| Indo-European Pederasty?
I thought of entitling [my book] Indo-European Initiatory Homosexuality. What was lacking in the Latin, Iranian, and Indian documents did not prevent me. Without doubt the institution which I have described at such length is attested amongst the Hellenes, the Taifales, the Macedonians, the Albanians, and more vaguely, the Celts, among Indo-European speakers, and that fact inclines one to think that it was an institution inherited from a common prehistory, for one is tempted to see in pedagogical pederasty, practiced by these related but very different peoples, the perpetuation of a very ancient institution going back to the age when the various Indo-European languages hardly differed from one another, and where the speakers of these languages, much closer to one another than in the historical epochs, had a common culture. But Iranians, Indians, and Romans represent three of the "pillars" of the comparative philology of Indo-European studies and one must consider how "a common Indo-European element" is absent from their civilizations . . . The religious aristocracy of the Indo-Europeans [condemned] very early the pederastic practices of male initiation . . . with acerbic criticisms and interdictions . . . Pederasty disappeared everywhere with the sole exception of the Celts, where an authentic clergy [arose] . . . I speak of the Brahmins in India, the Magi in Iran, and the flamen in Rome. (Bernard Sergent, L'homosexualité initiatique dans l'Europe ancienne, Paris, 1987, pp. 215, 230)
Ever since the close of the eighteenth century, when philologists discovered that most languages spoken in the lands between Ireland and India had common words and structures, scholars have posited that those languages evolved from a common source. It was dubbed Indo-European or Aryan ("noble" in Sanskrit). Scholars further posited various Urheimaten (original homelands) for the Indo-European, Aryan, or as they were sometimes called, Caucasian peoples as well as the existence of a common religion, culture, and even sexual customs. From the racist theories in vogue during the nineteenth century, they inferred that these were the ancestors of the genetically superior white race, and the conquerors of the indigenes of the lands that they invaded.
Against this background, the Danish physician Vanggaard (1973), using little explored Scandinavian material, advanced the theory that all Indo-Europeans practiced initiatory pederasty until after their diaspora. Following Vanggaard's lead, Bremmer (1980) related the presumably ancient initiatory pederasty of the Indo-Europeans to present-day Melanesian pederasty, speculating that at one time all Euroasians practiced it, not simply the Indo-Europeans. Sergent (1986, 1987), who reluctantly limited himself in his writing to Indo-Europeans in Europe, seconded Vanggaard's belief in the existence of a pan-Indo-European primitive initiatory pederasty.
Regarding the work of Vanggaard, Bremmer, and Sergent, it must be noted that since the time when philologists first formulated their ideas about the Indo-Europeans, research has not stood still. Disagreements as to when various languages branched off from proto-Indo-European and from one another are complicated by more recent theories emphasizing borrowings of vocabulary and customs from proximate peoples rather than descent from common ancestors. There is even less agreement about the customs and the long-lost languages spoken by substrata of indigenes, if indeed there were substantial numbers of farmers in Europe before the coming of the Indo-Europeans. These and other disputes make agreement impossible as to where the Urheimat of the Aryans was, as to when, how, and by what routes they emigrated from it, and what numbers and sorts of people they settled among. There is even less consensus nowadays about their physical appearance and about the nature and evolution of their mythology and religion, which certain nineteenth- and early twentieth-century scholars confidently described.
For example, although more than thirty homelands have been proposed, from the Iberian Peninsula to the Himalayas, most moderns would place the Urheimat somewhere on an arc running from the middle Danube across the Ukraine to the Caucasus. The proposals of the Soviet philologists T. V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov (1983, 1984) and of the processual archeologist Colin Renfrew (1987), following A. H. Sayce (1927), that Anatolia, Armenia, or Kurdistan was the homeland are merely the most recent in a long series of conjectures. Although some of these theorists opt for eastern and some for western Anatolia, their failure to explain away the presence of so many non-Indo-European languages in the region somewhat undermines even these recent hypotheses.
