motto might be chosen for a lover of this early Dorian type from the Æolic poem ascribed to Theocritus: "And made me tender from the iron man I used to be."
In course of time, when the Dorians had settled down upon their conquered territories, and when the passions which had shown their more heroic aspect during a period of warfare came, in a period of idleness, to call for methods of restraint, then the discrimination between honourable and base forms of love, to which Plato pointed as a feature of the Dorian institutions, took place. It is also more than merely probable that in Crete, where these institutions were the most precisely regulated, the Dorian immigrants came into contact with Phnician vices, the repression of which required the adoption of a strict code. 2 In this way paiderastia, considered as a mixed custom, partly martial, partly luxurious, recognised by public opinion and controlled by law, obtained among the Dorian Tribes, and spread from them throughout the states of Hellas. Relics of numerous semi-savage habits--thefts of food, ravishment as a prelude to marriage, and so forth--indicate in like manner the survival among the Dorians of primitive tribal institutions.
It will be seen that the conclusion to which I have been drawn by the foregoing considerations is that the mixed form of paiderastia called by me in this essay Greek love owed its peculiar quality, what Plato called its intricacy of "laws and customs," to two diverse strains of circumstances harmonised in the Greek temperament. Its military and enthusiastic elements were derived from the primitive conditions of the Dorians during their immigration into Southern Greece. Its refinements of sensuality and sanctified impurity are referable to contact with Phoenician civilisation. The specific form it assumed among the Dorians of the historic period, equally removed from military freedom and from Oriental luxury, can be ascribed to the operation of that organising, moulding and assimilating spirit which we recognise as Hellenic.
The position thus stated is, unfortunately, speculative rather than demonstrable; and in order to establish the reasonableness of the speculation, it would be natural at this point to introduce some account of paiderastia as it exists in various savage tribes, if their customs could be seen to illustrate the Doric phase of Greek love. This, however, is not the case. Study of Mr. Herbert Spencer's Tables, and of Bastian's Der Mensch in der Geschichte (vol. iii. pp. 304-323), together with the facts collected by travellers among the North American Indians, and the mass of curious information supplied by Rosenbaum in his Geschichte der Lust-seuche im Alterthume, makes it clear to my mind that the unisexual vices of barbarians follow, not the type of Greek paiderastia, but that of the Scythian disease of effeminacy, described by Herodotus and Hippocrates as something essentially foreign and non-Hellenic. In all these cases, whether we regard the Scythian impotent effeminates, the North American Bardashes, the Tsecats of Madagascar, the Cordaches of the Canadian Indians, and similar classes among Californian Indians, natives of Venezuela, and so forth--the characteristic point is that effeminate males renounce their sex, assume female clothes, and live either in promiscuous concubinage with the men of the tribe or else in marriage with chosen persons. This abandonment of the masculine attributes and habits, this assumption of feminine duties and costume, would have been abhorrent to the Doric custom. Precisely similar effeminacies were recognised as pathological by Herodotus, to whom Greek paiderastia was familiar. The distinctive feature of Dorian comradeship was that it remained on both sides masculine, tolerating no sort of softness. For similar reasons, what we know about the prevalence of sodomy among the primitive peoples of Mexico, Peru and Yucatan, and
almost all half-savage nations, 1 throws little light upon the subject of the present inquiry. Nor do we gain anything of importance from the semi-religious practices of Japanese Bonzes or Egyptian priests. Such facts, taken in connection with abundant modern. experience of what are called unnatural vices, only prove the universality of unisexual indulgence in all parts of the world and under all conditions of society. Considerable psychological interest attaches to the study of these sexual aberrations. It is also true that we detect in them the germ or raw material of a custom which the Dorians moralised or developed after a specific fashion; but nowhere do we find an analogue to their peculiar institutions. It was just that effort to moralise and adapt to social use a practice which has elsewhere been excluded in the course of civil growth, or has been allowed to linger half-acknowledged as a remnant of more primitive conditions, or has re-appeared in the corruption of society; it was just this effort to elevate paiderastia according to the aesthetic standard of Greek ethics which constituted its distinctive quality in Hellas. We are obliged, in fact, to separate this, the true Hellenic manifestation of the paiderastic passion, from the effeminacies, brutalities and gross sensualities which can be noticed alike in imperfectly civilised and in luxuriously corrupt communities.
