(Boylove Documentary Sourcebook) - An Excerpt from the 'Anabasis' by Xenophon

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Thálatta! Thálatta! (Greek: Θάλαττα! θάλαττα!; "The Sea! The Sea!"), from the Anabasis of Xenophon. 19th-century illustration, "The Return of the Ten Thousand under Xenophon". Greek mercenary forces (including Xenophon, who recorded the event) march home after their defeat at the Battle of Cunaxa in 401 B.C.

From Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents, edited by Thomas K. Hubbard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). Footnote omitted.

This work describes an expedition of 13,000 Greek mercenaries, in which Xenophon was a commander, assisting the younger Cyrus in a campaign to overthrow his older brother, the Persian king, and the further adventures of the mercenaries after Cyrus was killed (401–399 B.C.E.).


2.7 Xenophon, Anabasis 7.4.7–11

[7] There was a certain Episthenes from Olynthus, a boy-lover, who, seeing a beautiful boy, just at the beginning of adolescence, holding a light Thracian shield and about to be put to death, ran up to Xenophon and appealed to him to come to the rescue of a beautiful boy. [8] So Xenophon went to Seuthes and pleaded with him not to kill the boy; he also told him about Episthenes’ ways, how once he had put together a company thinking of nothing but whether they were beautiful, and how, fighting with them, he had shown himself a brave man. [9] But Seuthes replied by asking, “Episthenes, would you be willing to die in place of this boy?” So Episthenes stretched out his neck and said, “Strike, if the boy wishes and will be grateful to me.” [10] Seuthes then asked the boy if he should strike Episthenes instead of him. The boy would not allow it but pleaded with him to kill neither of them. Then Episthenes, throwing his arms around the boy, said, “The time has come, Seuthes, for you to fight for the boy with me; for I won’t give him up to you.” [11] But Seuthes laughed the matter off.

The Education of Achilles (Late 18th Century) by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson. Graphite drawing, 18.7 × 13.4 cm (Paris, France: École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts).

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