The dates of the beginning of the dispersion of the Indo-Europeans are currently being pushed back, even by linguists, from 2500, the earliest favored by any nineteenth-century philologists, to the end of the fourth millennium. In the last two decades a leading linguist at U.C.L.A., Marija Gimbutas (1970, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1980), has revised her estimate from 3400 to 4000, using the Ukraine as the homeland. Renfrew, however, has their dispersal begin c. 6000 from an Anatolian Urheimat.i
Just as the notions and conceits of the old philologists constitute a less-than-reliable foundation on which to build new theories, so the pederastic practices among certain contemporary New Guinean tribes signaled by Bremmer (1980) prove to be a very problematic stepping stone to the mores of the ancient Indo-Europeans. Bremmer was, in fact, reviving an idea first put forth by Erich Bethe (1907). Bethe already knew of the pederastic initiatory practices of some tribes in New Guinea and claimed that Dorian warriors solemnly and ritually injected boys anally with semen to make them grow strong and brave, much as certain primitives societies still do. Bethe's contemporaries almost unanimously rejected the analogy. Nevertheless, Bremmer saw fit in 1980 to propose that primitive tribes from Melanesia to Europe once practiced an initiatory pederasty and that the Greeks and Melanesians are merely isolated ponds left from what was once a great Eurasian sea of pederastic tribes.
However, Bethe and Bremmer insisted on an analogy that even the customs of the people of Melanesia do not sustain. Although Sambian warriors feed boys their semen directly from the penis, as Herdt (1981, 1982, 1984) has documented, other primitive tribes of New Guinea inject semen into the anus of boys or feed them their urine or rub them with feces.ii Yet other tribes there do not practice pederastic initiation at all. The lack of uniformity, even in that relatively small area, indicates that the practice originated locally and was not a common legacy. Although appealing to Sergent and a number of others, this analogy between various New Guinea tribes and the ancient Indo-Europeans remains the least plausible explanation of the origins of Greek pederasty. Far more pertinent to our investigation are the known pederastic behaviors of certain Indo-European peoples.
Sacred Ritual or Casual Sex?
Evidence about pederasty among all Indo-Europeans except the Greeks is contradictory or ambiguous as well as scanty. Certain members of all tribes and peoples everywhere have undoubtedly practiced pederasty, but it cannot be proven that any in Europe ritualized it without influence from the Greeks. A few passages do indicate that certain tribes of Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians scorned argr (shamans) or even all adult passives, as most Greeks seem to have done. Several of them deemed a youth who slew big game or proved his prowess in battle at once marriageable. Such rites of passage were widespread but quite unlike what became the custom among the Greeks who, once they institutionalized pederasty, normally postponed marriage for warriors until age thirty. Some Teutonic or Celtic tribes apparently made boys who had not yet proven themselves dress more like women and use female hairstyles; however, some others may have punished certain types of homosexual acts or effeminate males.
Greek and Latin sources proffer more evidence about Celtic pederasty than about that of any other early Indo-Europeans.iii According to Aristotle, the Celts "openly approve of male loves" (Politics, II, 1269b). Diodorus observed: "although their wives are comely . . . [Celts] have very little to do with them, but rage with lust, in outlandish fashion, for the embrace of males. It is their practice to sleep upon the ground on the skins of wild beasts and to tumble with a catamite on each side" (V, 32). Athenaeus merely repeated Diodorus: "And among barbarians the Celts also, though they have very beautiful women, enjoy boys more; so that some of them often have two lovers to sleep with on their beds of animal skins" (XIII, 603a). The type of pederasty thus attributed to the Celts possessed apparently nothing whatsoever in common with that of the Greeks, which had, if not sacred duties, at least important societal purposes, and pedagogical uses.iv
The evidence for ancient Germanic pederasty is scarcer and more conflicting than that about Celtic pederasty. To contrast barbaric morality with Roman decadence, Tacitus asserted that Germans drowned in "miry swamps under a cover of wattled hurdles ignavos et imbelles et corpore infames," i.e., those "slothful and unwarlike and infamous in body" (Germania, 12). He meant by this phrase either "passive homosexuals," perhaps above a certain age, as most have maintained, or, quite to the contrary, cowards in battle, "misshapen children," traitors, or those who mutilated themselves to avoid serving in the army, as many astute scholars have argued.v Because of the ambiguity of this most famous passage about the attitudes of the early Germans towards homosexuality (cited by the Nazis to justify their persecution of gays), we must examine other sources on the subject.
