Talk:Alexander the Great/Archive 6

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Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 7

Categories: LGBT people and pederasty

Several ancient historians say that Alexander had sexual relationships with men, and those sources are given in the article (e.g., Aelian). There's no reason to remove the LGBT people or Pederasty categories. For further corroboration, you may note this quote from an interview of Robin Lane Fox in Archaeology magazine (Sept. 14, 2004):

Alexander did not have a one-way homosexual orientation, in the prevailing modern use of the term. He had sexual relations with males (including a eunuch) but also with a Persian mistress, his first wife Roxane (mother of his child) and two more Persian wives, too. In youth, his great friend was Hephaestion, and surely the sexual element (frequent between young males, or and older and younger male, in Greek city-states) developed already then.

--Akhilleus (talk) 04:50, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Quintus Curtius Rufus 6.5.23 says: Inter quae Bagoas erat, specie singulari spado atque in ipso flore pueritiae, cui et Dareus adsuetus fuerat et mox Alexander adsuevit... ("Among these gifts was Bagoas, a eunuch of singular appearance and in the very flower of youth, with whom also Darius had been familiar and with whom Alexander soon was familiar...") Curtius at least claims that Alexander had a sexual relationship with someone who was a young male, and this meets the definition of "pederasty". This is enough to justify the presence of the category, even if it can be contested whether this was truly pederasty or not. --Akhilleus (talk) 06:37, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I'll also quote Paul Cartledge, History Today, 54.7 (July 2004):
The question of Alexander's sexuality -- his predominant sexual orientation -- has enlivened, or bedevilled, much Alexander scholarship. That he loved at least two men there can be little doubt. The first was the Macedonian noble Hephaestion, another friend from boyhood, whom he looked on -- and may actually have referred to -- as his alter ego. The Persian queen mother, it was said, once mistook the taller Hephaestion for Alexander, who graciously excused her blushes by murmuring that 'he too is Alexander'. Whether Alexander's relationship with the slightly older Hephaestion was ever of the sort that once dared not speak its name is not certain, but it is likely enough that it was. At any rate, Macedonian and Greek mores would have favoured an actively sexual component rather than inhibiting or censoring it. Like hunting, pederasty was thought to foster masculine, especially martial, bravery.
In response to a comment farther above on the page I'll note that the younger partner in a pederastic relationship in ancient Greece could be post-adolescent, even as old as mid-20s; the word pais covered a wider range of ages than it does now. If you want them, I can supply references, but I don't have them at hand at the moment. --Akhilleus (talk) 07:04, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
U are using a modern day term, which was not used in ancient Greece. u are attributing to Alexander the Great an adjective (paederast) although there is no evidence of him having sexual relations with minors. u are wrong about the usage of the word 'pais' in ancient Greece. The word 'pais', as in modern Greek, was refered to 'kids'. the word 'efivos' (έφηβος) was refered to teenagers, adolescents, e.g. the statue of the 'Adolescent of Antikythira'. i will revert the article and remove the category. if u re-add it without providing source clearly stating that Alexander had sexual relationships with minors, i will call it simply 'vandalism'. Regards Hectorian 00:50, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I will nor revert now, cause i do not wanna break the 3RR. but i will. meanwhile, start searching for credible sources. Hectorian 00:52, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
The main reason we categorize is so that individuals who are interested in a certain subject can easily access all articles dealing with that topic. The mere fact that Alexander has been said to have related with a boy (Bagoas) and refused other boys offered to him qualifies the entry of the article into that category, since it is part of the historical discussion on Greek pederasty. The uncertainty some claim surrounds his pederastic doings is also grist for this particular mill, and further supports the entry into the said category. Viewing the categorization process as a court of law "indicting" Alexander for imagined sins is a mistake, and "defending" him against such accusations is to completely misunderstand the encyclopaedic process. Haiduc 01:04, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I am only opposing his inclusion in that specific category, since it is unencyclopedic to include him. easy access would be to include France in the 'Category:Germany', but it is far than unencyclopedic. as for Bagoas, name a source that depicts him as a child (cause this is what 'pederasty' means). everything else is just speculations and wrong interpretations of the ancient scripts. without source, he won't be in that category. it is not a matter of 'defense', but a matter of encyclopedism and historic accuracy. Hectorian 01:13, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
There are two debatable - but independent and self-sufficient - issues in a categorization discussion such as this - relevance and historicity. It would seem self-evident that the "Greek pederasty" category is relevant since, as I mentioned before, the topic of his relations with boys was broached over 2000 years ago. As for the historicity of his pederasty, it is as certain as anything can be over such a span of time and paucity of surviving sources. But your novel standard, that of relations with "children" is simply not germane, since Greek pederasty was not the cultivation of relations with children (something that was condemned as shameful for the child but even more for his lover) but rather relations with teenagers, relations which were always erotic but not necessarily sexual. Of course Bagoas is not a child, he is a eunuch - a boy whose testicles have been removed so as to put off his maturation and preserve his youthful looks longer, for the benefit of his lover(s). Ergo, not a mature man, thus making theirs an age-structured relationship, the trademark of pederasty. Haiduc 01:42, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
What u have editted is obvious that has nothing to do with pederasty. Bagoas was not a child, thus, Alexander was not a 'pederast' and so his inclusion in that category is wrong. don't try to stretchen or shorten things like another Procrustes. Hectorian 01:48, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand why Hectorian says that pederasty is not an ancient Greek term when it's widely attested in ancient Greek sources. Plato, Symposium 181c is just one example: καί τις ἂν γνοίη καὶ ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ παιδεραστίᾳ τοὺς εἰλικρινῶς ὑπὸ τούτου τοῦ ἔρωτος ὡρμημένους: ("Even in the passion for boys you may note the way of those who are under the single incitement of this Love:") The word παιδεραστής is also found in e.g. Aristophanes Acharnanians 265, Xenophon Anabasis 7.4.7, Plato Symposium 192b and other sources.

