On classic pederasty

Or:

Pace Greg Johnson and James O’Meara, the Greco-Roman erastes-eromenos institution was not “gay” in the modern sense of the word

A longer version of this article: here


The fact that Greg Johnson, editor of Counter-Currents Publishing, one of the foremost white nationalist websites, has recently published James O’Meara’s The Homo and the Negro moves me to recycle below about a third of what I said in “Gitone’s magic” a few months ago.

(Note: James O’Meara should not be confused with another Counter-Currents author, Michael O’Meara.)

Johnson’s own views defending modern homosexuality can be found in one of his articles, “Homosexuality & White Nationalism.” However, only by means of reminding my readers that one of my subjects of interests has been Psychohistory, or the study of child abuse in the historical past—as I explain in The Return of Quetzalcoatl—I can properly respond to Johnson’s and O’Meara’s views on classic homosexuality.


Retro-projection

Julian Jaynes argued in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind that Homeric Greeks were, psychologically, vastly different from historical Greeks. Semitic cultures were even more different. In the online edition of my Quetzalcoatl I refrained to reproduce this image for the simple reason that it would have meant retro-projection.

In the image we see women, presumably the mothers, trying to rescue their children from a propitiatory child sacrifice to Moloch Baal. The disturbing truth is that, in real life, the parents themselves handed over their crying children to the assistants of the priest, hence the inflammatory sentence with which I ended my Quetzalcoatl (“In the final book of this work I’ll go back to my autobiography, and we shall see if after such grim findings mankind has the right to exist”).

In Hollywood such sort of retroprojections are ubiquitous in movies about the historical past. For instance, Australia, a pro-aboriginals film set before the Second World War, had an upset Nicole Kidman telling another white person, “No mother would leave her child!” when in real life, as recounted in my Quetzalcoatl, quite a few Australian abbos not only abandoned some of their babies, but killed and ate them (for scholarly references supporting this claim see the final sentence of this entry).


Psycho-classes

By “retroprojection” I mean projecting one’s own morals and frame of mind onto the Radical Other, insofar as most people are unaware of the existence of “psychoclasses.”

Westerners, and incredibly, child abuse researchers included, have not awakened to the fact that there have been very dissimilar psychoclasses or ways of childrearing in the world; and that this has had enormous implications for the mental health of a people, primitive or modern. For example, in my Quetzalcoatl I said that Rhea hid Zeus and presented a stone wrapped in strips, which Cronus took as a swaddled baby and ate it. Cronus represents the pre-Homeric Greeks, the archaic Hellas. After the breakdown of the bicameral, or schizoid mind, historical Greeks considered barbarous the practice of child sacrifice, symbolized in Zeus’ successful rebellion against his filicidal father. Though they still practiced the exposure of unwanted babies, the historical Greeks at least stopped sacrificing them in horrible ways: a practice that their neighbors continued. Nonetheless, if films on both Homeric and post-Homeric Greeks were historically accurate, the exposure of babies, which was practiced on a gigantic scale even in Roman times, would be visually depicted.

Recently I saw two films that I had not watched for a long time. In the 1959 Hollywood interpretation of Ben-Hur starring Charlton Heston, Tiberius’ Rome and Jerusalem are idealized far beyond what those cities looked like in the times of Jesus. Think of how, to impress the audience with the grandeur of the Roman circus in a Hollywoodesque Palestine, for the chariot race sequence the director made it look as large as Constantinople’s circus! Conversely, in Fellini’s 1969 Satyricon, freely based on Petronius’ classic, the Roman Empire is oneirically caricaturized to the point that the film’s extreme grotesqueries bear no visual relationship whatsoever to the empire of historical time. Both extreme idealization and oneiric caricature constitute artistic ways to understand the soul of Rome. One may think that an Aristotelian golden mean may lie somewhere between Ben-Hur and Fellini-Satyricon, but not even in HBO’s Rome, a purportedly realistic TV series that claimed paying more attention to historical women, dared to show that such women abandoned their babies who died on the hills, roads and the next day were found under the frozen streets: a custom approved even by Plato and Aristotle.

