Historical boylove relationships in ancient Greece

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Ancient Greece

Puce 9x9 gr.png Alcibiades Puce 9x9 gr.png Ancient Greece Puce 9x9 gr.png Athenian pederasty Puce 9x9 gr.png Archias of Corinth Puce 9x9 gr.png Cretan pederasty Puce 9x9 gr.png Ephebophilia Puce 9x9 gr.png Erastes Puce 9x9 gr.png Eromenos Puce 9x9 gr.png Greek love Puce 9x9 gr.png Greek terms applied to pederastia Puce 9x9 gr.png Gyges of Lydia Puce 9x9 gr.png Harmodius and Aristogeiton Puce 9x9 gr.png Herodotus Puce 9x9 gr.png Historical boylove relationships in ancient Greece Puce 9x9 gr.png Palaestra Puce 9x9 gr.png Pederasty Puce 9x9 gr.png Pederasty in ancient Greece Puce 9x9 gr.png Philolaus Puce 9x9 gr.png Philosophy of ancient Greek pederasty Puce 9x9 gr.png Spartan pederasty Puce 9x9 gr.png Symposium Puce 9x9 gr.png Theban pederasty Puce 9x9 gr.png The Exquisite Corpse of Ganymede by Andrew Calimach Puce 9x9 gr.png Trochus/Hoop

Gods and mythology

Puce 9x9 gr.png Apollo Puce 9x9 gr.png Cyparissus Puce 9x9 gr.png Dionysus Puce 9x9 gr.png Eros Puce 9x9 gr.png Ganymede Puce 9x9 gr.png Hyacinth Puce 9x9 gr.png Orpheus Puce 9x9 gr.png Zephyrus
Puce 9x9 gr.png Zeus

Ancient Rome

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Boylove in the middle ages

Puce 9x9 gr.png Boylove in the middle ages Puce 9x9 gr.png Pederastic relationships in history - Post-antiquity to present Puce 9x9 gr.png Pederasty in the Renaissance

Boylove in modern times

Puce 9x9 gr.png Boylove in modern times Puce 9x9 gr.png Historical boylove relationships in modern times Puce 9x9 gr.png Pederastic relationships in history - Post-antiquity to present Puce 9x9 gr.png Pederasty in the modern world


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References material

Puce 9x9 gr.png A Problem in Greek Ethics (book) Puce 9x9 gr.png Erastes Puce 9x9 gr.png Eromenos Puce 9x9 gr.png Krater Puce 9x9 gr.png Kylix Puce 9x9 gr.png Lovers' Legends: The Gay Greek Myths (book) Puce 9x9 gr.png Paidika Puce 9x9 gr.png Reading list category ancient Greece


Portal:History E

In classical antiquity there were many known pederastic relationships between adult men and adolescent boys. In some of these cases both members became well-known historical figures, while in others, only one of the two may have.

Though all such relationships were by definition homoerotic in nature, the individuals involved did not identify themselves as homosexuals, but rather as ordinary men having ordinary desires. The nature of the relationships ranged from overtly sexual to what is now referred to as platonic, in accordance with ancient ethical and philosophical standards.[1]

In the following list the couples are listed in chronological order, and the name of the older partner precedes that of the younger. Though many more men are known to have engaged in such relationships, only those instances in which the name of the younger partner is known are included. In keeping with ancient traditions which promoted chaste pederastic relationships (See: Greek love) included below are also relationships in which there is evidence of an erotic component even in the absence of actual sexual relations.