As Haiduc says, it's entirely clear that when the Greeks talked about pederasty, they weren't referring to sexual relationships with young children, but with teenagers, or even men in their early 20s. Here's Martha Nussbaum on the age of the younger partner ("Platonic Love and Colorado Law," Virginia Law Review 80.7 (Oct. 1994), p. 1551):

To modern American ears the word "boy" suggests someone between the ages of, say, four and twelve. But the eromenos of Greek custom was typically, and ideally, a young man between the time of full attainment of adult height and the full growth of the beard. If we go by modern growth patterns, he was perhaps sixteen to nineteen; but more likely, because the ancient Greek age of puberty seems to have [been] slightly later than ours, the age of a modern college undergraduate.

In the entry on "homosexuality" in the Oxford Classical Dictionary, David Halperin says: "By "boy," then, the ancients designated what we would call an adolescent rather than a child. Moreover, "man" and "boy" can refer in both Greek and Latin to the senior and junior partners in a paederastic relationship...regardless of their actual ages."

As far as Bagoas, I've already quoted Curtius, who describes Bagoas as youthful (in ipso flore pueritiae), and Paul Cartledge, who says that Alexander was probably involved in a pederastic relationship. I've also quoted Robin Lane Fox elsewhere on this page.

So, Hectorian, since you're asking people to provide reliable sources, and I have, I will now ask you to provide some reliable sources that support your arguments that 1) pederasty isn't an ancient Greek term; 2) the ancient Greek word pais always meant a young, pre-adolescent child; and 3) Alexander wasn't involved in pederastic relationships.

