The cultural impact of Classical Greek homoeroticism is a part of the history of sexuality. Later cultures have articulated their own discourse about homosexuality and pederasty, particularly at times when same-sex love was prohibited, through concepts shaped by the classical tradition. The metaphor of "Greek love" becomes most vivid historically in periods when the reception of classical antiquity is an important influence on dominant aesthetic or intellectual movements.
'Greece' as the historical memory of a treasured past was romanticised and idealised as a time and a culture when love between males was not only tolerated but actually encouraged, and expressed as the high ideal of same-sex camaraderie. ... If tolerance and approval of male homosexuality had happened once—and in a culture so much admired and imitated by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—might it not be possible to replicate in modernity the antique homeland of the non-heteronormative?
Following the work of sexuality theorist Michel Foucault, the validity of an ancient Greek model for modern gay culture has been questioned. In his essay "Greek Love," Alastair Blanshard sees "Greek love" as "one of the defining and divisive issues in the homosexual rights movement."
As a phrase in Modern English and other modern European languages, "Greek love" refers to various (mostly homoerotic) practices as part of the Hellenic heritage of Western culture; quotation marks are often placed on either or both words ("Greek" love, Greek "love", or "Greek love") to indicate that usage of the phrase is determined by context. It often serves as a "coded phrase" for pederasty, or to "sanitize" homosexual desire in historical contexts where it was considered unacceptable.
The German term griechische Liebe ("Greek love") appears in German literature between 1750 and 1850, along with socratische Liebe ("Socratic love") and platonische Liebe ("Platonic love") in reference to male-male attractions. Ancient Greece became a positive reference point by which homosexual men of a certain class and education could engage in discourse that might otherwise be taboo. In the early Modern period, a disjuncture was carefully maintained between idealized male eros in the classical tradition, which was treated with reverence, and sodomy, which was a term of contempt.
Ancient Greek background
In his classic study Greek Homosexuality, Kenneth Dover points out that the English nouns "a homosexual" and "a heterosexual" have no equivalent in the ancient Greek language. There was no concept in ancient Greece equivalent to the modern conception of "sexual preference"; it was assumed that a person would have both hetero- and homosexual responses at different times. Evidence for same-sex attractions and behaviors is more abundant for men than for women. Both romantic love and sexual passion between men were often considered normal, and under some circumstances healthy or admirable. The most common male-male relationship was paiderasteia, a socially-acknowledged institution in which a mature male (erastēs, the active lover) bonded with or mentored a teen-aged youth (eromenos, the passive lover, or pais, "boy" understood as an endearment and not necessarily a category of age). M.L. West views Greek pederasty as "a substitute for heterosexual love, free contacts between the sexes being restricted by society."
Greek art and literature portray these relationships as sometimes erotic or sexual, or sometimes idealized, educational, non-consummated, or non-sexual. A distinctive feature of Greek male-male eros was its occurrence within a military setting, as with the Theban Band, though the extent to which homosexual bonds played a military role has been questioned.
Some Greek myths have been interpreted as reflecting the custom of paiderasteia, most notably the myth of Zeus kidnapping Ganymede to become his cupbearer in the Olympian symposium. The death of Hyacinthus is also frequently referenced as a pederastic myth.
The main Greek literary sources for Greek homosexuality are lyric poetry, Athenian comedy, the works of Plato and Xenophon, and courtroom speeches from Athens. Vase paintings from the 500s and 400s BCE depict courtship and sex between males.
In Latin, mos Graeciae or mos Graecorum ("Greek custom" or "the way of the Greeks") refers to a variety of behaviors the ancient Romans regarded as Greek, including but not confined to sexual practice. Homosexual behaviors at Rome were acceptable only within an inherently unequal relationship; male Roman citizens retained their masculinity as long as they took the active, penetrating role, and the appropriate male sexual partner was a prostitute or slave, who would nearly always be non-Roman. In Archaic and classical Greece, paiderasteia had been a formal social relationship between freeborn males; taken out of context and refashioned as the luxury product of a conquered people, pederasty came to express roles based on domination and exploitation. Slaves often were given, and prostitutes sometimes assumed, Greek names regardless of their ethnic origin; the boys (pueri) to whom the poet Martial is attracted have Greek names. The use of slaves defined Roman pederasty; sexual practices were "somehow 'Greek'" when they were directed at "freeborn boys openly courted in accordance with the Hellenic traditions of pederasty."