Some German tribes seem to have imposed strict penalties on those who falsely charged others with infamous conduct. Apparently such conduct often included adult male passivity. Two historians of the Late Empire who wrote after the triumph of Christianity expressed disgust that Germanic tribes practiced pederasty. Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 380 A.D.) mentioned the Taifales, among whom a boy continued in a passive relationship until he slew a bear or boar (Gothic Wars, 2.14). Procopius (c. 550) cited the Heruls, amongst whom youths remained douloi (slaves), presumably sexually available for an adult warrior, and fought without shields until they proved their courage (History, 31, 9. 5). Thus, even if the passage from Tacitus referred to homosexuals, other evidence shows that the Germans had no single rule of conduct or viewpoint about homosexuality. When the various tribes, having established kingdoms on Roman soil, put their legal customs into writing with the help of Christian clergy, only the Visigoths in Spain penalized homosexual acts. Whatever their attitude toward adult passives or shamans, neither German nor, for that matter, Roman religion or laws condemned pederasty as such. Even Bleibtrau-Ehrenberg, who carefully marshalled documentary evidence for prejudice against "homosexuals" from the earliest ages, was unable to find condemnations of pederasty before Christianity influenced the Germans, but of course before that time the tribes produced no written documents to record their opinions or practices.
Likewise, before the arrival of Christianity, Scandinavian laws and religion, closely related to those of their Germanic cousins, never condemned pederasty (as distinct from adult passivity or from shamanism as manifested in argrs). Scandinavian literature, which begins only after 1000, when those people became literate after converting, nevertheless supposedly preserves early Teutonic myths and customs better than German literature does. It does not contain stories of love between comrades, of homoerotic fidelity between heroes in battle, or of any form of institutionalized pederasty. Sagas and even later texts, reflecting some selection and editing after the introduction of Christianity, do stigmatize as cowardly and slothful the passive or effeminate adult whom other males humiliated and abused sexually. Anyone insulted as an argr, which had a connotation of sorcery (a female trait), as well of as passive effeminacy, had the right to slay his accuser to avenge his honor. Of all the Scandinavian laws, none of which were put into writing before the people were converted to Christianity, only Chapter 32 of the Norwegian Gulathinglog, promulgated by King Magnus Erlingsson and an archbishop in 1164, criminalized homosexual behavior, prescribing perpetual outlawry and confiscation of all property. Some, then, if not most or all Scandinavians stigmatized adult males involved with sorcery and those who accepted the passive role, but apparently not boys who did so. There is, on the other hand, no evidence whatsoever of any general approval of, much less of the institutionalizing of pederasty. Thus there are fewer parallels between Greek and Scandinavian customs regarding pederasty than between Greek and certain German ones.vi
Proto-Greeks: "The Coming of the Greeks"
If it is not possible to sustain the theory of Indo-European initiatory pederasty, should we believe instead that the practice originated with the oldest Indo-European settlers of the Greek peninsula, the proto-Greeks? Sallares (1991) advanced just such an idea, even though present-day thinking about the proto-Greeks has produced endless disagreements as to their identity and origin. Renfrew argued that the proto-Greeks, like all other Indo-Europeans, entered an essentially vacant Europe, peopled only by a very few hunters and gatherers, c. 6000, coming across the Aegean with their wives and children in small bands. Drews, at the other extreme, argued that they came as a small elite aristocracy, bringing their horses with them across the Aegean c. 1600 and comprising only about one-tenth of the population in their new land. Others have the proto-Greeks descending by land from the north any time in between, whether as pastoralists with their herds of horses or as agriculturalists on foot. The disagreement is patent. Yet Sallares (1991), undaunted, proposed that it was precisely the proto-Greeks who between 2000 and 1500 institutionalized pederasty as a part of their comprehensive age-class system which he associated with delayed marriages and with control attempts in Mycenean times.
Sallares concluded that pederasty was an essential part of the age-class system from its beginning and that the system, originally common among all Greeks, limited births and kept the population down but was abandoned by all other Greek societies during the Dark Age (1200-800) except those of Crete and Sparta, which fixed their system early on during the Dark Age. This, he claimed, explains the latter's relative lack of manpower and the great demographic explosion of the other Greeks after 800.