The "Greek pederasty" category should remain in the article. As Haiduc says, categories are a way for WP readers to find articles they might be interested in; and if someone is interested in Greek pederasty, they might well be interested in reading about Alexander's love life. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:06, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

1. I am greek, i know greek, i know that it is a greek word. but this term was not used in ancient times in the way it is used today.
2. The Oxford Classical Dictionary perfectly defines the meaning of the word 'pais', something that, however, the leading article of the category u want to place Alexander fails to do so: Pederasty in ancient Greece, 2nd paragraph The Greeks considered it normal for any man to be drawn to the beauty of a boy - just as much if not more than to that of a woman. and above this In a wider sense it referred to erotic love between adolescents and adult men. With the word 'adolescent' been defined by the World Health Organization as the period of life between 10 and 19 years of age, the main article of the category misleads the reader. an average reader will think that the ancient Greeks had relationships with children, and this is what i want to avoid, since it is obviously untrue. Maybe u should start correcting the lead of that article first...
3. The article has no info about Alexander having affairs even with 'adolescents' (with the ancient meaning of the word!). Robin Lane Fox says that the whole Bagoas issue may had been a gossip and does not mention him been minor. also, Bagoas was clearly not an adolescent, nor a teenager (he was Darius' lover years before...). Curtius says Bagoas was youthful... i cannot see why u claim this as evidence and u want to consider his that young... an 18-20 year old guy is also youthful... According to ancient sources Alexander was involved in homosexual relationships (and this is why the cat. is there), but no source says he had pederastic relationships (and this cat. should not be here). Hectorian 14:31, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe what Hectorian means is that the way pederasty is being used in modern times is based on modern Greek interpetations of the word and not ancient. Plus as I mentioned further up none of our four ancient historians: Arrian, Plutarch, Quintus nor Diodorus, (the four historians on Alexander that all later writers such a Aelianus used for the bases of their stories on the ruler), not one of these four contemporaries ever said, ever wrote or ever left any traces of Alexander having an affair with Hephaestion. Infact Curtius uses the Roman term amicus which means friend or comrade to describe Hephaestion's relationship with Alexander, never the Roman word amans for "lover"; and our Greek historians Plutarch, Arrian and Diodorus use the Greek term philos, which means friend even in modern Greek, to describe Hephaestion's relationship to Alexander never the terms erastes or eromenos(which some credit to mean lover); Alexander himself calls Hephaestion Phil~Alexandros(friend of Alexander). Anyone who has read the works of these four authors would know this. The term eromenos was only intoduced in later times by dubious authors, which is why modern scholars question the relationship being romantic. Secondly that Robin Lane Fox quote from 2004, for anyone who has read Fox's book The Search for Alexander, (The Search for Alexander ~ Little, Brown and Co. Boston, 1980, p. 261) he is quoted in sayin "later gossip claimed that Alexander had a love affair with Hephaiston no contemporary history states this." He goes on to say that the two men had an exceptionally deep and close friendship but anyone who has grown up together a person will tell you that deep close friendships do not mean they are homosexual in nature. Thirdly as far as Bagoas is concerned this is what Fox in his original book based on Alexander had to say again "Later gossip presumed that Bagoas was Alexander’s lover. This is uncertain." (The Search for Alexander ~ Little, Brown and Co. Boston, 1980, p. 67.); and even Mary Renault, who wrote a novel about a supposed relationship of Alexander and Bagoas admits that, "No historian states plainly whether they were physical lovers." (The Nature of Alexander, Pantheon Books: New York, 1975, p. 47.) How one can be labeled as having relationships with men when even those who think that he might have admit that the evidence is not there is beyond me. Also having a category such as "LGBT" is totally off base here given that such identities did not exist in ancient times. If you called Alexander Gay or Homosexual or Bisexual he probably would have looked at you like you were talking a foreign language, meaning he'd have no clue what the heck you were talking about and would never even think of identifying himself as such. These are modern identities and modern terms and should be applied to people who label themselves as such, labeling ancient and dead people with such terms when they never identified themselves as such is ridiculous and even modern scholars who believe that the ancient might have practiced in such activities are quick to point out that they can't be labeled as such. If Wiki is suppose to be taken as a serious encyclodia which bases its information on accurate academic subject material, then it should apply itself to the rules which the academic world applies and not on peoples modern point of views which is what this is. Just my two cents on the matter. Apro, 19 September 2006

Sigh. This is one of the lamest edit wars ever. Hectorian, I'm honestly puzzled by your reaction. If you know that παιδεραστία is an ancient word, then you should also understand that the article pederasty in ancient Greece] is about what that ancient word meant, and the category "Category:Greek pederasty" relates to the same ancient practice--distinct from what "pederasty" means in non-classical contexts. If you think that the pederasty in ancient Greece article gives the wrong impression about the age of the younger partner, then edit that article; but that's no reason to remove the Greek pederasty category from this article.

