Pederasty (Richard F. Burton) — 3

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From Rome the practice extended far and wide to her colonies, especially the Provincia now called Provence. Athenæus (xii. 26) charges the people of Massilia with “acting like women out of luxury”; and he cites the saying, “May you sail to Massilia!” as if it were another Corinth. Indeed the whole Keltic race is charged with Le Vice by Aristotle (Pol. ii. 66), Strabo (iv. 199) and Diodorus Siculus (v. 32). Roman civilisation carried pederasty also to northern Africa, where it took firm root, while the negro and negroid races to the south ignore the erotic perversion, except where imported by foreigners into such kingdoms as Bornu and Haussa. In old Mauritania, now Morocco25, the Moors proper are notable sodomites; Moslems, even of saintly houses, are permitted openly to keep catamites, nor do their disciples think worse of their sanctity for such licence: in one case the English wife failed to banish from the home “that horrid boy.”

Yet pederasty is forbidden by the Koran. In chapter iv. 20 we read: “And if two (men) among you commit the crime, then punish them both,” the penalty being some hurt or damage by public reproach, insult or scourging. There are four distinct references to Lot and the Sodomites in chapters vii. 78; xi. 77-84; xxvi. 160-174 and xxix. 28-35. In the first the prophet commissioned to the people says, “Proceed ye to a fulsome act wherein no creature hath foregone ye? Verily, ye come to men in lieu of women lustfully.” We have then an account of the rain which made an end of the wicked and this judgment of the Cities of the Plain is repeated with more detail in the second reference. Here the angels, generally supposed to be three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, appeared to Lot as beautiful youths, a sore temptation to the sinners and the godly man’s arm was straitened concerning his visitors because he felt unable to protect them from the erotic vagaries of his fellow townsmen. He therefore shut his doors and from behind them argued the matter: presently the riotous assembly attempted to climb the wall when Gabriel, seeing the distress of his host, smote them on the face with one of his wings and blinded them so that all moved off crying for aid and saying that Lot had magicians in his house. Hereupon the “cities” which, if they ever existed, must have been Fellah villages, were uplifted: Gabriel thrust his wing under them and raised them so high that the inhabitants of the lower heaven (the lunar sphere) could hear the dogs barking and the cocks crowing. Then came the rain of stones: these were clay pellets baked in hell-fire, streaked white and red, or having some mark to distinguish them from the ordinary and each bearing the name of its destination like the missiles which destroyed the host of Abrahat al-Ashram.26 Lastly the “Cities” were turned upside down and cast upon earth. These circumstantial unfacts are repeated at full length in the other two chapters; but rather as an instance of Allah’s power than as a warning against pederasty, which Mohammed seems to have regarded with philosophic indifference. The general opinion of his followers is that it should be punished like fornication unless the offenders made a public act of penitence. But here, as in adultery, the law is somewhat too clement and will not convict unless four credible witnesses swear to have seen rem in re. I have noticed (vol. i. 211) the vicious opinion that the Ghilmán or Wuldán, the beautiful boys of Paradise, the counterparts of the Houris, will be lawful catamites to the True Believers in a future state of happiness: the idea is nowhere countenanced in Al-Islam; and, although I have often heard debauchees refer to it, the learned look upon the assertion as scandalous.

