We have seen in the foregoing section that paiderastia at Athens was closely associated with liberty, manly sports, severe studies, enthusiasm, self-sacrifice, self-control, and deeds of daring, by those who cared for those things. It has also been made abundantly manifest that no serious moral shame attached to persons who used boys like women, but that effeminate youths of free birth were stigmatised for their indecent profligacy. It remains still to ascertain the more delicate distinctions which were drawn by Attic law and custom in this matter, though what has been already quoted from Pausanias in the Symposium of Plato may be: taken fairly to express the code of honour among gentlemen.
In the Plutus 3 Aristophanes is careful to divide "boys with lovers," into "the good," and "the strumpets." This distinction
will serve as basis for the following remarks. A very definite line was drawn by the Athenians between boys who accepted the addresses of their lovers because they liked them or because they were ambitious of comradeship with men of spirit, and those who sold their bodies for money. Minute inquiry was never instituted into the conduct of the former class; else Alcibiades could not have made his famous declaration about Socrates, 1 nor would Plato in the Phædrus have regarded an occasional breach of chastity, under the compulsion of violent passion, as a venial error. 2 The latter, on the other hand, besides being visited with universal censure, were disqualified by law from exercising the privileges of the franchise, from undertaking embassies, from frequenting the Agora, and from taking part in public festivals, under the penalty of death. Æschines, from whom we learn the wording of this statute, adds: 3 "This law he passed with regard to youths who sin with facility and readiness against their own bodies." He then proceeds to define the true nature of prostitution, prohibited by law to citizens of Athens. It is this: "Any one who acts in this way towards a single man, provided he do it with payment, seems to me to be liable to the reproach in question." 4 The whole discussion turns upon the word Misthos. The orator is cautious to meet the argument that a written contract was necessary in order to construct a case of Hetaireia at law. 5 In the statute, he observes, there is no mention of "contract" or "deed in writing." The offence has been sufficiently established "when in any way whatever payment has been made."
In order to illustrate the feeling of the Athenians with regard to making profit out of paiderastic relations, I may perhaps be permitted to interrupt the analysis of Æschines by referring to Xenophon's character (Anab. si, 6, 21) of the Strategus Menon. The whole tenor of his judgment is extremely unfavourable toward this man, who invariably pursued selfish and mean aims, debasing virtuous qualities like ambition and industry in the mere pursuit of wealth and power. He was, in fact, devoid of chivalrous feeling, good taste, and honour. About his behaviour as a youth Xenophon writes: "With Ariæus, the barbarian, because this man was partial to handsome youths, he became extremely intimate while he was still in the prime of adolescence; moreover, he had Tharypas for his beloved, he being
beardless and Tharypas a man with a beard." His crime seems to have been that he prostituted himself to the barbarian Ariæus in order to advance his interest, and, probably with the same view, flattered the effeminate vanity of an elder man by pretending to love him out of the right time or season. Plutarch (Pyrrhus) mentions this Tharypas as the first to introduce Hellenic manners among the Molossi.
When more than one lover was admitted, the guilt was aggravated. "It will then be manifest that he has not only acted the strumpet, but that he has been a common prostitute. For he who does this indifferently, and with money, and for money, seems to have incurred that designation. "Thus the question finally put to the Areopagus, in which court the case against Timarchus was tried, ran as follows, in the words of Æschines: 1 "To which of these two classes will you reckon Timarchus--to those who have had a lover, or to those who have been prostitutes?" In his rhetorical exposition Æschines defines the true character of the virtuous Eromenos. Frankly admitting his own partiality for beautiful young men, he argues after this fashion: 2 "I do not attach any blame to love. I do not take away the character of handsome lads. I do not deny that I have often loved, and had many quarrels and jealousies in this matter. But I establish this as an irrefutable fact, that, while the love of beautiful and temperate youths does honour to humanity and indicates a generous temper, the buying of the person of a free boy for debauchery is a mark of insolence and ill-breeding. To be loved is an honour: to sell yourself is a disgrace." He then appeals to the law which forbade slaves to love, thereby implying that this was the privilege and pride of free men. He alludes to the heroic deed of Aristogeiton and to the great example of Achilles. Finally, he draws up a list of well-known and respected citizens whose loves were notorious, and compares them with a parallel list of persons infamous for their debauchery. What remains in the peroration to this invective traverses the same ground. Some phrases may be quoted which illustrate the popular feeling of the Athenians. Timarchus is stigmatised 3 as "the man and male who in spite of this has debauched his body by womanly acts of lust," and again as "one who against the law of nature has given himself to lewdness." It is obvious here that Æschines, the self-avowed boy-lover, while seeking to crush his opponent by flinging effeminacy and unnatural behaviour in his teeth,
assumes at the same time that honourable paiderastia implies no such disgrace. Again, he observes that it is as easy to recognise a pathic by his impudent behaviour as a gymnast by his muscles. Lastly, he bids the judges force intemperate lovers to abstain from free youths and satisfy their lusts upon the persons of foreigners and aliens. 1 The whole matter at this distance of time is obscure, nor can we hope to apprehend the full force of distinctions drawn by a Greek orator appealing to a Greek audience. We may, indeed, fairly presume that, as is always the case with popular ethics, considerable confusion existed in the minds of the Athenians themselves, and that even for them to formulate the whole of their social feelings on this topic consistently, would have been impossible. The main point, however, seems to be that at Athens it was held honourable to love free boys with decency; that the conduct of lovers between themselves, within the limits of recognised friendship, was not challenged; and that no particular shame attached to profligate persons so long as they refrained from tampering with the sons of citizens. 2
45:1 Symph., 217.
45:2 Phædr., 256.
45:3 Page 17. My quotations are made from Dobson's Oratores Attici, vol. xii., and the references are to his pages.
45:4 Page 30.
45:5 Page 67.
46:1 Page 67.
46:2 Page 59.
46:3 Page 75.
47:1 Page 78.
47:2 Æschines. p. 27, apologises to Misgolas, who was a man, he says, of good breeding, for being obliged to expose his early connection with Timarchus. Misgolas, however, is more than once mentioned by the comic poets with contempt as a notorious rake.