Growing in a “late infanticidal” culture, to use Lloyd deMause’s term, makes members of that psychoclass greatly different compared to our modern western psychoclass. (One could easily imagine what a shock for the modern mind would represent the spectacle of white babies dying on the streets of Vermont, Bonn or Florence with nobody bothering to rescue them.) So different that I believe that the hostile takeover I do of deMause’s Psychohistory to deliver it to the nationalist community will revolutionize the understanding of history once it is properly digested and understood.

In my Quetzalcoatl I quoted psychohistorian Henry Ebel (no ellipsis added between unquoted sentences):

DeMause’s argument had a breathtaking sweep and grandeur such as we associate with the work of Hegel, Darwin and Marx. Moreover, it seemed to be a valid response and interpretation of a series of gruesome facts that had been consistently understated or suppressed by conventional historians. “The Evolution of Childhood” has proved a morsel too large, too complete, too assertive, and in many ways too grim for the historical profession to digest. Since adult styles and roles, including the academic and professional, are mainly denial-systems erected against those early needs and terrors, the academic consideration of deMause’s argument has been, understandably enough, of less than earthshaking intelligence.

Once we integrate Psychohistory to our view of history, it is easy to notice that when Greg Johnson talks of Greco-Roman homosexuality he does it retroprojectively, as if it was similar to the mores of today’s world: consenting sex between adults. But if Jaynes and deMause are right, the peoples of the classical world inhabited an altogether distinct psychic universe, especially before Solon. So different that sometimes I even wonder if Francis Parker Yockey has a valid point when he wrote that the Italian Renaissance is sold as a link between two cultures that, according to him, have nothing in common.


The real Greco-Roman homosexuality: pederasty

A splendid example of such discontinuity is what André Gide called normal pederasty, the ancients’ infatuation for adolescents. Keep in mind that Gide did not condemn such customs. On the contrary, he considered his Corydon, published in 1924 and which received widespread condemnation, his most important work. However, since I can only understand the geist of a culture through the visual arts, before quoting Gide let me convey visually what “homo”-sexuality signified for the classical world through a couple of scenes of the Italian movie Satyricon:

Cinematic experiences aside, what are scholars saying about what I call pseudo-homosexuality: pederasty (which must never be confused with pedophilia)? In the introduction to On Homosexuality: Lysis, Phaedrus, and Symposium, published by Prometheus Books, Eugene O’Connor wrote (again, no ellipsis added):

Benjamin Jowett’s introduction to his translation of Plato’s Symposium expresses prevalent Victorian, Edwardian, and even later attitudes, particularly in England and America, toward Greek homosexuality. Some excerpts from the introduction will illustrate this “clash of cultures.” Since Jowett’s day much has been done to counter and correct this willful distortion of ancient sexuality. We may now consult, for example, the more sober appraisals of K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (1978), and Saara Lilja, Homosexuality in Republican and Augustan Rome (1983) to help us redress the oversights of earlier scholarship.

The composition of [Plato’s] Symposium owes much to the Greek tradition of “banquet literature,” often a collection of informal discussions (in prose or verse) on various topics, including the power of love and the delights of young men and boys. Indeed, a whole body of homoerotic literature grew up around the themes of male beauty and how one ought to woo and win a boy.

The customary social pattern was this: a boy in his teens or, at any rate, a younger man (called an eromenos, or “beloved”) was sought out by an older male (called an erastes or “lover”), who might be already married. Women in classical Athens were kept in virtual seclusion from everyone but their immediate families and their domestic activities were relegated to certain “female” parts of the house. As a consequence, boys and young men—partly by virtue of their being seen, whether in the gymnasium, in the streets, or at a sacrifice (as in the Lysis)—became natural love-objects.

Strict rules of conduct bound both parties: adult males could face prosecution for seducing free-born youths, while Athenian boys and young men could be censured for soliciting sexual favors for money. That would make them in effect equal to courtesans, who were hired companions and lacked citizen status.

This erastes-eromenos (lover-beloved) relationship, although it was sexual and in many ways comparable to typical, male-female relations, with the man assuming the dominant role, was meant ideally to be an educative one. The older man instilled in the younger—in essence, “made him pregnant with”—a respect for the requisite masculine virtues of courage and honor.