As in Morocco, so the Vice prevails throughout the old regencies of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli and all the cities of the South Mediterranean seaboard, whilst it is unknown to the Nubians, the Berbers and the wilder tribes dwelling inland. Proceeding Eastward we reach Egypt, that classical region of all abominations which, marvellous to relate, flourished in closest contact with men leading the purest of lives, models of moderation and morality, of religion and virtue. Amongst the ancient Copts Le Vice was part and portion of the ritual and was represented by two male partridges alternately copulating (Interp. in Priapi Carm. xvii). The evil would have gained strength by the invasion of Cambyses (B.C. 524), whose armies, after the victory over Psammenitus, settled in the Nile Valley, and held it, despite sundry revolts, for some hundred and ninety years. During these six generations the Iranians left their mark upon Lower Egypt and especially, as the late Rogers Bey proved, upon the Fayyum, the most ancient Delta of the Nile.27 Nor would the evil be diminished by the Hellenes who, under Alexander the Great, “liberator and saviour of Egypt” (B.C. 332), extinguished the native dynasties: the love of the Macedonian for Bagoas the Eunuch being a matter of history. From that time and under the rule of the Ptolemies the morality gradually decayed; the Canopic orgies extended into private life and the debauchery of the men was equalled only by the depravity of the women. Neither Christianity nor Al-Islam could effect a change for the better; and social morality seems to have been at its worst during the past century when Sonnini travelled (A.D. 1717). The French officer, who is thoroughly trustworthy, draws the darkest picture of the widely spread criminality, especially of the bestiality and the sodomy (chapt. xv.), which formed the “delight of the Egyptians”. During the Napoleonic conquest Jaubert in his letter to General Bruix (p. 19) says, “Les Arabes et les Mamelouks ont traité quelques-uns de nos prisonniers comme Socrate traitait, dit-on, Alcibiade. Il fallait périr ou y passer.” Old Anglo-Egyptians still chuckle over the tale of Sa’id Pasha and M. de Ruyssenaer, the high-dried and highly respectable Consul-General for the Netherlands, who was solemnly advised to make the experiment, active and passive, before offering his opinion upon the subject. In the present age extensive intercourse with Europeans has produced not a reformation but a certain reticence amongst the upper classes: they are as vicious as ever, but they do not care for displaying their vices to the eyes of mocking strangers.

Syria and Palestine, another ancient focus of abominations, borrowed from Egypt and exaggerated the worship of androgynic and hermaphroditic deities. Plutarch (De Iside) notes that the old Nilotes held the moon to be of “male-female sex”, the men sacrificing to Luna and the women to Lunus.28 Isis also was a hermaphrodite, the idea being that Aether or Air (the lower heavens) was the menstruum of generative nature; and Damascius explained the tenet by the all-fruitful and prolific powers of the atmosphere. Hence the fragment attributed to Orpheus, the song of Jupiter (Air)—

     All things from Jove descend;
Jove was a male, Jove was a deathless bride;
For men call Air, of two-fold sex, the Jove.

Julius Firmicus relates that “the Assyrians and part of the Africans” (along the Mediterranean seaboard?) “hold Air to be the chief element and adore its fanciful figure (imaginata figura), consecrated under the name of Juno or the Virgin Venus. * * * Their companies of priests cannot duly serve her unless they effeminate their faces, smooth their skins and disgrace their masculine sex by feminine ornaments. You may see men in their very temples amid general groans enduring miserable dalliance and becoming passives like women (viros muliebria pati), and they expose, with boasting and ostentation, the pollution of the impure and immodest body.” Here we find the religious significance of eunuchry. It was practised as a religious rite by the Tympanotribas or Gallus,29 the castrated votary of Rhea or Bona Mater, in Phrygia called Cybele, self-mutilated but not in memory of Atys; and by a host of other creeds: even Christianity, as sundry texts show,30 could not altogether cast out the old possession. Here too we have an explanation of Sotadic love in its second stage, when it became, like cannibalism, a matter of superstition. Assuming a nature-implanted tendency, we see that like human sacrifice it was held to be the most acceptable offering to the God-goddess in the Orgia or sacred ceremonies, a something set apart for peculiar worship. Hence in Rome as in Egypt the temples of Isis (Inachidos limina, Isiacæ sacraria Lunæ) were centres of sodomy, and the religious practice was adopted by the grand priestly castes from Mesopotamia to Mexico and Peru.

