Grown men sought teenage lovers, just as they married teenage wives.The main difference was that the “gay marriage” could only take place with the beloved’s consent, while the girl was told by her father whom to marry and had to obey.
The documents gathered here are testimony to the power of love.
Where forbidden, it has prevailed over stonings, burnings, lobotomies, schoolyard homophobia, the gallows and the gaol.
Where openly welcomed, it has blossomed into the highest achievements of the human mind.
In warfare soldiers often fought side-by-side with their grown beloveds, as in the renowned Theban band; later, led by Alexander the Great and his boyfriend Hephaestion, the Greeks conquered the known world.
Greece, of course, was no Utopia: prostitution, often attended by slavery, was common, and parallel to the ethical culture in which young beloveds were treated with consideration and moderation, there ran an undercurrent seen by the Greeks as debauched, in which young citizens were paid for sex and subjected to practices seen as degrading, such as oral and anal penetration.