Before leaving this part of the subject, I must repeat that what I have suggested regarding the intervention of the Dorians in creating the type of Greek love is a pure speculation. If it has any value, that is due to the fixed and regulated forms which paiderastic institutions displayed at a very early date in Crete and Sparta, and also to the remnants of savage customs embedded in them. It depends to a certain extent also upon the absence of paiderastia in Homer. But on this point something still remains to be said. Our Attic authorities certainly regarded the Homeric poems as canonical books, decisive for the culture of the first stage of Hellenic history. Yet it is clear that Homer refined Greek mythology, while many of the cruder elements of that mythology survived from pre-Homeric times in local cults and popular religious observances. We know, moreover, that a body of non-Homeric writings, commonly called the cyclic poems, existed by the side of Homer, some of the material of which is preserved to us by dramatists, lyrists, historians, antiquaries and anecdotists. It is not impossible that
this so-called cyclical literature contained paiderastic elements, which were eliminated, like the grosser forms of myth in the Homeric poems. 1 If this be conceded, we might be led to conjecture that paiderastia was a remnant of ancient savage habits, ignored by Homer, but preserved by tradition in the race. Given the habit, the Greeks were certainly capable of carrying it on without shame. We ought to resist the temptation to seek a high and noble origin for all Greek institutions. But there remains the fact that, however they acquired the habit, whether from North Dorian customs antecedent to Homer or from conditions of experience subsequent tot the Homeric age, the Greeks gave it a dignity and an emotional superiority which is absent in the annals of barbarian institutions. Instead of abandoning it as part of the obsolete lumber of their prehistoric origins, they chose to elaborate it into the region of romance and ideality. And this; they did in spite of Homer's ignorance of the passion or of his deliberate reticence. Whatever view, therefore, we may take about Homer's silence, and about the possibility of paiderastia occurring in lost poems of the cyclic type, or, lastly, about its probable survival in the people from an age of savagery, we are bound to regard its systematical development among the Dorians as a fact of paramount significance.
In that passage of the Symposium 2 where Plato notices the Spartan law of love as Poikilos, he speaks with disapprobation of the Botians, who were not restrained by custom and opinion within the same strict limits. Yet it should here be noted that the military aspect of Greek love in the historic period was nowhere more distinguished than at Thebes. Epaminsondas was a notable boy-lover; and the names of his beloved Asopichus and Cephisodorus, are mentioned by Plutarch. 3 They died, and were buried with him at Mantinea. The paiderastic legend of Herakles and Iolaus was localised in Botia; and the lovers, Diodes and Philolaus, who gave laws to Thebes, directly encouraged those masculine attachments, which had their origin in the Palæstra. 4 The practical outcome of these national institutions in the chief town of Botia was the formation of the so-called Sacred Band, or Band of Lovers, upon whom Pelopidas relied in his most perilous operations. Plutarch relates that they were enrolled, in the first instance, by Gorgidas, the rank and file of the regiment being composed of
young men bound together by affection. Report goes that they were never beaten till the battle of Chæronea. At the end of that day, fatal to the liberties of Hellas, Philip of Macedon went forth to view the slain; and when he "came to that place where the three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead together, he wondered, and understanding that it was the band of lovers, he shed tears, and said, 'Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything that was base.'" 1As at all the other turning-points of Greek history, so at this, too, there is something dramatic and eventful: Thebes was the last stronghold of Greek freedom; the Sacred Band contained the pith and flower of her army; these lovers had fallen to a man, like the Spartans of Leonidas at Thermopylæ, pierced by the lances of the Macedonian phalanx; then, when the day was over and the dead were silent, Philip, the victor in that fight, shed tears when he beheld their serried ranks, pronouncing himself therewith the fittest epitaph which could have been inscribed upon their stelë by a Hellene.
