The Classical Origins of Modern Homophobia


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SKU: 9780786423491 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

From government to literature to architecture, few fields in western culture are untouched by the influence of Ancient Greece and Rome. Even mores that may seem exclusively modern often have roots in the classical past. This book takes an in-depth look at the ancient roots of homophobia, including its Pythagorean origins and its eventual spread throughout the Roman Empire and, consequently, the rest of the world.
Originally, male homosexuality occupied something of an honorable position in ancient Greece. By the end of the Roman period several centuries later, this attitude had changed so radically that to be found guilty of homosexual actions was punishable by death. This work investigates how such a shift occurred and traces the various cultural forces that brought about almost universal homophobia throughout western societies. Beginning with the earliest documented instance of homophobia in the teachings of Pythagoras (who was surrounded by mystery even in ancient times), the author examines its proliferation through various disciplines, citing sources from political history, anthropology, religion, and psychology as well as the analysis of ancient texts. Through extensive historical research, he follows the concept from Greece to Macedonia and finally to Rome, examining relevant religious attitudes including those of Christianity and Judaism. Finally, he discusses the ways in which homophobia was solidified in the legal legacy of the Roman Empire. An extensive bibliography provides additional resources regarding classical influence on modern culture.

About the Author(s)

Robert H. Allen is an associate professor of English at Hiwassee College in the Unicoi Mountains of East Tennessee. He lives in Madisonville, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Robert H. Allen
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 237
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2349-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0643-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      3

1. Harmodios and Aristogeiton: The Political Lovers      5

2. Pythagorean Origins      21

3. Plato and the Tragedy of Greece      31

4. Macedonian Imperialism and the Hellenistic Age      46

5. The Hellenic Twilight      62

6. Roman Domination: The Origins of Modern Homophobia      87

7. Double Edged Homophobia: The Final Shape of the Classical Heritage      114

8. Christianity: The Triumph of Homophobia      148

9. The Birth of Modern Homophobia      168

Chapter Notes      191

Bibliography      217

Index      227