Socrates in the Phaedrus describes how the soul of the pederast (literally, “a lover of youths”) who is blessed with philosophy will grow wings after a certain cycle of reincarnations. In recent centuries, the word “pederast” has come to be viewed with opprobrium, fit only to describe child molesters. But in ancient Greece the word carried no such negative connotation, and was employed in a very different context.

Surrounded as he often was by the brightest young men of Athens, Socrates jokingly compared himself, in Xenophon’s Symposium, to a pander or procurer. These are witty, humorous characterizations of Socrates to be sure; yet, in the end, Socrates was the best erastes of all; the loving adult male teacher who sought to lead his aristocratic eromenoi (male beloveds) on the road to virtue.

I have read Xenophon’s Symposium and on chapter VIII it does look like Socrates and others had intense crushes with the eromenoi.

In his Corydon Gide shares the Platonic view that what he calls “normal pederasty” (to distinguish it from child molestation) is a propitious state of the mind to shed light on truth and beauty. In the last pages of his slim book Gide concludes: “I believe that such a lover will jealously watch over him, protect him, and himself exalted, purified by this love, will guide him toward those radiant heights which are not reached without love.” In the very final page Gide adds that “From thirteen to twenty-two (to take the age suggested by La Bruyere) is for the Greeks the age of loving friendship, of shared exaltation, of the noblest emulation,” and that only after this age the youth “wants to be a man”: marrying a woman.

But not only I need visuals to properly understand a culture. Narrative is fundamental too as a way to get into the unfathomed deeps of a bygone world. Below, a tale recounted by an old poet, Eumolpus in the first long novel that Western literature knows, Petronius’ Satyricon:

[I moved the hilarious, though rather long, quotation of the Satyricon (that originally appeared complete in “Gitone’s magic”) as an isolated quote in still another of my blogs: here]

However, the erastes-eromenos relationship was not always as hilariously picaresque as Petronius depicts it. In my previous response to Johnson, when I added the image of a terracotta statuette of Zeus carrying off Ganymede, I included no references. Here I’ll add a couple of them. In the academic work that O’Connor mentioned above, Greek Homosexuality, K.J. Dover writes:

Ephoros, writing in the mid-fourth century, gives a remarkable account (F149) of ritualised homosexual rape in Crete. The erastes gave notice of his intention, and the family and friends of the eromenos did not attempt to hide the boy away, for that would have been admission that he was not worthy of the honour offered him by the erastes. If they believed that the erastes was unworthy, they prevented the rape by force; otherwise they put a good-humoured and half-hearted resistance, which ended with the erastes carrying off the eromenos to a hide-out for two months.

At the end of that period the two of them returned to the city (the eromenos was known, during the relationship, as parastatheis, ‘posted beside…’ or ‘brought over to the side of…’) and the erastes gave the eromenos expensive presents, including clothing which would thereafter testify to the achievement of the eromenos in being chosen; he was kleinos, ‘celebrated’, thanks to his philetor, ‘lover’. [p. 189]

John Boswell, a homosexual professor at YaleUniversity who died at forty-seven of complications from AIDS, specialized in the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity. For this reason alone it is interesting to compare his claims with James O’Meara’s on exactly the same subject. Boswell abstains to mention the word “rape” which Dover unabashedly used in his treatise published by Harvard University. But in Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe Boswell describes in less academic, and more colorful, language the legal arrangements regarding such abductions:

Apart from the abduction aspect, this practice has all the elements of European marriage tradition: witness, gifts, religious sacrifice, a public banquet, a chalice, a ritual change of clothing for one partner, a change of status for both, even a honeymoon.

The abduction is less remarkable, by the standards of the times, that it seems. The ruler of the gods, Zeus, mandated a permanent relationship with a beautiful Trojan prince, Ganymede, after abducting him and carrying him off to heaven; they were the most famous same-sex couple of the ancient world, familiar to all its educated residents. Zeus even gave Ganymede’s father a gift—the equivalent of a dower or “morning gift”. The inhabitants of Chalcis honored what they believed to be the very spot of Ganymede’s abduction, called Harpagion (“Place of Abduction”). Moreover, as late as Boccaccio (Decameron, Day 5, Tale 1) an abduction marriage that takes place seems to find its most natural home in Crete.