Effeminacy or a lack of discipline in managing one's sexual attraction to another male threatened a man's "Romanness" and thus might be disparaged as "Eastern" or "Greek." Fears that Greek models might "corrupt" traditional Roman social codes (the mos maiorum) seem to have prompted a vaguely documented law (Lex Scantinia) that attempted to regulate aspects of homosexual relationships between freeborn males and to protect Roman youth from older men emulating Greek customs of pederasty.
By the close of the 2nd century BCE, however, the elevation of Greek literature and art as models of expression caused homoeroticism to be regarded as urbane and sophisticated. The consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus was among a circle of poets who made short, light Hellenistic poems fashionable in the late Republic. One of his few surviving fragments is a poem of desire addressed to a male with a Greek name, signaling the new aesthetic in Roman culture. The Hellenization of elite culture influenced sexual attitudes among "avant-garde, philhellenic Romans," as distinguished from sexual orientation or behavior, and came to fruition in the "new poetry" of the 50s BCE. The poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus, written in forms adapted from Greek meters, include several expressing desire for a freeborn youth explicitly named "Youth" (Iuventius). His Latin name and free-born status subvert pederastic tradition at Rome.
The literary ideal celebrated by Catullus stands in contrast to the practice of elite Romans who kept a puer delicatus ("exquisite boy") as a form of high-status sexual consumption, a practice that continued well into the Imperial era. The puer delicatus was a slave chosen from the pages who served in a high-ranking household. He was selected for his good looks and grace to serve at his master's side, where he is often depicted in art. Among his duties, at a convivium he would enact the Greek mythological role of Ganymede, the Trojan youth abducted by Zeus to serve as a divine cupbearer. Attacks on emperors such as Nero and Elagabalus, whose young male partners accompanied them in public for official ceremonies, criticized the perceived "Greekness" of male-male sexuality. "Greek love," or the cultural model of Greek pederasty in ancient Rome, is a "topos or literary game" that "never stops being Greek in the Roman imagination", an erotic pose to be distinguished from the varieties of real-world sexuality among individuals.
Male same-sex relationships of the kind portrayed by the "Greek love" ideal were increasingly disallowed within the Judaeo-Christian traditions of Western society. In the postclassical period, love poetry addressed by males to other males has been in general taboo.
In 1469, the Italian Neoplatonist Marsilio Ficino reintroduced Plato's Symposium to Western culture with his Latin translation titled De Amore ("On Love"). The Symposium became the most important text for conceptions of love in general during the Renaissance. In his commentary on Plato, Ficino interprets amor platonicus ("Platonic love") and amor socraticus ("Socratic love") allegorically as idealized male love, in keeping with the Church doctrine of his time. Ficino's interpretation of the Symposium influenced a philosophical view that the pursuit of knowledge, particularly self-knowledge, required the sublimation of sexual desire. Ficino thus began the long historical process of suppressing the homoeroticism of Plato's works; in particular, the dialogue Charmides "threatens to expose the carnal nature of Greek love" which Ficino sought to minimize.
For Ficino, "Platonic love" was a bond between two men that fosters a shared emotional and intellectual life, as distinguished from the "Greek love" practiced historically as the erastes/eromenos relationship. Ficino thus points toward the modern usage of "Platonic love" to mean love without sexuality. In his commentary to the Symposium, Ficino carefully separates the act of sodomy, which he condemned, and praises Socratic love as the highest form of friendship. Ficino maintained that men could use each other's beauty and friendship to discover the greatest good, that is, God, and thus Christianized idealized male love as expressed by Socrates.
During the Renaissance, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo used Plato's philosophy as inspiration for some of their greatest works. The "rediscovery" of classical antiquity was perceived as a liberating experience, and Greek love as an ideal after a Platonic model. Michelangelo presented himself to the public as a Platonic lover of men, combining Catholic orthodoxy and pagan enthusiasm in his portrayal of the male form, most notably the David, but his great-nephew edited his poems to diminish references to his love for Tommaso Cavalieri.
By contrast, the French Renaissance essayist Montaigne, whose view of love and friendship was humanist and rationalist, rejected "Greek love" as a model in his essay "De l'amitié" ("On Friendship"); it did not accord with the social needs of his own time, he wrote, because it involved "a necessary disparity in age and such a difference in the lovers' functions." Because Montaigne saw friendship as a relationship between equals in the context of political liberty, this inequality diminished the value of Greek love. The physical beauty and sexual attraction inherent in the Greek model for Montaigne were not necessary conditions of friendship, and he dismisses homosexual relations, which he refers to as licence grecque, as socially repulsive. Although the wholesale importation of a Greek model would be socially improper, licence grecque seems to refer only to licentious homosexual conduct, in contrast to the moderate behavior between men in the perfect friendship. When Montaigne chooses to introduce his essay on friendship with recourse to the Greek model, "homosexuality's role as trope is more important than its status as actual male-male desire or act ... licence grecque becomes an aesthetic device to frame the center."