We find the earliest written notices of the Vice in the mythical destruction of the Pentapolis (Gen. xix.), Sodom, Gomorrah (= ’Ámirah, the cultivated country), Adama, Zeboïm and Zoar or Bela. The legend has been amply embroidered by the rabbis who make the Sodomites do everything à l’envers: e.g. if a man were wounded he was fined for bloodshed and was compelled to fee the offender; and if one cut off the ear of a neighbour’s ass he was condemned to keep the animal till the ear grew again. The Jewish doctors declare the people to have been a race of sharpers with rogues for magistrates, and thus they justify the judgment which they read literally. But the traveller cannot accept it. I have carefully examined the lands at the north and at the south of that most beautiful lake, the so-called Dead Sea, whose tranquil loveliness, backed by the grand plateau of Moab, is an object of admiration to all save patients suffering from the strange disease “Holy Land on the Brain.”31 But I found no traces of craters in the neighbourhood, no signs of vulcanism, no remains of “meteoric stones”: the asphalt which named the water is a mineralised vegetable washed out of the limestones, and the sulphur and salt are brought down by the Jordan into a lake without issue. I must therefore look upon the history as a myth which may have served a double purpose. The first would be to deter the Jew from the Malthusian practices of his pagan predecessors, upon whom obloquy was thus cast, so far resembling the scandalous and absurd legend which explained the names of the children of Lot by Pheiné and Thamma as “Moab” (Mu-ab) the water or semen of the father, and “Ammon” as mother’s son that is, bastard. The fable would also account for the abnormal fissure containing the lower Jordan and the Dead Sea, which the late Sir R. I. Murchison used wrong-headedly to call a “Volcano of Depression”: this geological feature, that cuts off the river-basin from its natural outlet the Gulf of Eloth (Akabah), must date from myriads of years before there were “Cities of the Plains.” But the main object of the ancient lawgiver, Osarsiph, Moses or the Moseidæ, was doubtless to discountenance a perversion prejudicial to the increase of population. And he speaks with no uncertain voice, Whoso lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death (Exod. xxii. 19): If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (Levit. xx. 13; where v.v. 15-16 threaten with death man and woman who lie with beasts). Again, There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel (Deut. xxii. 5).

The old commentators on the Sodom-myth are most unsatisfactory, e.g. Parkhurst, s.v. Kadesh. “From hence we may observe the peculiar propriety of this punishment of Sodom and of the neighbouring cities. By their sodomitical impurities they meant to acknowledge the Heavens as the cause of fruitfulness independently upon, and in opposition to, Jehovah32; therefore Jehovah, by raining upon them not genial showers but brimstone from heaven, not only destroyed the inhabitants, but also changed all that country, which was before as the garden of God, into brimstone and salt that is not sown nor beareth, neither any grass groweth therein.” It must be owned that to this Pentapolis was dealt very hard measure for religiously and diligently practising a popular rite which a host of cities even in the present day, as Naples and Shiraz, to mention no others, affect for simple luxury and affect with impunity. The myth may probably reduce itself to very small proportions, a few Fellah villages destroyed by a storm, like that which drove Brennus from Delphi.

The Hebrews entering Syria found it religionised by Assyria and Babylonia, whence Accadian Ishtar had passed west and had become Ashtoreth, Ashtaroth or Ashirah,33 the Anaitis of Armenia, the Phœnician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, the great Moon-goddess,34 who is queen of Heaven and Love. In another phase she was Venus Mylitta = the Procreatrix, in Chaldaic Mauludatá and in Arabic Moawallidah, she who bringeth forth. She was worshipped by men habited as women and vice versâ; for which reason in the Torah (Deut. xx. 5) the sexes are forbidden to change dress. The male prostitutes were called Kadesh the holy, the women being Kadeshah, and doubtless gave themselves up to great excesses. Eusebius (De bit. Const. iii. c. 55) describes a school of impurity at Aphac, where women and “men who were not men” practised all manner of abominations in honour of the Demon (Venus). Here the Phrygian symbolism of Kybele and Attis (Atys) had become the Syrian Ba’al Tammuz and Astarte, and the Grecian Dionæa and Adonis, the anthropomorphic forms of the two greater lights. The site, Apheca, now Wady al-Afik on the route from Bayrut to the Cedars, is a glen of wild and wondrous beauty, fitting framework for the loves of goddess and demigod: and the ruins of the temple destroyed by Constantine contrast with Nature’s work, the glorious fountain, splendidior vitro, which feeds the River Ibrahim, and still at times Adonis runs purple to the sea.35