Circa 6000, Neolithic immigrants, possibly Indo-Europeans from Anatolia, if Renfrew is correct, introduced weaving, pottery making, and domesticated plants and animals or, perhaps, the folk already settled in Greece imported such techniques from their neighbors in the absence of significant immigration. Living in villages rather than in small migratory bands, with their new techniques they could support as many as 500 times more people per square mile on good soil as the old hunters and gatherers could. If they were immigrants, as Renfrew argued, they exterminated or assimilated the few aborigines or pushed them back to the inhospitable mountains.
Everson argued that Europe's agriculturization between 7000 and 6500, long before Renfrew placed it, multiplied its numbers and transmogrified the lifestyle of its population, establishing the worship of a transcendental Mother Goddess. Everson further concluded that another cultural transformation began c. 4500 when he believed that patriarchal Indo-Europeans first moved in among the already numerous matriarchal agriculturalists.vii Many theorists argue that matriarchists tend to tolerate homosexuality while patriarchists normally condemn it. Whether Renfrew or his critics are right, there is no convincing evidence for systematic pederasty among any early Indo-Europeans, matriarchal or patriarchal, matrilineal or patrilineal. The ambiguities created by the evidence that Renfrew and his opponents put forward undermine any attempt to claim that early Europeans institutionalized pederasty or anything else.
If Bernal is even partly right about Egyptian influences on the Greek languageviii and the considerable Phoenician colonization that he imagined in Greece, it is quite likely that the Levantine merchant colonists introduced temple prostitution, both male and female, to the Aegean.ix But no modern theorist fails to agree that both the Greek language and religion evolved in Greece. So did the much less analyzed institution of pederasty, and we can tell by its entirely different nature that it did not derive from any Asiatic or Egyptian source. Male temple prostitutes, the kedeshim of the Jewish scriptures, did not evolve into warriors the way that eromenoi did. Nor were Asiatics more degenerate, or more sexually inclined, than Europeans, however popular that notion became during the nineteenth century.
Even if they ranged over vast stretches of steppe, losing touch with one another, the Indo-European tribes could not have, as linguists once claimed, evolved the Greek language, much less the classical Greek religion, or the age-class society with institutionalized pederasty before their arrival in Greece. Whatever conjecture that they make, no one can prove that nomadic warriors are less likely than settled villagers to have had strong taboos against homosexuality. Evidence about tribes who came into Greece before 1000 is too exiguous to make valid generalizations about their sexual practices.x
Indo-European religion also presents insurmountable problems. Without fixed places of worship like the temples of the ancient Near East or specialized priests, the Indo-Europeans who settled in the West had apparently managed to progress beyond animism. Before leaving their homeland, they supposedly worshipped the sky father Zeus, perhaps their first anthropomorphic deity and the only one found in all the Indo-European pantheons. Though the Latins may have branched off late from the Greeks and may have evolved common gods with them before doing so, if Greek gods other than Zeus appeared in other pantheons, it was probably due to borrowing.xi Because we have only bare lists in Linear B of Mycenean gods which include, incidentally, almost all the major classical deities, we remain quite ignorant about the evolution of Greek religion before Homer.
Minoan Origins? Nudity in Art
Our inability to speak authoritatively about the behavior of the proto-Greeks is only slightly exceeded by the difficulties we face when seeking evidence of institutionalized pederasty among the Minoans on Crete or among their Greek imitators, the Myceneans. Whether Minoans spoke an Indo-European language, as some now conjecture,xii and whether they worshipped a Mother Goddess, is not answerable because the little they wrote, which we cannot decipher, like the writings of the Myceneans, whose language we can read, seems mostly to have been about bureaucratic matters such as inventorying the king's wealth, not about sexual customs or laws.