Ancient Greece

Archaic period in Greece

  • Solon and Peisistratus
  • The law giver was the erastes of the future tyrant, presumably around 590 BCE.[2] Aristotle, however, claims that the story is "mere gossip" and cannot possibly be true due to their relative ages.[3]
  • Peisistratus and Charmus
  • Later in life, Charmus would give his daughter, Myrrhina, in marriage to Hippias, his old erastes' son.[4]
  • Chariton of Agrigentum and Melanippus
  • The two lovers plotted against Phalaris around 560 BCE. Chariton was discovered and tortured to divulge accomplices, but remained silent. Melanippus, to save his friend, presented himself and freely confessed. The tyrant, impressed, set both free, but sent them into exile. Their valor and love were celebrated in a Delphic oracle:
Blessed were Chariton and Melanippus:
They showed mortals the way to a friendship that was divine.[5]
  • Charmus and Hippias
  • After having been the eromenos of the father, Charmus, by now a polemarch, became the erastes of the son, who later also became his son-in-law. In Charmus' honor, a statue of Eros was erected, either by Pisistratus or Hippias, before the entrance of the Akademia, where the runners in the sacred torch race lit their torches. The inscription claimed that Charmus had been the first to dedicate to love,
Eros of many devices, Charmus built you this altar
Among the shady boundaries of the gymnasium.[6]
  • Prokleides and Hipparchus
  • Prokleides, an important citizen, as behooves the erastes of a ruler's son, also is known for setting up the Hermes Trikephalos, a three-headed road-marker statue, on the Hestia Road.[7]
  • Theognis of Megara and Cyrnus
  • The poet, thought to have lived in the sixth c. BCE, addressed many of his poems to his young beloved, using them to pass on his wisdom to the boy.[8]
  • Polycrates and Smerdies
  • The love of the tyrant of Samos for his Thracian favorite, some time between 535 and 515, was recorded by the poet Anacreon.[9]
  • Anacreon and Bathyllus
  • Legend has it that while in Samos, Anacreon competed with the tyrant for the love of another beautiful boy, Bathyllus, who is considered the most famous of his beloveds, and whom he celebrated in his poems, such as the following one:
O boy, with virgin-glancing eye,

I call thee, but thou dost not hear;
Thou know'st not how my soul doth cry

For thee, its charioteer.[10] [11]
  • Anacreon and Critias
  • Hipparchus invited Anacreon to Athens after the death of Polycrates. There Anacreon took an eromenos, in whose house he lived, and who, in a reversal of the usual roles, wrote love poetry to his erastes. It is not certain which Critias this is, though it has been proposed that it is the same as the eponymous archon.[12][13]
  • Heroic couple, later lionized by the Athenian democrats, whose 514 BCE plot to assassinate Hippias in was credited with the overthrow of tyranny in Athens.[14]

Classical Greece

  • Parmenides of Elea and Zeno of Elea
  • According to Plato, Zeno was "tall and fair to look upon" and was "in the days of his youth . . . reported to have been beloved by Parmenides."[15] This would have occurred around 475 BCE.
  • Hiero I of Syracuse and Daelochus
  • Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse surrounded himself with pederastic intellectuals and had a number of lovers. Around 470 BCE, on being challenged by Simonides on the ethics of being a pederast while a tyrant, he replied: "My passion for Daelochus arises from the fact that human nature perhaps compels us to want from the beautiful, but I have a very strong desire to attain the object of my passion [only] with his love and consent."[16]
  • Antileon and Hipparinos
  • Natives of Herakleia, near Metapontum, the two were famed as tyrant killers in the style of Harmodius and Aristogiton. After the tyrant of Herakleia accosted Hipparinos, Antileon assassinated him, but paid with his life.[17][18]
  • Archelaus and Socrates
  • The older philosopher loved the younger when the latter was seventeen.[19][20] [21]
  • Phidias and Agoracritus
  • The youth, both beloved and student of the sculptor, is also known for his sculpture of Nemesis at Rhamnus.[22]
  • Phidias and Pantarkes
  • Pantarkes, was an Elian youth and winner of the boys' wrestling match at the 86th Olympics in 436 BCE. He modeled for one of the figures sculpted in the throne of the Olympian Zeus, and Phidias, to honor him, carved "Kalos Pantarkes" into the god's little finger.[23][24][25]
  • Empedocles and Pausanias
  • Pausanias was both friend and student of the philosopher.[26]
  • Each is said to have saved the life of the other in battle, and the relationship, which took place around 435-430 was said to have been chaste.[27]
  • Critias and Euthydemos
  • A relationship mocked by Socrates for the brutish physicality of Critias' desire.
  • Xenophon and Clinias
  • Of his eromenos, Xenophon said, "Now I look upon Clinias with more pleasure than upon all the other beautiful things which are to be seen among men; and I would rather be blind as to all the rest of the world, than as to Clinias. And I am annoyed even with night and with sleep, because then I do not see him; but I am very grateful to the sun and to daylight, because they show Clinias to me."[28]
  • Callias III and Autolycus
  • The relationship between the two, in 421 BCE, is touched upon in Xenophon's Symposium, where Callias entertains both the boy and the father.[29]
  • Themistocles and Stesilaus of Ceos
  • Around 420 BCE Themistocles competed for the boy's love with Aristides. As Plutarch recounts, "... they were rivals for the affection of the beautiful Stesilaus of Ceos, and were passionate beyond all moderation."[30]
  • Pytheas and Teisis
  • Pytheas, who was also the guardian of the youth, appointed to that position by Teisis' father in his will, is held up as being an unwise erastes, concerned with impressing his eromenos and as a result giving him bad advice.[31]
  • Archedemus and Alcibiades II
  • In his childhood, Alcibiades II, son of the famous general by the same name, was notorious for frequenting the house of his erastes, drinking, and reclining with him under a single cloak in sight of all.[32]
  • Archebiades and Alcibiades II
  • After the death of the older Alcibiades, his old associate and co-defendant in the desecration of the Eleusinian mysteries, became the erastes of his son, then in his early teens, ransoming him from imprisonment, a ransom the boy's father had refused to pay, out of disgust with his own son.[33]
  • Lysander and Agesilaus II
  • Lysander had been the eispnelas of Agesilaus and was instrumental in the latter's rise to kingship, only to be spurned by him once he rose to power in 399BCE.
  • Archidamus and Cleonymus
  • Archidamus, son of Agesilaus II, is described by Xenophon to have been in love with the handsome son of Sphodrias. The boy asked his eispnelas to intervene with the king in favor of his father in a life and death legal matter, promising that Archidamus would never be ashamed to have befriended him. That proved to be so, as he was the first Spartan to die at the battle of Leuctra.[34]
  • Ariaeus and Menon the Thessalian
  • Menon, a commander of Greek mercenaries in Cyrus the Younger's army who had received his commission on account of his youthful beauty, took Ariaeus, a Persian, as his lover. The matter was badly seen, as it was deemed especially base to submit sexually to a barbarian.[35][36]
  • Artaxerxes II of Persia and Tiridates
  • The Persian king, distraught at the death of his beloved eunuch, found consolation in placing the dead youth's cloak over the shoulders of Aspasia, his Greek hetaira.[37]
  • Archelaus I of Macedon and Craterus (or Crateuas)
  • The king of Macedon was assassinated in 399 BCE by this eromenos, upon reneging on a promise to give the boy his daughter in marriage.[38]
  • Aristippus of Cyrene and Euthychides
  • The youth was a slave of the philosopher, compared by him with the students of Socrates.[39]
  • Agesilaus II and Megabates
  • By taking on the Perisan boy as beloved, the king of Sparta was following Spartan law.