The Phœnicians spread this androgynic worship over Greece. We find the consecrated servants and votaries of Corinthian Aphrodite called Hierodouli (Strabo viii. 6), who aided the ten thousand courtesans in gracing the Venus-temple: from this excessive luxury arose the proverb popularised by Horace. One of the headquarters of the cult was Cyprus where, as Servius relates (Ad Æn. ii. 632), stood the simulacre of a bearded Aphrodite with feminine body and costume, sceptered and mitred like a man. The sexes when worshipping it exchanged habits and here the virginity was offered in sacrifice: Herodotus (i. c. 199) describes this defloration at Babylon but sees only the shameful part of the custom which was a mere consecration of a tribal rite. Everywhere girls before marriage belong either to the father or to the clan and thus the maiden paid the debt due to the public before becoming private property as a wife. The same usage prevailed in ancient Armenia and in parts of Ethiopia; and Herodotus tells us that a practice very much like the Babylonian “is found also in certain parts of the Island of Cyprus”: it is noticed by Justin (xviii. c. 5) and probably it explains the “Succoth Benoth” or Damsels’ booths which the Babylonians transplanted to the cities of Samaria.36 The Jews seem very successfully to have copied the abominations of their pagan neighbours, even in the matter of the “dog.”37 In the reign of wicked Rehoboam (B.C. 975) “There were also sodomites in the land and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings xiv. 20). The scandal was abated by zealous King Asa (B.C. 958) whose grandmother38 was high-priestess of Priapus (princeps in sacris Priapi): he “took away the sodomites out of the land” (1 Kings xv. 12). Yet the prophets were loud in their complaints, especially the so-called Isaiah (B.C. 760), “except the Lord of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom” (i. 9); and strong measures were required from good King Josiah (B.C. 641) who amongst other things, “brake down the houses of the sodomites that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove” (2 Kings xxiii. 7). The bordels of boys (pueris alienis adhæseverunt) appear to have been near the Temple.

Syria has not forgotten her old “praxis”. At Damascus I found some noteworthy cases amongst the religious of the great Amawi Mosque. As for the Druses we have Burckhardt’s authority (Travels in Syria, etc., p. 202), “unnatural propensities are very common amongst them.”