The German term griechische Liebe ("Greek love") appears in German literature between 1750 and 1850, along with socratische Liebe ("Socratic love") and platonische Liebe ("Platonic love") in reference to male-male attractions. The work of the German art historian Johann Winckelmann was a major influence on the formation of classical ideals in the 18th century, and is also a frequent starting point for histories of gay German literature. Winckelmann observed the inherent homoeroticism of Greek art, though he felt he had to leave much of this perception implicit: "I should have been able to say more if I had written for the Greeks, and not in a modern tongue, which imposed on me certain restrictions." His own homosexuality influenced his response to Greek art and often tended toward the rhapsodic: "from admiration I pass to ecstasy ...," he wrote of the Apollo Belvedere, "I am transported to Delos and the sacred groves of Lycia—places Apollo honoured with his presence—and the statue seems to come alive like the beautiful creation of Pygmalion." Although now regarded as "ahistorical and utopian," his approach to art history provided a "body" and "set of tropes" for Greek love, "a semantics surrounding Greek love that ... feeds into the related eighteenth-century discourses on friendship and love."
Winckelmann inspired German poets in the latter 18th and throughout the 19th century, including Goethe, who pointed to Winckelmann's glorification of the nude male youth in ancient Greek sculpture as central to a new aesthetics of the time, and for whom Winckelmann himself was a model of Greek love as a superior form of friendship. While Winckelmann did not invent the euphemism "Greek love" for homosexuality, he has been characterized as an "intellectual midwife" for the Greek model as an aesthetic and philosophical ideal that shaped the 18th-century homosocial "cult of friendship."
German 18th-century works from the "Greek love" milieu of classical studies include the academic essays of Christoph Meiners and Alexander von Humboldt, the parodic poem "Juno and Ganymede" by Christoph Martin Wieland, and A Year in Arcadia: Kyllenion (1805), a novel about an explicitly male-male love affair in a Greek setting by Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
Neoclassical works of art often represented ancient society and an idealized form of "Greek love." Jacques-Louis David's Death of Socrates is meant to be a "Greek" painting, imbued with an appreciation of "Greek love," a tribute and documentation of leisured, disinterested, masculine fellowship.
The concept of Greek love was important to two of the most significant poets of English Romanticism, Byron and Shelley. The Regency in England was an era characterized by hostility and a "frenzy of ... persecutions" against homosexuals, the most virulent decades of which coincided with Byron's lifetime. The terms "homosexual" and "gay" were not used during this period, but "Greek love" among Byron's contemporaries became a way to conceptualize homosexuality, otherwise taboo, within the precedents of a highly esteemed classical past. The philosopher Jeremy Bentham, for instance, appealed to social models of classical antiquity, such as the homoerotic bonds of the Theban Band and pederasty, to demonstrate how these relationships did not inherently erode heterosexual marriage or the family structure.
The high regard for classical antiquity in the 18th century caused some adjustment in homophobic attitudes on the Continent, but not in England. In Germany, the prestige of classical philology led eventually to more honest translations and essays that examined the homoeroticism of Greek culture, particularly pederasty, in the context of scholarly inquiry rather than moral condemnation. Religious and nationalist sentiments in England overall remained hostile. An English archbishop, however, penned what may be the most effusive account of Greek pederasty available in English at the time, duly noted by Byron on the "List of Historical Writers Whose Works I Have Perused" that he drew up at age 19.
Plato was little read in Byron's time, in contrast to the later Victorian era when translations of the Symposium and Phaedrus would have been the most likely way for a young student to learn about Greek sexuality. The one English translation of the Symposium, published in two parts in 1761 and 1767, was an ambitious undertaking by the scholar Floyer Sydenham, who nevertheless was at pains to suppress its homoeroticism: Sydenham regularly translated the word eromenos as "mistress," and "boy" often becomes "maiden" or "woman." At the same time, the classical curriculum in English schools passed over works of history and philosophy in favor of Latin and Greek poetry that often dealt with erotic themes.