Heterosexual abduction marriage was also extremely common in the ancient world—especially in the neighboring state of Sparta, with which Crete shared its constitution and much of its social organization, where it was the normal mode of heterosexual marriage. It remained frequent well into modern times, and even under Christian influence men who abducted women were often only constrained to marry them, and not punished in any other way. In a society where women were regarded as property and their sexuality their major asset, by the time an abducted woman was returned most of her value was gone, and the more public attention was focused on the matter the less likely it was she would ever find a husband. And in a moral universe where the abduction of Helen (and of the Sabine women) provided the foundation myths of the greatest contemporary political entities, such an act was as likely to seem heroic as disreputable. The Erotic Discourses attributed to Plutarch begin with stories of abduction for love, both heterosexual and homosexual. [pp. 91-93]

This last sentence about the foundation myths of both the ancient Hellas and Rome is absolutely central to understand their moral universe. However, Boswell omits to say that Zeus would be considered a bisexual god with strong heterosexual preferences—Hera and many other consorts—according to current standards, in no way a “gay” god.

Furthermore, unlike the same-sex unions of today, the erastes-eromenos relationship wasn’t meant to be permanent. The continuance of an erotic relationship was disapproved. In dramatic contrast to contemporary “gay marriages” and the myth promulgated by O’Meara at Counter-Currents, romantic relationships between adult coevals were disrespected. In fact, the former eromenos might well become an erastes himself with a younger youth when he got older. Boswell, who strove to use classic scholarship to support the so-called “gay marriage” of our times, overstates his case in other passages of Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. What struck me the most of his study was that on page 66 he misled the readers by claiming that the Satyricon protagonists, Encolpius and Gitone, are simply a same-sex couple. I have read a couple of translations of the Satyricon and it is all too clear that Boswell omitted two fundamental facts: Gitone’s age, an underage teen for today’s standards, and another lover of Gitone, Ascyltus (who also appears in my embedded YouTube clip way above).

Discussion

Classic pederasty did not resemble what currently is called the “gay movement,” let alone O’Meara’s preposterous claim that homosexuals have represented a sort of Western elite, in some ways superior to the bourgeoisie of the Christian world. The causes of pederasty are to be found not only in what O’Connor said above: women being kept in seclusion and men transferring their affections to younger boys. More serious was something that neither O’Connor nor Dover or Boswell dared to say: Infanticidal Greece and Rome produced a surplus of males as a result of the exposure of babies, especially baby girls. As I said in my Quetzalcoatl, it was not until 374 AD that the emperor Valentinian I, a Christian, mandated to rear all children. Again, what “gay” apologists like Johnson and O’Meara fail to understand is that that was a psychoclass distinct from our own, since for modern westerners it is unthinkable to expose baby girls.

In a nutshell, the Greco-Roman erastes-eromenos institution was not “gay” in the modern sense of the word; O’Meara and Johnson are just wrong.

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As a former James O’ Meara fan, allow me to make a few comments about the content of his work and writing style.

    First off, he’s exceedingly literate which could explain his popularity at Counter Currents. CC values articulation over quality when it comes to homosexuals and other marginals. Weaving verbal tapestries of masculine Western men and current “cultural” references is his talent.

    James uses the Mannerbund (a legitimate concept) to further acceptance of disgusting figures like William S. Burroughs. Homosexuality is snidely attached to otherwise solid essays on Julius Evola’s Traditionalism. Another classic trick works like this: find a masculine historical figure, accept gossip about their sexuality, and use this as proof that homosexuals constitute some elite.

    The self-styles “Wild Boy” makes some relevant points about the need for an anti-bourgeois, martial Western Elite. So does everyone else. Counter Currents publishes a text entitled “Revolution From Above” by Kerry Bolton. Ironically a duo (possibly trio?) of homosexuals are attempting this with Counter Currents.

    I’m fairly tolerant of homosexuals that keep quiet and don’t frustrate efforts to form the White Republic. If an afterlife exists I await the chance to watch James O’ Meara be rebuked by every teacher whose ideals he subverted.