As far as Bagoas goes, as you say, the Curtius quote could mean that Bagoas was in his early 20s. The sources I quoted above say quite clearly that the younger partner in a pederastic relationship might be in his younger 20s. What's the problem?

Also, whatever you think the ancient sources tell us, I've quoted two secondary sources, Paul Cartledge and Robin Lane Fox. Cartledge says that the relationship between Alexander and Hephaistion, which was "likely" sexual, would have been pederastic if it started in their youth. Fox says "In youth, his great friend was Hephaestion, and surely the sexual element (frequent between young males, or and older and younger male, in Greek city-states) developed already then." Both Cartledge and Fox provide support for including the Greek pederasty category in this article.

To Apro: if you think that we should follow "the rules which the academic world applies", then I hope you'll acknowledge the secondary sources I've quoted show that many academics think that Alexander had sexual relationships with males, some of which were pederastic (as the ancient Greeks defined it). Obviously, the interpretation of the primary sources is disupted, which is why the article describes a range of opinions on this issue.

Let me reiterate something that both Haiduc and I have already said: attaching the Greek pederasty category to this article does not, in and of itself, mean that Alexander was in a pederastic relationship: people can read what the article says about this and decide for themselves. The category is just a way to say "if you're interested in Greek pederasty, you might want to read this article". Similarly, Apro's right that words llike gay, lesbian, and homosexual are anachronistic in dealing w/ancient Greece; but again, the category is simply a convenient way to steer readers to articles they might be interested in. The article itself makes the point that "the ancient Greeks saw sex as an activity, not an identifier, a viewpoint shared by contemporary cultures at the time." This disclaimer could perhaps be more clearly written, but it makes the essential point that "homosexual" wasn't a category used by the Greeks. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:30, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes and have read them but I've also quoted sources, including Robin Lane Fox and Mary Renault, which clearly state there is no evidence which points to Alexander having sexual relationships with men which is mostly based on dubious information, specifically when as I mentioned above our four main ancient sources for Alexander, Arrian, Plutarch, Quintus and Diodorus never make the claim that Hephaestion was sexually romantically involved with Alexander and Renault herself admits that as far as Bagoas is concerned and I quote "No historian states plainly whether they were physical lovers." (The Nature of Alexander, Pantheon Books: New York, 1975, p. 47.) How can one be labeled as having sexual/romantic relationships with men when: 1) our four main ancient sources of Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius and Diodorus never make the claim he was romantically involved with Hephaestion and 2) even Renault who was a advocate for the theory of a supposed "love" relationship with Bagoas has to admit we have no evidence of the fact. Is this what modern academics is based on these day? Gossip and dubious information? Thank you for informing me, I guess I must have missed that memo. As for the Category LGBT, placing ancient people in such a category is misleading to the facts mentioned above; it does not have the same ideology or meaning as most modern peoples associate it with and that is what will be misleading to people who do not know much about ancient social structures who will come to see it with their modern ideology. This article has nothing to do with LGBT issues, Alexander did not identify himself as one, he did not advocate for LGBT rights, he did not do anything to promote LGBT rights and his sexual orientation whatever it might have or not have been did not help change the world as we know it today because of it and placing him or any ancient person under the Category LGBT is erroneous. I have the same issue with Category:Greek pederasty, how can one categorize LGBT under Greek pederasty when the ideology and meaning between the two are not the same and have nothing to do with each other is beyond me. Apro, 19 September 2006
Apro, perhaps we can agree, based on the quote from Paul Cartledge, and the quotes from Robin Lane Fox, whom we both quote, that reliable sources disagree about Alexander's sexuality. Where secondary sources disagree, the NPOV policy requires that the article characterize the dispute. (Also note that where interpretation of primary sources is disputed, we rely on what secondary sources say. And it's quite certain that the interpretation of Quintus, Arrian, Plutarch, etc. is disputed.) The article covers the perspectives of different scholars, though perhaps not in a way that everyone's pleased with--that's another discussion, however. Therefore, the article has material about Alexander's relationships with men, including Hephaistion and Bagoas. We can also see that some scholars describe both of these relationships as pederastic. Therefore, the categories should be in the article, because WP readers who are interested in the topics of Greek pederasty and "LGBT people" in ancient Greece might be interested in reading about Alexander. If you truly believe that the article "will be misleading to people who do not know much about ancient social structures who will come to see it with their modern ideology," the solution is not to remove the category, but to rewrite the article so that it adequately reflects what we know about ancient social structures.