In describing homoerotic aspects of Byron's life and work, Louis Crompton uses the umbrella term "Greek love" to cover literary and cultural models of homosexuality from classical antiquity as a whole, both Greek and Roman, as received by intellectuals, artists, and moralists of the time. To those such as Byron who were steeped in classical literature, the phrase "Greek love" evoked pederastic myths such as Ganymede and Hyacinthus, as well as historical figures such as the political martyrs Harmodius and Aristogeiton, and Hadrian's beloved Antinous; Byron refers to all these stories in his writings. He was even more familiar with the classical tradition of male love in Latin literature, and quoted or translated homoerotic passages from Catullus, Horace, Virgil, and Petronius, whose name "was a byword for homosexuality in the eighteenth century." In Byron's circle at Cambridge, "Horatian" was a code word for "bisexual." in correspondence, Byron and his friends resorted to the code of classical allusions, in one exchange referring with elaborate puns to "Hyacinths" who might be struck by coits, as the mythological Hyacinthus was accidentally felled while throwing the discus with Apollo.
Shelley complained that contemporary reticence about homosexuality kept modern readers without a knowledge of the original languages from understanding a vital part of ancient Greek life. His poetry was influenced by the "androgynous male beauty" represented in Winckelmann's art history. Shelley wrote his Discourse on the Manners of the Antient Greeks Relative to the Subject of Love on the Greek conception of love in 1818 during his first summer in Italy, concurrently with his translation of Plato's Symposium. Shelley was the first major English writer to treat Platonic homosexuality, although neither work was published during his lifetime. His translation of the Symposium did not appear in complete form until 1910. Shelley asserts that Greek love arose from the circumstances of Greek households, in which women were not educated and not treated as equals, and thus not suitable objects of ideal love. Although Shelley recognizes the homosexual nature of the love relationships between males in ancient Greece, he argues that homosexual lovers often engaged in no behaviour of a sexual nature, and that Greek love was based on the intellectual component, in which one seeks a complementary beloved. He maintains that the immorality of the homosexual acts are on par with the immorality of contemporary prostitution, and contrasts the pure version of Greek love with the later licentiousness found in Roman culture. Shelley cites Shakespeare's sonnets as an English expression of the same sentiments, and ultimately argues that they are chaste and platonic in nature.
Throughout the 19th century, upper-class men of same-sex orientation or sympathies regarded "Greek love", often used as a euphemism for the ancient pederastic relationship between a man and a youth, as a "legitimating ideal": "the prestige of Greece among educated middle-class Victorians ... was so massive that invocations of Hellenism could cast a veil of respectability over even a hitherto unmentionable vice or crime." Homosexuality emerged as a category of thought during the Victorian era in relation to classical studies and "manly" nationalism; the discourse of "Greek love" during this time generally excluded women's sexuality. Late Victorian writers such as Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, and John Addington Symonds saw in "Greek love" a way to introduce individuality and diversity within their own civilization. Pater's short story "Apollo in Picardy" is set at a fictional monastery where a pagan stranger named Apollyon causes the death of the young novice Hyacinth; the monastery "maps Greek love" as the site of a potential "homoerotic community" within Anglo-Catholicism. Others who addressed the subject of Greek love in letters, essays, and poetry include Arthur Henry Hallam.
The efforts among aesthetes and intellectuals to legitimate various forms of homosexual behaviors and attitudes by virtue of a Hellenic model were not without opposition. The 1877 essay "The Greek Spirit in Modern Literature" by Richard St. John Tyrwhitt warned against the perceived immorality of this agenda. Tyrwhitt, who was a vigorous supporter of studying Greek, characterized the Hellenism of his day as "the total denial of any moral restraint on any human impulses," and outlined what he saw as the proper scope of Greek influence on the education of young men. Tyrwhitt and other critics attacked by name several scholars and writers who had tried to use Plato to support an early gay-rights agenda and whose careers were subsequently damaged by their association with "Greek love."
Symonds and Greek ethics
In 1873, the poet and literary critic John Addington Symonds wrote A Problem in Greek Ethics, a work of what could later be called "gay history," inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman. The work, "perhaps the most exhaustive eulogy of Greek love," remained unpublished for a decade, and then was printed at first only in a limited edition for private distribution. Symonds's approach throughout most of the essay is primarily philological. He treats "Greek love" as central to Greek "esthetic morality." Aware of the taboo nature of his subject matter, Symonds referred obliquely to pederasty as "that unmentionable custom" in a letter to a prospective reader of the book, but defined "Greek love" in the essay itself as "a passionate and enthusiastic attachment subsisting between man and youth, recognised by society and protected by opinion, which, though it was not free from sensuality, did not degenerate into mere licentiousness."