Late Minoan paintings and other art contained graceful sea creatures and brilliant marine colors but no horses or scenes of homosexual (or indeed heterosexual) activity. Moreover, nothing indicates that Minoans or for that matter even Myceneans, who everyone now agrees spoke Greek, institutionalized pederasty. Little from Minoan and Mycenean times that survived the Dark Age (1200-800) after their fall could have influenced the Archaic Greeks (800-480). Minoans did have a sensual art dominated by sexual symbols such as snakes and bulls, by the lithe bodies of wasp-waisted youths usually wearing loin-cloths, and by bare-breasted females. The terra cotta piece discovered near Phaistus showing four nude males with peaked caps dancing in a ring and the nude fisherman on a fresco from the Mycenean colony at Thera are exceptional, but not overtly pederastic. The fresco of the boxer from Thera does suggest to some a possible continuity from Minoan and Mycenean to Archaic athletics.xiii Certain later vases and terra cotta figurines also suggest some influence by sub-Mycenean on geometric art but none of the figural decorations that appeared on Mycenean or on Minoan vases or walls during the second millennium are clearly homoerotic. If those peoples institutionalized pederasty, their art does not indicate that fact.
In the palace at Cnossos a winding corridor may have allowed ladies to pass from what some have dubbed the Queen's or Women's Hall to the verandas and garden terrace southeast of the Men's Hall.xiv Still, there seems to have been no strict seclusion, although miniature frescoes show them separated from the men on public occasions. Indeed, "the fact that the ladies play an important role in the [Minoan] pictures is characteristic of Minoan life in general . . . . It has even been suggested that Minoan society as a whole had a matriarchal basis, but there is no clear proof that this was so."xv If Minoan and Mycenean women were actually secluded, the custom seems to have lapsed among the Greeks of Homer's time.
Patzer (1982) believed in an Indo-European origin for Greek pederasty but somewhat incongruously interpreted a find of Nilsson's as supporting the view that the Minoans, whom he regarded as non-Indo-European, might have already institutionalized pederasty. He repeated Nilsson's argument that an artifact found on Crete, dating from the third century B.C., proved the survival in a remote area of the island of Minoan bull worship. Using the "trifunctionalism" of Dumézil (the notion that Indo-Europeans grouped everything into threes), Patzer related the Minoan bull to the ox that in a later period a Dorian Cretan warrior gave to his boyfriend, along with a helmet and a drinking cup, to sacrifice to Zeus and speculated that there might be a connection between Minoan religion and Dorian pederasty on Crete. However, others have observed that "there is no archaeological evidence which proves the existence of a bull-cult, and such a cult would be inconsistent with our knowledge of the sacrifice of bulls which is derived from the monuments."xvi
Aristotle reported but did not endorse the idea that the Cretans of his day believed that their laws stemmed from the Minoan King Minos (Politics, 1271b). He went on to argue that the Dorians on Crete institutionalized pederasty to curb their population explosion (1272a 12). But, as we shall see, the population explosion he was referring to occurred not in Minoan times but in the seventh century. In spite of all the legends connecting Minos with pederasty, the physician Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrhonian Sketches, III, 199-200, f. c. 200 A.D.), was the only ancient philosopher or historian, i.e., non-mythmaker, to declare unequivocally that pederasty began in Minoan (not Dorian) Crete. He further asserted that it was practiced first by the chief Idomeneus, Minos' brother, and his squire Meriones. Athenaeus, too, associated pederasty with the Minoan period.xvii
The Palaikastro or Dictaean Hymn of the Kouretes is a fragmentary poem found near the Temple of Dictaean Zeus in eastern Crete "inscribed on a stone, perhaps in the third century AD, copied from a fourth or third-century BC original."xviii Some maintain that the Kouretes were a group of youths already initiated into a special "order." As initiators, they abducted the initiates to teach them hunting and dancing and then returned them to society. Jeanmaire, who thought that the system was very old, suggested that the account of Ephorus reported by Strabo, our best description of the pederastic system on Crete, attested the way in which a caste of warriors was enlisted from the citizens and that it was officially or legally recognized.xix Willetts, too, suggested that Strabo's text documented a Minoan initiation rite for elite youths and derived the ritual sacrifice of an ox from Minoan practices. He speculated that because of the kidnapping this ritual resembled the Zeus and Ganymede myth.xx
Tying the scene on the famous "Chieftain Cup" excavated on the island to the story in Ephorus that Cretan lovers gave their boys a cup, Koehl (1986) kept alive the theory of a Minoan origin. He succeeded in proving what hairstyles and dress elite Minoan youths adopted at different stages of their lives when classified into distinctive age-groups. Koehl proposed that the long-haired figure of the Chieftain Cup was not receiving but "presenting the military gear, an ox hide and the cup itself to the top-knotted figure B as the gifts which Ephoros states the philetor offers his chosen one, the parastates, as required by law." Thus the scene represented the initiation stage after the two months in the wild had ended.xxi He thought that the group of youths with long hair might stand for the Minoan counterparts of the youthful friends who assisted the Dorian parastates, the abductee's friends, in the staged abduction.