The group below (indented) consists of relationships revealed during the course of Aeschines' speech (ca. 345) to the court bringing suit against the politician Timarchus so as to deprive him of his political rights for having behaved like a prostitute in his adolescence. They occurred around 375, except the first two, presumably about ten to fifteen years earlier. [40]

Diopeithes of Sounion, and Hegesandros of Sounion
  • Diopeithes, besides being the judge before whom Pittalakos (see below) brought his suit, had also been an erastes of Hegesandros. Not surprisingly, he stalled the suit until it was withdrawn.
  • Leodamas and Hegesandros
  • During his testimony, Hegesandros indicated that he previously had been in a similar relationship with Leodamas. Hegesandros himself is accused of having prostituted himself in his youth, and of having misbehaved sexually with Leodamas.
  • Misgolas, son of Naukrates of the demeof Kollytos, and Timarchus
  • Timarchus is accused not only of having sold his services, but of submitting to anal penetration, particularly shameful behavior at the time.
  • Antikles, son of Kallias of the deme Euonymon, and Timarchus
  • As Antikles was away at the time of the trial no further information was presented by Aeschines.
  • Pittalakos and Timarchus
  • As Pittalakos was a public slave, Timarchus incurred even greater shame for his sexual submission and penetration.
  • Hegesandros, son of Diphilos of Steiria, and Timarchus
  • Hegesandros, having accumulated great wealth on a military campaign, bribed Timarchus away from Pittalakos, causing the latter great jealousy. As he was making a nuisance of himself Hegesandros and Timarchus beat him up, to which he responded with a lawsuit against both.