Symonds studied classics under Benjamin Jowett at Balliol College, Oxford, and later worked with Jowett on an English translation of Plato's Symposium. When Jowett was critical of Symonds' opinions on sexuality, Symonds asserted that "Greek love was for Plato no 'figure of speech,' but a present and poignant reality. Greek love is for modern studies of Plato no 'figure of speech' and no anachronism, but a present poignant reality." Symonds struggled against the desexualization of "Platonic love," and sought to debunk the association of effeminacy with homosexuality by advocating a Spartan-inspired view of male love as contributing to military and political bonds. When Symonds was falsely accused of corrupting choirboys, Jowett supported him, despite his own equivocal views of the relation of Hellenism to contemporary legal and social issues that affected homosexuals.
Symonds also translated classical poetry on homoerotic themes, and wrote poems drawing on ancient Greek imagery and language such as Eudiades, which has been called "the most famous of his homoerotic poems": "The metaphors are Greek, the tone Arcadian and the emotions a bit sentimental for present-day readers."
One of the ways in which Symonds and Whitman expressed themselves in their correspondence on the subject of homosexuality was through references to ancient Greek culture, such as the intimate friendship between Callicrates, "the most beautiful man among the Spartans," and the soldier Aristodemus. Symonds was influenced by Karl Otfried Müller's work on the Dorians, which included an "unembarrassed" examination of the place of pederasty in Spartan pedagogy, military life, and society. Symonds distinguished between "heroic love," for which the ideal friendship of Achilles and Patroclus served as a model, and "Greek love," which combined social ideals with "vulgar" reality. Symonds envisioned a "nationalist homosexuality" based on the model of Greek love, distanced from effeminacy and "debasing" behaviors and viewed as "in its origin and essence, military." He tried to reconcile his presentation of Greek love with Christian and chivalrous values. His strategy for influencing social acceptance of homosexuality and legal reform in England included evoking an idealized Greek model that reflected Victorian moral values such as honor, devotion, and self-sacrifice.
The trial of Oscar Wilde
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The trial of Oscar Wilde marked the end of the period when proponents of "Greek love" could hope to legitimate homosexuality by appeals to a classical model.
20th and 21st centuries
The legacy of Greece in homosexual aesthetics became problematic, and the meaning of a "costume" derived from classical antiquity was questioned. The French theorist Michel Foucault (1926–1984), perhaps best known for his work The History of Sexuality, rejected essentialist conceptions of gay history, and fostered a now "widely accepted" view that "Greek love is not a prefiguration of modern homosexuality."
- Alastair J.L. Blanshard, "Greek Love," in Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. xi and 91–92 et passim.
- Petrilli, Susan (November 14, 2003). Translation, translation. Rodopi. p. 624. ISBN 978-90-420-0947-9.
- Blanshard, "Greek Love," p. 161; Didier Eriobon, Insult and the Making of the Gay Self, translated by Michael Lucey (Duke University Press, 2004), p. xxxiv.
- Blanshard, "Greek Love," p. 161.
- Williams, Craig Arthur (June 10, 1999). Roman homosexuality. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 72. ISBN 978-0-19-511300-6.
- Taddeo, Julie Anne (July 18, 2002). Lytton Strachey and the search for modern sexual identity. Routledge; 1 edition. pp. 21. ISBN 978-1-56023-359-6.
- David M. Halperin, John J. Winkler, and Froma I. Zeitlin, introduction to Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World (Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 19.
- Patricia Pulham, Art and the Transitional Object in Vernon Lee's Supernatural Tales (Ashgate, 2008), p. 59.
- Gustafson, Susan E. (June 2002). Men desiring men. Wayne State University Press. pp. . ISBN 978-0814330296.
- Petrilli, Susan (November 14, 2003). Translation, translation. Rodopi. pp. 623. ISBN 978-90-420-0947-9.
- Hekma, Gert (1989). The Pursuit of Sodomy: Male Homosexuality in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe. Haworth Press. p. 436.
- K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (Harvard University Press, 1978, 1989), p. 1 et passim.
- David Sacks, A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World (Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 115–115.
- Dover, Greek Homosexuality, p. 16; Marguerite Johnson and Terry Ryan, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Society and Literature: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2005), pp. 3–4; Anne L. Klinck, "'Sleeping in the Bosom of a Tender Companion': Homoerotic Attachments in Sappho," in Same-sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West (Haworth Press, 2005), p. 202; Jane McIntosh Snyder, The Woman and the Lyre (Southern Illinois University Press, 1989), p. 3.
- Martin Litchfield West, Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus, Walter de Gruyter and Co. (1974), page 75
- A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World, pp. 115–117.