    • It is true that James overstates his case. But what concerns me is his editor.

      Johnson has said that when he was asked to be editor of The Occidental Quarterly, he accepted on the condition that homosexuality would not be criticized under his watch.

      Johnson does not admit either serious criticism of James’ articles now that he’s editor of Counter Currents. (The post advertising James’ book for instance admitted no comments.)

      Like Ned May (“Baron Bodissey”) at Gates of Vienna, a gentile who has Jews as a protected minority in his blog, Johnson has a protected minority too: homos.

      And just as May is not honest when Fjordman stated at Gates of Vienna that only Jews or half-Jews like Larry Auster and Takuan Seiyo can criticize Jews objectively (because when I linked to the Jew Albert Lindemann’s  treatise they still shunned me), so Johnson shunned even respectful criticism when I used the above-mentioned homo authors, Dover and Boswell, to rebut Counter-Currents’ stance on homosexualism when I sent him a link to my “Gitone’s magic” earlier this year.

      Johnson’s attitude gives me the impression that, just as Ned May places Jewish interests above white interests, so Johnson places homo interests above our interests. And what is worse: Johnson recently published another James article bashing 1950s family values (exactly what we’ll need in the ethnostate—cf. the work of Roger Devlin, also at Counter-Currents).

      Johnson and May are liberals in this sense. Real traditionalists would allow, with no censorship, criticism of both the homo movement and criticism of Jewry. When my grandma was young it would have been unthinkable to tolerate editors in our societies that forbade these topics. How much has the culture changed! These people are not traditionalists at all, although Johnson likes to republish the articles of traditional authors who died long ago.

      Johnson has just received more than 40 grand in donations for this year. With that money I’d do a better job insofar as, unlike he and Ned May, I’m not attached to neocon, liberal or lefty ideas. I’d do a better job in spite of the fact that English is not my native language, and that I discovered white nationalism in 2009.

      • Excellent input, Chechar!

      • Great job!

        IFA

      • Thanks. I wish Johnson allowed at least respectful criticism of his editorial policies regarding homosexualism, as those in the above piece, but I doubt he will…

    • Excellent presentation. You are absolutely right.

      It is interesting, but the fact is, that those who ‘claim’ to be White Nationalists, and especially when they are, in fact, intelligent and articulate, is something that was bound to happen. In the 60’s this happened as well with Rockwell, and the hanger’s on who were drawn to what was happening, no matter their real agenda. Then, of course, you have your provocateurs and government involvement to saturate, and disseminate falsehoods, thereby misdirecting the ‘true believers’ and followers.

      I watched in amazement, as money poured in. Why did it? To date, there is not any as good in the marketing end, as GJ and his associates – no one can hold this against them. The other side to this phenomenon, is that while everyone was seeing something strange, there are enough ‘good’ writers, to make the Site an asset to our folk-community. Whether the ‘homo’ element is, in fact, the very source of CC, remains to be seen.

      I still have links to this site, and will continue, even if only to highlight those individuals that I honestly believe are doing something good, for now as well as the long-term.

      White Nationalism is bigger than any one man, or small group of men, but we must carefully, and at every opportunity, bring those who would derail, or defame us, to account.

      Good luck.

      • Johan: Your blog merits attention. When I find some time I’ll take a more serious look at it.

        It’s different that a Rockwell fan was accused of homosexuality that a well-known CC writer boasts transvestite behavior openly and out of his closet. If these guys were more discreet I’d not have bothered with these articles.

        Keep your link to CC. But also keep in mind that, just as quite a few nationalist sites, these are flawed people too.

  2. Interestingly, I have rarely heard of the male-female imbalance in the classical world, which goes a long way to explaining that behavior. Still, it’s incredibly difficult to understand that psychology. The idea that every young male had no real choice in becoming an eromenois is disturbing.

    Sometimes I wonder if particular authors have fiddled with the ancient texts (considering all we have are copies) in order to further an agenda.

    • The imbalance in the classical world is referenced in Lloyd deMause’s work.