  • Epaminondas and Micythus[41]
  • Epaminondas and Asopichos
  • A couple famed for their military prowess, such as in their victory at Leuctra in 371 BCE.[42]
  • Epaminondas and Caphisodorus
  • Caphisodorus was his last lover. He fell with Epaminondas iin 362 at Mantineia and was buried by his side. [43].
  • Demosthenes and Cnosion
  • After the orator took in his young beloved, his wife is said to have bedded the boy in a fit of jealousy,[44] though Aeschines claims that it was Demosthenes who put his own wife in bed with the youth so as to get children by him.[45]
  • Demosthenes and Aristarchus
  • Much of what is known about this relationship comes from the speeches of Demosthenes' enemy, Aeschines. He accuses Demosthenes of having been such a bad erastes to Aristarchus so as not even to deserve the name. Among his alleged crimes are his complicity in Aristarchus' murder of Nicodemus of Aphidna, whose eyes and tongue were gouged out. This murder took place while the youth was under Demosthenes' tutelage.[46] Another misdeed of Demosthenes, the one allegedly disqualifying him from calling himself an erastes, is his pillaging of Aristarchus' estate. He is alleged to have pretended being in love with the youth so as to get his hands on the boy's inheritance, which he is said to have squandered and from which he is said to have taken three talents upon Aristarchus' fleeing into exile so as to avoid a trial.[47]
  • Demosthenes and Aristion
  • Again, according to Aeschines, Demosthenes had the handsome youth in his house, engaged in unspeakable behavior: There is a certain Aristion, a Plataean..., who as a youth was oustandingly good-looking and lived for a long time in Demosthenes' house. Allegations about the part he was playing ('undergoing or doing what') there vary, and it would be most unseemly for me to talk about it.[48]
  • Philip II of Macedon and Pausanias
  • In 336 BCE Pausanias killed Philip out of jealousy over another lover.
  • Darius III of Persia and Bagoas
  • Bagoas was the favorite of Darius, who was said to have been "intimate" with him.[49]
  • Alexander the Great and Bagoas.
  • The two met in 330 BCE after the death of Bagoas' previous patron, Darius III.
  • Dimnus and Nichomachus
  • One of Alexander the Great's Hetairoi (or Companion Cavalry), Dimnus enlisted his eromenos in a plot to kill Alexander, revealing to him the names of the conspirators. The boy told his brother, who denounced them, leading to the trial and execution of the plotters, in 330.[50]
  • Aristotle and Palaephatus of Abydus
  • According to the Suda, Palaephatus was Aristotle's paidika. [51]

Hellenistic Greece

  • Demetrius Phalereus and Diognis
  • Between 317 BC and 307 BC, when he was despot of Athens, he had a boyfriend by the name of Diognis, of whom all the Athenian boys were jealous.[52]
  • Zeno of Citium and Persaeus
  • According to Diogenes Laërtius, the philosopher had Persaeus as his eromenos and lived with him in the same house.[53]
  • Demetrius I of Macedon and Cleaenetus
  • Known for his requent debauches, the Macedonian king waived a fine of 50 talents imposed on a citizen in exchange for the favors of Cleaenetus, that man's son.[54]
  • Hamilcar Barca and Hasdrubal the Fair
  • The Carthaginian Hasdrubal was noted for his beauty, first becoming the catamite of Hamilcar, and later his son-in-law.[55]
  • Xenares and Cleomenes III
  • Xenares inspired the future king before 235 BCE.[56]
  • Cleomenes III and Panteus.
  • According to Plutarch, Panteus was "the most beautiful and valorous youth of Sparta." Later he joined his inspirer in death - when Cleomenes took his own life upon being exiled to Egypt, Panteus, seeing that he could still knit his brows, "...kissed him and raised him. Holding the body next to him, he plunged his sword into his own breast." [57]
  • Ptolemy VI Philometor and Galestes
  • The king loved the boy not only for his good looks but also for his wisdom. Ca. 170-140 BCE [58]