- David Leitao, 'The legend of the Theban Band', in M. Craven Nussbaum and J. Sihvola The Sleep of Reason: Erotic Experience and Sexual Ethics in Ancient Greece and Rome, Chicago University Press (2002), pages 140-50
- A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World, p. 117;
- A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World, p. 115.
- Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality (Oxford University Press, 1999, 2010), pp. 61, 70, 308, 342 (examples in note 53).
- Helen King, "Sowing the Field: Greek and Roman Sexology," in Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The History of Attitudes to Sexuality (Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 30.
- John Pollini, "The Warren Cup: Homoerotic Love and Symposial Rhetoric in Silver," Art Bulletin 81.1 (1999), pp. 37, 40–41 et passim.
- Sandra R. Joshel, Slavery in the Roman World (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 78 and 95; John G. Younger, Sex in the Ancient World from A to Z (Routledge, 2005), p. 38.
- Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 17.
- Pollini, "Warren Cup," p. 27, with reference to the Lex Scantinia; Jan Bremmer, "An Enigmatic Indo-European Rite: Paederasty," Arethusa 13.2 (1980), p. 288.
- Ramsay MacMullen, "Roman Attitudes to Greek Love," Historia 31.4 (1982), pp. 484–502.
- Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (Yale University Press, 1992, 2002, originally published 1988 in Italian), p. 120; Edward Courtney, The Fragmentary Latin Poets (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 75.
- Pollini, "Warren Cup," p. 28.
- David M. Halperin, "The First Homosexuality?" in The Sleep of Reason: Erotic Experience and Sexual Ethics in Ancient Greece (University of Chicago Press, 2002), pp. 242 and 263.
- Pollini, "Warren Cup," p. 28. Catullus's poems are more often addressed to a woman.
- Pollini, "Warren Cup," p. 34.
- Caroline Vout, Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 136ff.
- Vout, Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome, p. 67. Vout sees the views of Williams and MacMullen as opposite extremes on the subject (p. 45).
- Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization (Harvard University Press, 2006), pb ed., pp. 213, 411 et passim.
- Louis Crompton, Byron and Greek Love (University of California Press, 1985), p 6.
- Armando Maggi, "On Kissing and Sighing: Renaissance Homoerotic Love from Ficino's De Amore and Sopra Lo Amore to Cesare Trevisani's L'impresa (1569)," in Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition (Haworth Press, 2005), p. 315, gives a date of 1484.
- Phillippa Berry, Of Chastity and Power: Elizabethan Literature and the Unmarried Queen (Routledge, 1989, 1994), p. 29; Robert Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art, and Homosexual Fantasy (Routledge, 1993), p. 38; Beert C. Verstraete and Vernon Provencal, introduction to Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition (Haworth Press, 2005), p. 9. Ficino is "perhaps the most important Platonic commentator and teacher in the Renaissance": Blanshard, "Greek Love," p. 128.
- Berry, Of Chastity and Power, p. 29.
- Fone, Byrne R. S. (May 15, 1998). The Columbia anthology of gay literature. Columbia University Press. pp. 131. ISBN 978-0-231-09670-6.
- Berry, Of Chastity and Power, p. 2.
- Blanshard, "Greek Love," p. 101; Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 80; Maggi, "On Kissing and Sighing," pp. 315–340, for a broader discussion of homoeroticism in Ficino and related works.
- Blanshard, "Greek Love," p. 101.
- Nikolai Endres, "Plato, Platotude, and Blatancy in E.M. Forster's Maurice," in Alma parens originalis?: The Receptions of Classical Literature and Thought in Africa, Europe, the United States, and Cuba (Peter Lang, 2007), p. 178, note 2.
- Aldrich, Robert (November 15, 1993). The seduction of the Mediterranean. Routledge; 1 edition. pp. 38. ISBN 978-0-415-09312-5.
- Taylor, Rachel Annand (March 15, 2007). Leonardo the Florentine - A Study in Personality. Kiefer Press. pp. 483. ISBN 978-1-4067-2927-6.
- Crompton, Louis (October 31, 2006). Homosexuality and civilization. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 270. ISBN 978-0-674-02233-1.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 5.
- Et cet'autre licence Grecque est justement abhorrée par nos muers: Montaigne, "De l'amitié" (1580), 187a and c, as cited and discussed by Zahi Anbra Zalloua, Montaigne and the Ethics of Skepticism (Rockwood Press, 2005), pp. 86–87.