At Chæronea, Greek liberty, Greek heroism, and Greek love, properly so called, expired. It is not unworthy of notice that the son of the conqueror, young Alexander, endeavoured to revive the tradition of Achilleian friendship. This lad, born in the decay of Greek liberty, took conscious pleasure in enacting the part of a Homeric hero on the altered stage of Hellas and of Asia, with somewhat tawdry histrionic pomp. 2 Homer was his invariable companion upon his marches; in the Troad he paid special honour to the tomb of Achilles, running naked races round the barrow in honour of the hero, and expressing the envy which he felt for one who had so true a friend and so renowned a poet to record his deeds. The historians of his life relate that, while he was indifferent to women, 3 he was madly given to the love of males. This the story of his sorrow for Hephaistion sufficiently confirms. A kind of spiritual atavism moved the Macedonian conqueror to assume on the vast Bactrian plain the outward trappings of Achilles Agonistes. 4
Returning from this digression upon Alexander's almost hysterical archaism, it should next be noticed that Plato includes the people of Elis in the censure which he passes upon the Botians. He accuses the Eleans of adopting customs which permitted youths to gratify their lovers without further distinction of age, or quality, or opportunity. In like manner Maximus Tyrius distinguishes between the customs of Crete and Elis: "While I find the laws of the Cretans excellent, I must condemn those of Elis for their license." 1 Elis, 2 like Megara, instituted a contest for beauty among youths; and it is significant that the Megarians were not uncommonly accused of Hybris or wanton lust, by Greek writers. Both the Eleans and the Megarians may therefore reasonably be considered to have exceeded the Greek standard of taste in the amount of sensual indulgence which they openly acknowledged. In Ionia and other regions of Hellas exposed to Oriental influences, Plato says that paiderastia was accounted a disgrace. 3 At the same time he couples with paiderastia in this place both addiction to gymnastic exercise and to philosophical studies, pointing out that despotism was always hostile to high thoughts and haughty customs. The meaning of the passage, therefore, seems to be that the true type of Greek love had no chance of unfolding itself freely on the shores of Asia Minor. Of paiderastic Malakia, or effeminacy, there is here no question, else Plato would probably have made Pausanias use other language.
13:1 See, for example, Æschines against Timarchus, 59.
13:2 Trans. by Sir G. C. Lewis, vol. ii. pp. 306-313.
13:3 Symp. 182 A.
14:1 i. 132.
14:2 De Rep., iv. 4.
14:3 I need hardly point out the parallel between this custom and the marriage customs of half-civilised communities.
15:1 The general opinion of the Greeks with regard to the best type of Dorian love is well expressed by Maximus Tyrius, Dissert., xxvi. 8. "It is esteemed a disgrace to a Cretan youth to have no lover. It is a disgrace for a Cretan youth to tamper with the boy he loves. O custom, beautifully blent of self-restraint and passion! The man of Sparta loves the lad of Lacedæmon, but loves him only as one loves a fair statue; and many love one, and one loves many."
15:2 Laws, i. 636.
15:3 Pol, ii. 7, 4.
15:4 Lib. 13,602, E.
16:1 It is not unimportant to note in this connection that paiderastia of no ignoble type still prevails among the Albanian mountaineers.
17:1 The foregoing attempt to reconstruct a possible environment for the Dorian form of paiderastia is, of course, wholly imaginative. Yet it receives certain support from what we know about the manners of the Albanian Mountaineers and the nomadic Tartar tribes. Aristotle remarks upon the Paiderastic customs of the Kelts, who in his times were immigrant.
17:2 See above, Section V.
19:1 It appears from the reports of travellers that this form of passion is not common among those African tribes who have not been corrupted by Mussulmans or Europeans.
20:1 It may be plausibly argued that Æschylus drew the subject of his Myrmidones from some such non-Homeric epic. See below, Section XII.
20:2 182 A.. Cp. Laws, i. 636.
20:3 Eroticus, xvii. p. 761, 34
20:4 See Plutarch, Pelopidas. Clough, vol. ii. p. 2 19.
21:1 Clough, as quoted above, p. 219.
21:2 The connection of the royal family of Macedon by descent with the Æacidæ, and the early settlement of the Dorians in Macedonia, are noticeable.
21:3 Cf. Athenæus, x. 435.
21:4 Hadrian in Rome, at a later period, revived the Greek tradition, with even more of caricature. His military ardour, patronage of art, and for Antinous seem to hang together.
22:1 Dissert., xxvi. 8.
22:2 See Athen., xiii. 609, F. The prize was armour and the wreath of myrtle.
22:3 Symp. 182, B. In the Laws, however, he mentions the Barbarians as corrupting Greek morality in this respect. We have here a further proof that it was the noble type of love which the Barbarians discouraged. For Malakia they had no dislike.