  1. Hubbard, Thomas K. "Introduction" to Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. pg. 9.
  2. Plutarch, The Lives, "Solon"
  3. "It is evident from this that the story is mere gossip which states that Pisistratus was the youthful favourite of Solon" Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution Tr. Sir Frederic G. Kenyon
  4. Plutarch, The Lives, "Solon"
  5. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistai, 13.602
  6. Plutarch,Solon 1.7; Pausanias, 1.30.1; Athen., xiii. 609D
  7. Rommel Mendès-Leite et al. Gay Studies from the French Cultures p.157
  8. Ed. Thomas K. Hubbard, Homosexuality in Greece and Rome [1]
  9. Aelian, Varia Historia, 9.4
  10. Athenæus (bk. xiii.17)
  11. Edward Carpenter, Ioläus:An Anthology of Friendship[1917] p.72 [2]
  12. Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization; p.22
  13. Debra NailsThe People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics p.107
  14. Richard Hunter, Ed. Plato's Symposium (Oxford Approaches to Classical Literature) p.52
  15. Plato, Parmenides, 127
  16. Xenophon, Hiero, I.31-38
  17. Phanias of Eresus, Fr. 16 FHG
  18. Ed. Thomas K. Hubbard, Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents, p. 62 [3]
  19. Diogenes Laërtius, ii.
  20. Porphyrius
  21. Aristoxenus of Tarentum
  22. Pausanias, IX.34.1 "In the temple are bronze images of Itonian Athena and Zeus; the artist was Agoracritus, pupil and loved one of Pheidias." (...technê de Agorakritou, mathêtou te kai erômenou Pheidiou.)
  23. Plutarch, Erotikos;
  24. Pausanias, V.11.3. "The figure of one binding his own head with a ribbon is said to resemble in appearance Pantarces, a stripling of Elis said to have been the love of Pheidias. Pantarces too won the wrestling-bout for boys at the eighty-sixth Festival." (ton de hauton tainiai tên kephalên anadoumenon eoikenai to eidos Pantarkei legousi, meirakion de Êleion ton Pantarkê paidika einai tou Pheidiou: aneileto de kai en paisin ho Pantarkês palês nikên Olumpiadi hektêi pros tais ogdoêkonta.)
  25. Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus, 53, 4; "The Athenian Phidias inscribed on the finger of the Olympian Jove, Pantarkes is beautiful. It was not Zeus that was beautiful in his eyes, but the man he loved."
  26. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers Life of Empedocles
  27. Robert J. Littman, "The Loves of Alcibiades" in Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 101, 1970 (1970), pp. 263-276 "Socrates' and Alcibiades' relationship is very much connected to the role of pederasty in education in classical Greece..."
  28. Diogenes Laertius, LIFE OF XENOPHON
  29. Xenophon, Symposium
  30. Plutarch, The Lives, "Themistocles"
  31. Lysias, Against Teisis, Fr.17.2.1-2, in Hubbard, 2003, p.122
  32. Lysias, Against Alcibiades, I 25-27 in Hubbard, 2003, pp.122-23
  33. Lysias, Against Alcibiades, I 25-27 in Hubbard, 2003, pp.122-23
  34. Xenophon, Hellenica 5.4
  35. Xenophon, Anabasis; 2.6.29
  36. Robin Lane Fox, The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand p.198
  37. Aelian, Var. Hist. 12.1
  38. Aelian, Varia Historia, 8.9
  39. Diogenes Laërtius, ii.74
  40. Aeschines, Against Timarchos40-79
  41. Cornelius Nepos
  42. Atheneus, Deipnosophists, 605–606
  43. Plutarch, Dialogue on Love (Moralia 761)
  44. Athenaeus of Naucratis, The Deipnosophists Book XIII "Concerning Women"(Page III)
  45. Aeschines, On the Embassy, 2.149
  46. Aeschines, On the Embassy, 148-150
  47. Dover, J.K., op.cit. pp.46-47
  48. Aeschines, Against the Crown, iii 162
  49. Curtius, Historiae Alexandri Magni, vi. 5; x. 1
  50. Waldemar Heckel, Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great: Prosopography of Alexander's Empire p.112; Blackwell Publishing, 2006
  51. William George Smith,Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology p.308
  52. According to Carystius of Pergamum in F.H.G. Fr. 10, in Hubbard, 2003, p.75
  53. Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, vii.8,13
  54. Plutarch, Life of Demetrios
  55. Livy's History of Rome: Book 21.2
  56. John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics, X p.14
  57. John Addington Symonds, op.cit. X p.14
  58. Aelian, Varia Historia, I.30

See also



  • Louis Crompton. Homosexuality and Civilization, Cambridge, Mass. and London, 2003. ISBN 0-674-01197-X
  • Michel Larivière. Homosexuels et bisexuels célèbres, Delétraz Editions, 1997. ISBN 2-911110-19-6

Ancient Greece

  • Kenneth J. Dover. Greek Homosexuality, New York; Vintage Books, 1978. ISBN 0-394-74224-9
  • Thomas K. Hubbard. Homosexuality in Greece and Rome, U. of California Press, 2003. [6] ISBN 0-520-23430-8
  • Harald Patzer. Die Griechische Knabenliebe [Greek Pederasty], Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1982. In: Sitzungsberichte der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Vol. 19 No. 1.
  • Carola Reinsberg. Ehe, Hetärentum und Knabenliebe im antiken Griechenland, C.H.Beck Verlag, München 1993. ISBN 3-406-37374-7
  • Eva Cantarella, Cormac O Cuilleanain. Bisexuality in the Ancient World , Yale University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-300-04844-0
  • W. A. Percy III. Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece, University of Illinois Press, 1996. ISBN 0-252-02209-2