- Michael Platt, "Montaigne, Of Friendship, and On Tyranny," in Freedom over Servitude: Montaigne, La Boétie, and "On Voluntary Servitude" (Greenwood, 1998), p. 58; special emphasis on the context of political liberty in Marc D. Schachter, " 'That Friendship Which Possesses the Soul': Montaigne Loves La Boétie," in Homosexuality in French History and Culture (Haworth Press, 2001), p. 14.
- Zalloua, Montaigne and the Ethics of Skepticism, p. 87. Platt, "Montaigne," p. 58, thinks that Montaigne's emphasis on equality is more important than the rejection of "bodily love between males" in the passage. Montaigne also regards women as incapable of true friendship.
- Todd W. Reeser, Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2006), pp. 187–214, quotation on p. 213.
- Gustafson, Susan E. (June 2002). Men desiring men. Wayne State University Press. pp. . ISBN 978-0-8143-3029-6.
- Robert Tobin, "German Literature," in Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia (Taylor & Francis, 2000), p. 612.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, pp. 87–88, citing Winckelmann: Writings on Art ed. David Irwin (London: Phaidon, 1972), pp. 105–106.
- Entry on "Apollo Belvedere," in The Classical Tradition (Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 55–56.
- Winckelmann, as quoted by William Armstrong Percy III, "Reconsiderations about Greek Homosexualities," in Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition, (Haworth Press, 2005), p. 49, with reference to Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 51.
- Alice A. Kuzniar, Outing Goethe and His Age (Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 14 et passim. See also Alex Potts, Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History (Yale University Press, 1994, 2000), and Susan E. Gustafson, Men Desiring Men: The Poetry of Same-Sex Identity and Desire in German Classicism (Wayne State University Press, 2002), p. 63, on how Winckelmann's letters provide "a set of tropes that signal the struggle to express the male same-sex desire."
- Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 55.
- Tobin, "German Literature," in Gay Histories and Cultures, p. 612.
- W. Daniel Wilson, "Diabolical Entrapment: Mephisto, the Angels, and the Homoerotic in Goethe's Faust II," in Goethe's Faust: Theatre of Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 177.
- Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 55; Gustafson, Men Desiring Men, pp. 11, 32, 44.
- Aldrich, Robert (November 15, 1993). The seduction of the Mediterranean. Routledge; 1 edition. pp. 136. ISBN 978-0-415-09312-5.
- Crow, Thomas E. (June 20, 2006). Emulation. Yale University Press; Revised edition. pp. 99. ISBN 978-0-300-11739-4.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 3, as evidenced by readings in "poets and novelists, theologians, journal writers, and historians, along with newspapers, political speeches, reports of religious societies, and popular pamphlets."
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, pp. 38–53, especially pp. 49–51.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p.86.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, pp. 97–97. In his Antiquities of Greece (1697–99), Archbishop John Potter assumed that "the excellent passion" of the Theban Band was chaste. Potter echoes Athenaeus's praise of pederasty, and Strabo's account of Cretan pederasty.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 89.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, pp. 89–90.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 91.
- Latin literature in particular was seen as continuing or deriving from a Greek heritage.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 11.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 93.
- Via a punning allusion to Petronius's Satyricon, plenum et optabilem coitum ("full and to-be-wished-for coitus"); Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, pp. 127–129. See also Barry Weller, "English Literature," in Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia (Taylor & Francis, 2000), p. 444, on the use of classical allusions as code among Byron and his circle.
- Crompton's summary in Byron and Greek Love, p. 87, citing "A Discourse on the Manners of the Antient Greeks Relative to the Subject of Love," in The Platonism of Shelley, ed. James A. Notopoulos (Duke University Press, 1949), p. 407.
- Crompton, Byron and Greek Love, p. 88.
- Kaylor, Michael Matthew (2006). Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde. Masaryk University Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde. ISBN 80-210-4126-9.
- Holmes, Richard (1980). Shelley on love: an anthology. University of California Press. pp. 95–98. ISBN 0-520-04322-7.
- Singer, Irving (2009). The Nature of Love: Plato to Luther. University of Chicago Press. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-262-51272-5.
- Woods, Gregory (1998). A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition. World Print Ltd. pp. 117–118. ISBN 978-0-300-08088-9.
- Jonathan Ned Katz, Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality (University of Chicago Press, 2001), p. 244.
- Linda Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford (Cornell University Press, 1994), p. 28.
- Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, introduction to Among Women: From the Homosocial to the Homoerotic in the Ancient World (University of Texas Press, 2002), pp. 9–10; Joan DeJean, "Sex and Philology: Sappho and the Rise of German Nationalism," in Re-reading Sappho: Reception and Transmission (University of California Press, 1996), p. 139ff. Deborah Cohler, Citizen, Invert, Queer: Lesbianism and War in Early Twentieth-Century Britain (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), p. 8, observes that "homosexuality in women was located only through medical or anthropological measure, reserving the 'highly regarded' classical studies for the realm of men only."
- Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, p. 66.
- Frederick S. Roden, Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Religious Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), p. 84.
- Richard Dellamora, Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism (University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 23–25, with further discussion of Hallam and his relations with other literary figures et passim.
- Published in The Contemporary Review 39 (1877), pp. 552–566.
- Tyrwhitt, "The Greek Spirit in Modern Literature," pp. 558–559.
- Blanshard, "Greek Love," p. 145; Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, pp. 90–92, 112.
- Katz, Love Stories, p. 244. Katz notes that "Whitman's knowledge of and response to ancient Greek love is the subject for a major study" (p. 381, note 6).
- DeJean, "Sex and Philology," p. 139.
- Katz, Love Stories, p. 244. A Problem in Greek Ethics was later published without attribution in Havelock Ellis's Sexual Inversion (1897); see Eric O. Clarke, Virtuous Vice: Homoeroticism and the Public Sphere (Duke University Press, 2000), p. 144.
- Katz, Love Stories, p. 262.
- As quoted by Pulham, Art and Transitional Object, p. 59, and Anne Hermann, Queering the Moderns: Poses/Portraits/Performances (St. Martin's Press, 2000), p. 148.
- Robert Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art, and Homosexual Fantasy (Routledge, 1993), p. 78.
- Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, p. 74, notes that Jowett, in his lectures and introductions, discussed love between men and women when Plato himself had been talking about the Greek love for boys.
- Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 78, citing a letter written by Symonds. Passage discussed also by Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, p. 130 and Bart Schultz, Henry Sidgwick: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 381.
- Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, p. 130.
- Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, pp. 88, 91.
- Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 78.
- Katz, Love Stories, pp. 243–244.
- Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality, p. xv.
- Cohler, Citizen, Invert, Queer, p. 7, quoting Symonds, A Problem in Sexual Ethics. See also Douglass Shand-Tucci, The Crimson Letter: Harvard, Homosexuality, and the Shaping of American Culture (St. Martin's Press, 2003), p. 40.
- Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 80.
- Aldrich, The Seduction of the Mediterranean, p. 83. See also Sarah Cole, Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 44, on Greek homoeroticism as conceived in Symonds's time as "a form of love which in practice can never match the ideal as presented by the poets." Pulham, Art and Transitional Object, pp. 59ff., points out that despite attempts to "sanitize" Greek love, the Victorian use of classical mythology and texts necessarily admit the "unruly qualities" of sexual desire that the originals contain.
- Blanshard, "Greek Love," pp. 159–160.
- Didier Eriobon, Insult and the Making of the Gay Self, translated by Michael Lucey (Duke University Press, 2004), p. xxxiv.
- Blanshard, Alastair J. L. (2010). Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity. Classical Receptions 5. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 1-4051-2291-9.
- Cantarella, Eva (1992). Bisexuality in the Ancient World. London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-04844-5.
- Crompton, Louis (1998). Byron and Greek Love. London: GMP. ISBN 978-0-85449-263-3.
- Crompton, Louis (2003). Homosexuality & Civilization. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02233-1.
- Davidson, James (2007). The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50516-4.
- Fone, Byrne (1998). The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-09670-6.
- Gill, Christopher (1999). The Symposium (Plato). London: Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0-140-44927-3.
- Haggerty, George (1999). Men in Love. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11043-3.
- Halperin, David M. (1990). One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love. London: Routledge.
- Kuzniar, Alice (1996). Outing Goethe & His Age. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-2615-3.
- Maccarthy, Fiona (2004). Byron: Life and Legend. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-52930-7.
- Posner, Richard (1992). Sex and Reason. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-80280-3.
- Symonds, John (2007). A Problem in Greek Ethics: Paiderastia. City: Forgotten Books. ISBN 978-1-60506-389-8.
- Taddeo, Julie Anne (2002). Lytton Strachey and the Search for Modern Sexual Identity: the Last Eminent Victorian. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-56023-359-6.
- Tamagne, Florence (2004). History of Homosexuality in Europe, 1919-1939. New York: Algora Publishing. ISBN 978-0-87586-356-6.
- Vout, Caroline (2007). Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome. Cambridge University Press.
- Williams, Craig (1999). Roman Homosexuality. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-511300-6.