However, it is a great leap of faith to presume that the ritual kidnapping of the Dorian Cretans described by Ephorus and all the other pederastic institutions associated with later Crete and Sparta went back with continuity beyond the devastations of the Dark Age and even of the Mycenean occupation over two centuries earlier to the Minoan palace society at Cnossos. Three or four artifacts, all difficult to interpret, especially in the absence of writing, hardly constitute proof that courtiers at Cnossos kidnapped boys, kept them in herds, or reclined on couches when eating in all-male dining rooms. If the Minoans did indeed organize their young males into age-groups, as many primitive peoples do, they may have also encouraged some form of homosexuality among them, but even so there would not necessarily be any direct relation between their sexual customs and those of the Greeks.
Probably the oldest Greek pederastic art object according to Dover is the Archaic bronze plaque of eighteen centimeters from Crete dated by the noted Oxford art historian John Boardman to the second half and perhaps the third quarter of the seventh century. It shows a man with a bow grabbing the forearms of a young hunter who is carrying a wild goat. Both wear short tunics revealing the well-developed genitals of the younger and thus, in a sense, prefiguring the Athenian black-figured pederastic vases.xxii That plaque is merely one of several found at Kato Syme on Crete representing long-haired youths and long-haired but bearded older men bearing hunting equipment and animals to feast on or to sacrifice. Boardman denied but Koehl affirmed a Minoan background, accenting a resemblance between the hairstyle of the youth and that of figure A of the Chieftain Cup.xxiii
David Greenberg noted the existence of a pair of Late geometric ithyphallic bronze figurines. The figurines are nude, helmeted and age-asymmetrical. They also hold hands. Citing Lembesis (1976), Greenberg dated the figurines to the eighth century B.C., long after the Dorians occupied the island, and insisted that they seem to contradict Dover's thesis that no evidence for institutionalized pederasty predates 630. Even if this artifact depicts pederasty (a conclusion that is by no means obvious), it must be remembered that we seek evidence, not for any variety of homosexuality at all, but for a custom that links pederasty to an articulated program which includes love and training. As the preceding paragraphs have tried to show, evidence for such a program among the Minoans cannot be produced.
There is even a more unequivocal absence of any indication of pederasty from the purely Greek, more male-dominated (at least as far as its deities are concerned), and warlike civilization of the Myceneans. About 1400, the Myceneans occupied Cnossos, which like other Cretan cities had suffered natural catastrophes. Henceforth, dominating Mediterranean trade, they voyaged far afield to Italy and maybe even to Spain and through the Dardanelles and into the Black Sea for furs, metals, and slaves. The Mycenean heirs of Minoan culture seem also to have favored heterosexuality, though no evidence exists that they proscribed, or for that matter practiced, any form of homosexuality. In the earliest Helladic monumental sculpture and in the "tall limestone slabs" in the shaft graves and throughout Mycenean art, male nudity, though not erotic, predominates in contrast to Minoan art, where loin cloths as in Egypt usually cover male genitals.xxiv Later Greek myths of men changing into women (e.g., Tiresias, Kaineus) may indeed descend from pre-Olympian cultic transvestism.xxv But Late Archaic Greeks deemed these practices to be foreign if not repellent and there is no evidence for them in Homeric or other early Greek epics. No Mycenean art is homosexually or, for that matter, heterosexually explicit or even erotic.