As a side note, please notice that we're both quoting Fox, and the more recent quote plainly states that Alexander's relationship w/Bagoas was definitely sexual, and his relationship with Hephaistion probably was. Either Fox changed his mind or there's something about the context of his earlier statements that we're not seeing here, but let's acknowledge that this is the same scholar. Furthermore, Renault was a novelist, not a scholar; while many people like her novels and find that they bring the ancient world alive, we shouldn't give her statements the same weight as those of a scholar's published work. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:15, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
That quote of Fox's I took directly from his biographical novel on Alexander, which I own and have read from start to finish, it was not taken out of context but that interview of Fox's was taken from an interview which he gave based on the 2004 Oliver Stone Alexander movie. Two different concepts given that Stone himself makes the claim his movie is fictionally based on Alexander and not truelly biographical. So no Fox did not change his mind nor is anything taken out of context, one is based on his scholary work on Alexander the other was given in an interview based on Stone's movie and we all know that interviews given on Hollywood movies are not the most reliable sources of scholarly works. I realize and understand very well that Renault was not a classics major nor was she a historian, even though I've come across individuals who credit her with the "know it all" on Alexander ~ which I tent to disagree ~ but she was quoted because even she, who was a supported of a supposed Bagoas relationship with Alexander admited that no such evidence existed; Fox on the other hand makes it very clear in his book on Alexander that and I quote: "Later gossip presumed that Bagoas was Alexander’s lover. This is uncertain." (The Search for Alexander ~ Little, Brown and Co. Boston, 1980, p. 67.). As far as the LGBT category goes, the article does not focus on and it does not contribute to LGBT issues and nor does it make clear that Alexander had relationships with men to begin with, those are speculations which are not proven, so as it was mentioned above the LGBT category is erroneous in regards to ancient people like Alexander and does not belong. I don't get it, is this suppose to be some sort of way to give a group of people a sense of "belonging" by supposedly claiming ancient and dead individuals based on their sexual orientation? 'Cause that does not make sense given that ancient people obviously did not identify with what the LGBT category stands for or what it means so how can it be placed as a category in places it does not belong? The same thing with Category:Greek Pederasty which should be placed under categories such as Category:History_of_human_sexuality or Category:Sexuality. Apro, 19 September 2006

So you're saying that when Fox says "He had sexual relations with males (including a eunuch)" in Archaeology, that doesn't represent his true views? Do you think he was misquoted, or what? This doesn't make any sense to me. Archaeology is published by the Archaeological Institute of America, an academic organization; Archaeology isn't a full-fledged academic journal, but I'd say it's more reliable than most magazines. Furthermore, you seem to be ignoring the quote from Paul Cartledge. So, since you didn't respond to the initial point of my last point, I'll repeat it as a question: can agree, based on the quote from Paul Cartledge, and the quotes from Robin Lane Fox, whom we both quote, that reliable sources disagree about Alexander's sexuality? If not, why don't you think the 2004 quote from Fox and the quote from Cartledge apply here? --Akhilleus (talk) 22:38, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't put much credit on interviews since in many cases the person being interviewed has been known to be misquoted or parts were left out of the interview for timely reasons. This is not done on purpose but unlike a biographical novel, where a person might say something but you also have footnotes to explain certain statements better, you do not find these in mere interviews. Which is why I said I would put more credit on Fox's biographical novel on Alexander over an interview based on a Hollywood movie. And I apologize, Akhilleus, regarding your last point, I was not ignorant it but agreeing with you that modern scholars can't really come to a complete conclusion regarding Alexander's sexualilty based on the little evidence that is provided given that none of our main ancient sources on Alexander ever claim he had sexual relationships with men, so the "he might have" or "maybe he did" do not add up to much other then speculations and last time I checked speculations do not add up to facts. Apro, 19 September 2006

