(Boylove Documentary Sourcebook) - A British Travel Account Regarding the Foiling of a Pederastic Sexual Encounter in Early 18th-Century Adrianople

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Adrianople (Edirne), Turkey. Late 17th century. Engraving by Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi.

From A Full and Just Account of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire in All Its Branches by Aaron Hill (London: John Mayo, 1709).

But now, O black and horrid Shame! I must with all the detestation of a Christian Zeal, descend to speak a shocking Truth, relating to the strange and curs’d Pollution of inverted Nature, that ancient hellish Crime, which ruin’d Sodom, and at present reigns among the Turks, with such libidinous extravagance, that they will publickly avow their countenanc’d delight in such a beastly and inhuman Practice.

They have their favourite Pooshts, or Catamites, as common as their Concubines, and ride attended to the Wars or distant Governments, by rich and splendid Numbers of these young Male Prostitutes.


Impunity for such unnatural and encroaching Guilt, emboldens their Presumption to so vast an height, that I remember with the greatest horror and amazement, an unexampled Impudence I was my self a witness of at Adrianople.

Sir Robert Sutton, now Embassador from Her Present Majesty to the Court of Constantinople, being just arriv’d in the abovenam’d City, where his Predecessor had some time expected him; it was my Duty to Congratulate his Entrance on that Dignity, which I did in company with many British Gentlemen at that time there: The House in which Sr. Robert lodg’d, was seated pleasantly upon a noble River, which runs along the City, and an open Kiosk or airy Summer House look’d out upon the Water.

We were standing here extreamly pleas’d with the delightful Prospect, when from the Plain upon the other side, we saw a Turk of middle Age and decent Habit, lead a Boy about Fourteen directly to the Bank which slop’d upon the River, where he thought himself securely shelter’d from the People of a Village not far distant.

Descended to a Place convenient as he thought for the execution of his Purpose, he began, to our surprise, and inexpressible confusion, to prepare himself and his consenting Catamite, for acting a Design so hateful to our sight, and such a stranger to our Customs, that we scarce believ’d our Eyes, when they beheld this Object: We hallow’d loudly to the lustful Wretch, who turn’d his Head with seeming wonder to perceive us there, but still persisted in his first Attempt, till snatching up a Fowling-piece, which lay by chance upon a Table in the Summer House, I cock’d it, and presented it against his Body, as if I would have shot him dead immediately; at this he started, and adjusting the disorder of his loosned Dress, retir’d precipitately, with a thousand Curses on the House and Company, for having baulk’d so impious an Intention.

Köçek (dancing boy). Engraving, 19th century.

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