(BLSB) - The Heterogeneity of Pederastic Desire Concerning the Physical Traits of Young Male Beloveds, as Stated in a Passage from the 'Republic' by Plato

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Kneeling Boy. Archaic Greek ceramic aryballos, a vessel for perfume or oil, in the shape of a kneeling diadumenos, a victorious athlete binding a fillet around his head, ca. 540–530 B.C. Athens, Ancient Agora Museum, P 1231.


From Greek Homosexuality by K. J. Dover (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989). First published by Gerald Duckworth & Co. in England in 1978. Footnote omitted.

Socrates chaffs Glaukon, who as an erōtikos should remember (474de) that

when a man is a lover of boys and erōtikos, all those who are at the right age somehow or other get under his skin and turn him on; he thinks they’re all worth looking after and making a fuss of. Isn’t that how you behave to beautiful boys? If he’s got an upturned nose, you’ll call him ‘charming’ and sing his praises; if he’s got a hooked nose, you say he’s ‘aristocratic’ (lit., ‘kingly’), and of course, the one in between has exactly the right proportions. If they’re dark (lit., ‘black’), you say they look manly; if they’re fair (lit., ‘white’), they’re children of the gods. And do you think that the word ‘honey-yellow’ is anything but the endearment of an erastes who doesn’t mind a boy’s pallor, if he’s the right age?


Man Offers a Hare as Love Gift to Boy. Attic red-figure neck-amphora by the Matsch Painter, c. 490 B.C. Rome, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, 50462.

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