The Sotadic Zone covers the whole of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia now occupied by the “unspeakable Turk”, a race of born pederasts; and in the former region we first notice a peculiarity of the feminine figure, the mammæ inclinatæ, jacentes et pannosæ, which prevails over all this part of the belt. Whilst the women to the north and south have, with local exceptions, the mammæ stantes of the European virgin,39 those of Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan and Kashmir lose all the fine curves of the bosom, sometimes even before the first child; and after it the hemispheres take the form of bags. This cannot result from climate only; the women of Marathá-land, inhabiting a damper and hotter region than Kashmir, are noted for fine firm breasts even after parturition. Le Vice of course prevails more in the cities and towns of Asiatic Turkey than in the villages; yet even these are infected; while the nomad Turcomans contrast badly in this point with the Gypsies, those Badawin of India. The Kurd population is of Iranian origin, which means that the evil is deeply rooted: I have noted in The Nights that the great and glorious Saladin was a habitual pederast. The Armenians, as their national character is, will prostitute themselves for gain but prefer women to boys: Georgia supplied Turkey with catamites whilst Circassia sent concubines. In Mesopotamia the barbarous invader has almost obliterated the ancient civilisation which is antedated only by the Nilotic: the mysteries of old Babylon nowhere survive save in certain obscure tribes like the Mandæans, the Devil-worshippers and the Alí-iláhi. Entering Persia we find the reverse of Armenia; and, despite Herodotus, I believe that Iran borrowed her pathologic love from the peoples of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and not from the then insignificant Greeks. But whatever may be its origin, the corruption is now bred in the bone. It begins in boyhood and many Persians account for it by paternal severity. Youths arrived at puberty find none of the facilities with which Europe supplies fornication. Onanism40 is to a certain extent discouraged by circumcision, and meddling with the father’s slave-girls and concubines would be risking cruel punishment if not death. Hence they use each other by turns, a “puerile practice” known as Alish-Takish, the Lat. facere vicibus or mutuum facere. Temperament, media, and atavism recommend the custom to the general; and after marrying and begetting heirs, Paterfamilias returns to the Ganymede. Hence all the odes of Hafiz are addressed to youths, as proved by such Arabic exclamations as ’Afáka ’llah = Allah assain thee (masculine)41: the object is often fanciful but it would be held coarse and immodest to address an imaginary girl.42 An illustration of the penchant is told at Shiraz concerning a certain Mujtahid, the head of the Shi’ah creed, corresponding with a prince-archbishop in Europe. A friend once said to him, “There is a question I would fain address to your Eminence but I lack the daring to do so.” “Ask and fear not”, replied the Divine. “It is this, O Mujtahid! Figure thee in a garden of roses and hyacinths with the evening breeze waving the cypress-heads, a fair youth of twenty sitting by thy side and the assurance of perfect privacy. What, prithee, would be the result?” The holy man bowed the chin of doubt upon the collar of meditation; and, too honest to lie, presently whispered, “Allah defend me from such temptation of Satan!” Yet even in Persia men have not been wanting who have done their utmost to uproot the Vice: in the same Shiraz they speak of a father who, finding his son in flagrant delict, put him to death like Brutus or Lynch of Galway. Such isolated cases, however, can effect nothing. Chardin tells us that houses of male prostitution were common in Persia whilst those of women were unknown: the same is the case in the present day and the boys are prepared with extreme care by diet, baths, depilation, unguents and a host of artists in cosmetics.43 Le Vice is looked upon at most as a peccadillo and its mention crops up in every jest-hook. When the Isfahan man mocked Shaykh Sa’adi by comparing the bald pates of Shirazian elders to the bottom of a lotá, a brass cup with a wide-necked opening used in the Hammam, the witty poet turned its aperture upwards and thereto likened the well-abused podex of an Isfahani youth. Another favourite piece of Shirazian “chaff” is to declare that when an Isfahan father would set up his son in business he provides him with a pound of rice, meaning that he can sell the result as compost for the kitchen-garden, and with the price buy another meal: hence the saying Khakh-i-pái káhú = the soil at the lettuce-root. The Isfahanis retort with the name of a station or halting-place between the two cities where, under pretence of making travellers stow away their riding-gear, many a Shirázi had been raped: hence “Zín o takaltú tú bi-bar” = carry within saddle and saddle-cloth! A favourite Persian punishment for strangers caught in the Harim or Gynæceum is to strip and throw them and expose them to the embraces of the grooms and negro-slaves. I once asked a Shirazi how penetration was possible if the patient resisted with all the force of the sphincter muscle: he smiled and said, “Ah, we Persians know a trick to get over that; we apply a sharpened tent-peg to the crupper-bone (os coccygis) and knock till he opens.” A well-known missionary to the East during the last generation was subjected to this gross insult by one of the Persian Prince-governors, whom he had infuriated by his conversion-mania: in his memoirs he alludes to it by mentioning his “dishonoured person;” but English readers cannot comprehend the full significance of the confession. About the same time Shaykh Nasr, Governor of Bushire, a man famed for facetious blackguardism, used to invite European youngsters serving in the Bombay Marine and ply them with liquor till they were insensible. Next morning the middies mostly complained that the champagne had caused a curious irritation and soreness in la parte-poste. The same Eastern “Scrogin” would ask his guests if they had ever seen a man-cannon (Ádami-top); and, on their replying in the negative, a greybeard slave was dragged in blaspheming and struggling with all his strength. He was presently placed on all fours and firmly held by the extremities; his bag-trousers were let down and a dozen peppercorns were inserted ano suo: the target was a sheet of paper held at a reasonable distance; the match was applied by a pinch of cayenne in the nostrils; the sneeze started the grapeshot and the number of hits on the butt decided the bets. We can hardly wonder at the loose conduct of Persian women perpetually mortified by marital pederasty. During the unhappy campaign of 1856-57 in which, with the exception of a few brilliant skirmishes, we gained no glory, Sir James Outram and the Bombay army showing how badly they could work, there was a formal outburst of the Harims; and even women of princely birth could not be kept out of the officers’ quarters.