Little survives of Mycenean writing. To date, Linear B tablets, first deciphered in 1952 by Ventris, contain only administrative lists of people and wealth and names of divinities. We have recovered several thousand tablets and fragments, mainly from Cnossos, Pylos, and Mycenae. We may never uncover any true literature or even religious inscriptions of prayers or incantations in that script.xxvi
For all these many reasons, we cannot trace Greek pederasty to the Minoans or Myceneans any more than we can trace it to the prehistoric Indo-Europeans or proto-Greeks. We turn next, therefore, to the preliterate Dorians, another society once widely associated by scholars with the origins of institutionalized pederasty.
i Renfrew's approach overlooks the crucial difference between the earlier (Paleoeurasian) and later (Indo-European) settlers of Europe. It is, however, more pervasive than the attempt to obliterate the Semito-Hamitic role in ancient civilization. Whatever the achievements of prehistoric Europeans were in agriculture or metallurgy, the fact remains that they never developed a high civilization. Such a culture occurred only in Mesopotamia and was the feat of a Paleoeurasian people -- the Sumerians. Even the Semitic (Akkadian) and Hamitic (Egyptian) civilizations of the third millennium were secondary. The ancestors of the Indo-European invaders of Europe could not independently create a high civilization; the Greeks and Romans borrowed heavily from and copied the material culture of the Semites and Hamites. However, the end result of cultural evolution in the Mediterranean region and the Near East was that Indo-European and Semitic triumphed over the previous linguistic families. Even Sumerian and Etruscan had become dead languages by the onset of late antiquity, and Coptic survived solely as the liturgical language of the Christian Church in Egypt. The "classical" languages that shaped medieval and modern civilization throughout the region were Greek, Latin, and Arabic.
ii The best summaries of information indicating the existence of such practices among primitive peoples are Karsch-Haack (1911), Ford and Beach (1951), and Greenberg (1988).
iii Plentiful evidence for Celtic pederasty is also provided by Welsh and Irish penitentials. See Payer (1984).
iv Strabo, writing under Roman ascendancy, asserted that "it is notorious that the Celts are quarrelsome and also that they do not believe that it is shameful that youths (neoi) are very generous with the charms of their adolescence" (IV, 4, 6 = 198). He, and perhaps some of the others, were presumably using Poseidonius, a true authority, who took down a great deal of of information about the people of Gaul when he visited there (Fragmenta Historicorum graecorum, ed. T. Müller, 1841-1870, 87 Fll6).
v Summarized by Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg (1978) 19.
vi Dynes (1990) "Scandinavia, Medieval."
vii Everson (1989) 170-171.
viii Bernal (1987).
ix Bernal has told me that he did not find the subject of homosexuality too repugnant to discuss. He did not mention it in his first volume
, or in his second, which deals primarily with archeology. He did tell me that he plans to discuss it in his third volume, which is primarily on philology. Like me, he is totally convinced that however much else the Greeks borrowed from the Egyptians and the Semites, they did not borrow pederasty. He feels that the Egyptians were very hostile to homosexuality.
x See my articles, "Indo-European Pederasty" in Dynes (1990) and "The Origins of Institutionalized Pederasty" in The Gay Review (December, 1990), where I show that Sergent failed to disprove Dover's (1978) maxim that no evidence for Greek pederasty predates 630.
xi Burkert (1985) 125-6.
xii Renfrew (1987) Ch. 3.
xiii Burkert (1985) 34, 45.
xiv Graham (1962) 87-88.
xv The Cambridge Ancient History (1973) II, 1, 572-573.
xvi The Cambridge Ancient History (1973) II, 1, 161.
xvii Athenaeus, who repeated all sorts of opinions without necessarily endorsing them, said that Minos seized Ganymede from the Harpagion on Crete and that Minos loved the Athenian hero Theseus (XIII, 601). Thus, Athenaeus may also have presumed that Greek pederasty had its origin in Minoan Crete.
xviii Bosanquet (1908-1909) 339-356; Murray (1908-1909) 357-365; West (1965) 149-159.
xix Jeanmaire (1939) 453-454 n. 26.
xx Willetts (1962) 116-117 n. 27.
xxi Koehl (1986) 106.
xxii Boardman (1973) Fig. 47.
xxiii Koehl (1986) 108.
xxiv Vermeule (1964) 90, 91, 92, 93, 96-97, 101, 102.
xxv Greenberg (1988) 141.
xxvi Chadwick (1958, 1976).