Apro, thanks for the response, but I don't think we can disregard Fox's comments in the interview because people are sometimes misquoted or edited in interviews. You're essentially saying that you suspect journalistic misconduct, but in order for that to stick, I think you need to provide evidence that Archaeology isn't a reliable publication. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:55, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

No I am not saying that at all, I specifically said above that this in not done on purpose but because unlike biographical material such as his novel an interview can have misquoted interviewers or because of not enought time given to the interview certain material is left out but its not done based on journalistic misconduct, I didn't say that. :) Apro, 21 September 2006
If a journalist intentionally or intentionally misrepresents someone else's opinion, I'd call that misconduct. And that seems to be what you're saying here: we can't say whether this interview tells us what Fox really thinks because we can't trust interviews. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:22, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Anyway, his statement "Whether Alexander's relationship with the slightly older Hephaestion was ever of the sort that once dared not speak its name is not certain, but it is likely enough that it was" is straightforward; it's hard to see how the interviewer could have gotten this wrong. Furthermore, Fox's comment in Archaeology echoes what he wrote in his history of Alexander: "Hepaistion was the man whom Alexander loved, and for the rest of their lives their relationship remained as intimate as it is now irrecoverable: Alexander was only defeated once, the Cynic philosophers said long after his death, and that was by Hephaistion's thighs...In ancient Greece moderate homosexuality was an accepted companion of sex with wives and prostitutes. It was a fashion, not a perversion, and the Persians were openly said by Herodotus to have learnt it from the Greeks, ... Alexander may have grown up in a court where the conventions of age were less respected and homosexuality was practiced with the added determination of men of Dorian ancestry. At the age of thirty Alexander was still Hephaistion's lover although most young Greeks would have grown out of the fashion by then and an older man would have given up or turned to a young attraction." Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great, Dial Press, 1974, pp. 56-57. (You might be able to view these pages on, where you can search the entire book.) Incidentally, Fox's book is not a "historical novel"--novels are works of fiction, whereas Fox's book is a history or biography. An example of a historical novel is Mary Renault's book. Anyway, it should be quite clear that historians like Fox and Paul Cartledge are making statements that are stronger than "he might have". Both indicate that it is "likely" that Alexander and Hephaistion were lovers, and that Alexander and Bagoas were lovers. Not everyone agrees, of course, which is why the article discusses what the primary and secondary sources say. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:55, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

As as it was stated above that material is taken from later writers and not what the four main sources of Alexander say. This is whay Fox also is quoted in saying in his book The Search of for Alexander that no ancient scholar ever makes the claim that Alexander was the lover of Hephaistion or Bagoas and that those claims are based on later gossips. I have also read the works of all four of the ancient historians, three Greeks and one Roman, who's works most of the later material on Alexander is based on. Not one of them says that Alexander and Hephaistion were ever lovers and I've quoted above the terms which all four use to describe Hephaistion's relationship with Alexander. Curtius uses the Roman term amicus which means friend or comrade to describe Hephaestion's relationship with Alexander, never the Roman word amans for "lover"; and our Greek historians Plutarch, Arrian and Diodorus use the Greek term philos, which means friend even in modern Greek, they never used terms erastes or eromenos(which some credit to mean lover) to describe Hephaestion's relationship to Alexander and Alexander himself calls Hephaestion Phil~Alexandros(friend of Alexander). Apro, 21 September 2006