      I am no expert on the subject but I gather that, obviously, not all adolescents had lovers in the classic world. My guess is that only some of them had. Dover’s is a Harvard published book with lots of scholarly references. Perhaps he read the originals in Greek.

      (My obvious objective in quoting these guys is to refute Counter-Currents’ homophilia.)

      • “…lots of scholarly references. Perhaps he read the originals in Greek.”

        I may be wrong but I don’t think any of Plato, Aristotle etc exists in its original form post medieval times. That is, all their works were transcribed/rewritten by the monk/scholastic system in the 15th/16th Century. Just a couple people in high places (with an agenda) could easily have ‘adjusted’ these writings.

        I don’t necessarily subscribe to Fomenko Chronology but it does present a host of important information.

  3. Symposium must be read within a certain context. First, one should understand the order of the speakers, the arguments they present, along with their intent. We must ask ourselves why Plato has certain characters speak certain arguments, and why the particular order of presentation (to include the deliberate substitution between the physician or artificer Eryximachus, and the comic poet Aristophanes)? These are not trivial questions.

    The arguments over Eros range from a rather self-serving eroticism (Phaedrus), based on overcoming shame and promoting hubris, to the higher spiritual love of wisdom and beauty (Socrates). This natural hierarchy explains the telos, or the end of Eros, which should be the end of man, and is contrasted aptly by Eryximachus’ distinction between the base and vulgar muse, Polyhymnia, with her heavenly (transcendent) sister, Urania.

    And it is very instructive to understand that the highest manifestation of Eros is explicated within Socrates’ speech. In order to approach his speech, a discourse on the highest form of love, we must consider the characters, and who teaches whom. The young Socrates learns from a “woman wise in this and many other kinds of knowledge.” Socrates was in fact schooled by a priestess of Zeus. Why Plato would choose a woman to initiate the philosopher into the highest form of love is a question we ought to consider closely, especially in the context of pederasty, and the question of a larger homosexuality.

    The true nature of Eros is presented as the daemon of desire–neither god nor man, but an in-between, a striving for wisdom and truth, or divine knowledge–again, the end, or final cause of man. Also, immortality, through generation, which can only manifest within heterosexual love.

    When Dionysus finally arrives (in the form of the hapless lover, Alcibiades), the god must necessarily crown Socrates the winner of the speaking contest, while at the same time angrily berating him for refusing drunken, homosexual intercourse.

    We can also mention this in the context Plato’s discussion of homosexuality in his Laws, through the words of the Athenian stranger.

    From a practical standpoint, the question that must be asked today is what social benefit is gained by open displays and pubic support of homosexuality as one of many competing equal “alternative” lifestyles? The goal of liberal society is to somehow discover, or if it cannot be discovered, then to simply arbitrarily decide, that homosexuality is both natural and normal in the psychological sense, equal in right in a political sense, and socially compatible (or even beneficial) within the overall context of civil society.

    But these arguments can never be supported, because homosexuals are not normal, psychologically. Politically, homosexuals are really looking for spoils, and their general unchecked behavior within civil society undermines the very order that offers a normal citizen the possibility to progress toward his natural end. One need only view a “gay rights” parade in any large city to understand the end of homosexuality, and what they are up to. In fine, unchecked homosexuality is a grotesque freak show.

    • …and how could James & Greg being taken seriously among us —they, who live in cities of grotesque freak shows and purport to defend white interests (that to my mind can only mean heterosexual marriage)— is beyond me. James in particular seems to be an example of the ultraliberal type that Roger Devlin describes in “The revolt against marriage and childrearing.”

  4. Great work Chechar.

    I am pleased to have refrained from making a donation to CC, which I was on the verge of doing recently. The promulgation of homosexual elitism does nothing positive for the 14 Words, or WN in general, IMHO. My money is best employed elsewhere.

    • And tonight I am still debating Greg but this time at VNN forum: here.

      • Great response. The Jutes buried homosexuals in bogs; so much for reclaiming the “pagan West”…

      • And now the first part of today’s Jim Giles’ show featutes Linder and Griffin talking about homos. Hilerious!

  5. Greg and James O are fags, are they not?

    They have nothing to add, why do you tolerate them?


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