The cities of Afghanistan and Sind are thoroughly saturated with Persian vice, and the people sing

Kadr-i-kus Aughán dánad, kadr-i-kunrá Kábuli.
The worth of coynte the Afghan knows: Cabul prefers the other chose!

The Afghans are commercial travellers on a large scale and each caravan is accompanied by a number of boys and lads almost in woman’s attire with Kohl’d eyes and rouged cheeks, long tresses and henna’d fingers and toes, riding luxuriously in Kajáwas or camel-panniers: they are called Kúchi-i safari, or travelling wives, and the husbands trudge patiently by their sides. In Afghanistan also a frantic debauchery broke out amongst the women when they found incubi who were not pederasts; and the scandal was not the most insignificant cause of the general rising at Cabul (Nov. 1841), and the slaughter of Macnaghten, Burnes and other British officers.

  1. This magnificent country, which the petty jealousies of Europe condemn, like the glorious regions about Constantinople, to mere barbarism, is tenanted by three Moslem races. The Berbers, who call themselves Tamazight (plur. of Amazigh), are the Gætulian indigenes speaking an Africo-Semitic tongue (see Essai de Grammaire Kabyle, etc., par A. Hanoteau, Paris, Benjamin Duprat). The Arabs, descended from the conquerors in our eighth century, are mostly nomads and camelbreeders. Third and last are the Moors proper, the race dwelling in towns, a mixed breed originally Arabian but modified by six centuries of Spanish residence and showing by thickness of feature and a parchment-coloured skin, resembling the American Octaroon’s, a negro innervation of old date. The latter are well described in “Morocco and the Moors,” etc. (Sampson Low and Co., 1876), by my late friend Dr. Arthur Leared, whose work I should like to see reprinted.
  2. Thus somewhat agreeing with one of the multitudinous modern theories that the Pentapolis was destroyed by discharges of meteoric stones during a tremendous thunderstorm. Possible, but where are the stones?
  3. To this Iranian domination I attribute the use of many Persic words which are not yet obsolete in Egypt. “Bakhshísh,” for instance, is not intelligible in the Moslem regions west of the Nile Valley and for a present the Moors say Hadíyah, regalo or favor.
  4. Arnobius and Tertullian, with the arrogance of their caste and its miserable ignorance of that symbolism which often concealed from vulgar eyes the most precious mysteries, used to taunt the heathen for praying to deities whose sex they ignored: “Consuistis in precibus ‘Seu tu Deus seu tu Dea,’ dicere!” These men would know everything; they made God the merest work of man’s brains and armed him with a despotism of omnipotence which rendered their creation truly dreadful.
  5. Gallus lit. = a cock, in pornologic parlance is a capon, a castrato.
  6. The texts justifying or enjoining castration are Matt. xviii. 8-9; Mark ix. 43-47; Luke xxiii. 29 and Col. iii. 5. St. Paul preached (1 Corin. vii. 29) that a man should live with his wife as if he had none. The Abelian heretics of Africa abstained from women because Abel died virginal. Origen mutilated himself after interpreting too rigorously Matt. xix. 12, and was duly excommunicated. But his disciple, the Arab Valerius, founded (A.D. 250) the castrated sect called Valerians who, persecuted and dispersed by the Emperors Constantine and Justinian, became the spiritual fathers of the modern Skopzis. These eunuchs first appeared in Russia at the end of the eleventh century, when two Greeks, John and Jephrem, were metropolitans of Kiew: the former was brought thither in A.D. 1089 by Princess Anna Wassewolodowna and is called by the chronicles Nawjè or the Corpse. But in the early part of the last century (1715-1733) a sect arose in the circle of Uglitseh and in Moscow, at first called Clisti or flagellants which developed into the modern Skopzi. For this extensive subject see De Stein (Zeitschrift für Ethn. Berlin, 1875) and Mantegazza, chapt. vi.
  7. See the marvellously absurd description of the glorious “Dead Sea” in the Purchas v. 84.
  8. Jehovah here is made to play an evil part by destroying men instead of teaching them better. But, “Nous faisons les Dieux à notre image et nous portons dans le ciel ce que nous voyons sur la terre.” The idea of Yahweh, or Yah is palpably Egyptian, the Ankh or ever-living One: the etymon, however, was learned at Babylon and is still found amongst the cuneiforms.
  9. The name still survives in the Shajarát al-Ashará, a clump of trees near the village Al-Ghájar (of the Gypsies?) at the foot of Hermon.
  10. I am not quite sure that Astarte is not primarily the planet Venus; but I can hardly doubt that Prof. Max Müller and Sir G. Cox are mistaken in bringing from India Aphrodite the Dawn and her attendants, the Charites identified with the Vedic Harits. Of Ishtar in Accadia, however, Roscher seems to have proved that she is distinctly the Moon sinking into Amenti (the west, the Underworld) in search of her lost spouse Izdubar, the Sun-god. This again is pure Egyptianism.
  11. In this classical land of Venus the worship of Ishtar-Ashtaroth is by no means obsolete. The Metáwali heretics, a people of Persian descent and Shiite tenets, and the peasantry of “Bilád B’sharrah,” which I would derive from Bayt Ashirah, still pilgrimage to the ruins and address their vows to the Sayyidat al-Kabírah, the Great Lady. Orthodox Moslems accuse them of abominable orgies and point to the lamps and rags which they suspend to a tree entitled Shajarat al-Sitt—the Lady’s tree—an Acacia Albida which, according to some travellers, is found only here and at Sayda (Sidon) where an avenue exists. The people of Kasrawán, a Christian province in the Libanus, inhabited by a peculiarly prurient race, also hold high festival under the farfamed Cedars, and their women sacrifice to Venus like the Kadashah of the Phœnicians. This survival of old superstition is unknown to missionary “Handbooks,” but amply deserves the study of the anthropologist.
  12. Some commentators understand “the tabernacles sacred to the reproductive powers of women;” and the Rabbis declare that the emblem was the figure of a setting hen.
  13. “Dog” is applied by the older Jews to the Sodomite and the Catamite; and thus they understand the “price of a dog” which could not be brought into the Temple (Deut. xxiii. 18). I have noticed it in one of the derivations of cinædus and can only remark that it is a vile libel upon the canine tribe.
  14. Her name was Maachah and her title, according to some, “King’s mother”: she founded the sect of Communists who rejected marriage and made adultery and incest part of worship in their splendid temple. Such were the Basilians and the Carpocratians, followed in the xith century by Tranchelin, whose sectarians, the Turlupins, long infested Savoy.
  15. A noted exception is Vienna remarkable for the enormous development of the virginal bosom, which soon becomes pendulent.
  16. Gen. xxxviii. 2-11. Amongst the classics Mercury taught the “Art of le Thalaba” to his son Pan who wandered about the mountains distraught with love for the Nymph Echo and Pan passed it on to the pastors. See Thalaba in Mirabeau.
  17. The reader of The Nights has remarked how often the “he” in Arabic poetry denotes a “she”; but the Arab, when uncontaminated by travel, ignores pederasty, and the Arab poet is a Badawi.
  18. So Mohammed addressed his girl-wife Ayishah in the masculine.
  19. So amongst the Romans we have the Iatroliptæ, youths or girls who wiped the gymnast’s perspiring body with swan’s-down, a practice renewed by the professors of “Massage”; Unctores who applied perfumes and essences; Fricatrices and Tractatrices or shampooers; Dropacistæ, corn-cutters; Alipilarii who plucked the hair, etc. etc. etc.
  20. It is a parody on the well-known song (Roebuck i. sect. 2, No. 1602):

    The goldsmith knows the worth of gold, jewellers worth of jewelry;
    The worth of rose Bulbul can tell and Kambar’s worth his lord, Ali.

Retour à l’article principal Pederasty (Richard F. Burton)
Pederasty (1 — The Sotadic Zone. The ancient Greeks)
Pederasty (2 — Rome)
Pederasty (3 — Al-Islam)
Pederasty (4 — Asia. America)
Pederasty (5 — Modern Europe)

Voir aussi


  • A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights’ entertainments, now entituled The book of the thousand nights and a night : with introduction explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the Nights. Vol. X / by Richard F. Burton. – The Burton Club, 1886 (printed in the U.S.A.).

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