Apro, it doesn't really matter what we think the primary sources say: unless they've been published, our opinions our original research. In cases where the interpretation of the primary sources is controversial, we're supposed to rely upon authoritative secondary sources; in fact, the Wikipedia guideline on reliable sources says "In general, Wikipedia articles should not depend on primary sources but rather on reliable secondary sources who have made careful use of the primary-source material." For this article, that means we rely on historians like Robin Lane Fox and Paul Cartledge. And they say, quite clearly, that Alexander likely had sexual relationships with men. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:27, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Akhilleus, what I am saying has nothing to do with original research but what our four main ancient sources on Alexander say, and not one of them tell us that Alexander had sexual relationships with men which is why Fox says what he does in his biographical material regarding Alexander. If any original research or personal opinions are being added here it is by people like Fox and Cartledge where we are told that there is no evidence of the fact but we must believe them because they say it to be true based on dubious information they collected by authors who they themselves based on their information from our four main ancient historians who lived well after Alexander's death? That to me is not reliable second sources because what they are saying can not even be confirmed since most of it is based on dubious information taken by later writers. Apro, 22 September 2006

Original research and reliable sources are definied by Wikipedia policies. If you'll take a look at those policies, you'll see that Wikipedia is supposed to be based on secondary sources like Fox, Cartledge, and other acknowledged experts, and that our opinions of how the primary sources should be interpreted are original research. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:01, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes but as it was pointed out those same secondary sources, like Fox, are quoted in acknowledging that any refrences regarding Alexander's sexual activities can not be confirmed or verified to begin with, so anything regarding Alexander's supposed sexual activities are here say. Apro, 22 September 2006

RFC request

Greetings all. First of all let me just congratulate everyone on having a rational and largely emotionless debate. Unfortunately I can't comment on the sources too deeply since I own none of them or have not come in contact with them in the past, but I do want to warn against something troubling: we should not project modern understandings and conceptions onto the past. Someone warned about this above, but I believe this is fundamental. From an analysis of the arguments presented, my impressions are decisively against including the LGBT category. Sorry, putting this in would just bring up so many conceptual problems. The Greek Pederasty category is trickier because the secondary sources don't seem to state or imply that Alexander's actions qualify as pederasty, only that he had lovers or engaged in homosexual relationships. But Apro has challenged this notion with his own sources. As someone said above, a characterization of the dispute would be fair, but in the end I think this latter category does not belong in the article if there is such apparent disagreement in the sources and amongst you here. Certainly if it is a minority view in the scholarship of Alexander then it most definitely does not belong here.UberCryxic 05:20, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree with what UberCryxic said above. Regards. :) ~ Mallaccaos 21 September 2006

Thanks for the comments. As I've said several times, the reason for categories is to help WP readers find articles that might interest them. In addition to the objections that have been raised to Category:LGBT people from Greece, I see that it only has 3 pages right now, so it doesn't seem to be a useful way for people to find information. And there seems to be a consensus against putting Category:Greek Pederasty in this article.

However, there is a pretty sizable section in this article about Alexander's sexuality, and it is of obvious interest to anyone reading about ancient Greek homosexuality and ancient Greek sexuality in general. I strongly believe that the article should have a category that applies to this section. So, what would people think about creating a new category, Category:Homosexuality in ancient Greece, (or maybe Category:Ancient Greek homosexuality) and applying it to this article? That way, we can avoid any problems with anachronistically calling Alexander "gay", and we can avoid arguments about whether his relationships were pederastic. --Akhilleus (talk) 18:07, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe Alexander's sexuality has anything to do with this article to have a category on it and we know he had relationships with women so categorizing him as "homosexuality" does not sound correct. Also homosexuality is the same thing as gay, lesbian, bisexuality and heteorosexuality, they are all modern ideologies and did not exist in ancient times. As I said above categories which deal with ancient peoples such as Category:Greek Pederasty should be placed under categories that are in existance such as Category:History_of_human_sexuality or Category:Sexuality, those would be the approriate categories for such as Greek pederasty 'cause all the others are modern identities that we can not place as labels on ancient people who did not identify themselves as such. As far as Alexander is concerned, having any categories based on Alexander's sexuality? Why? We can't label him or any ancient as homosexual, or a gay or a bisexual or heteorosexual or lesbian or whatever because none of them would identify with any of those term given they are modern identities. Plus as it was mentioned above, Alexander's sexuality is not even mentioned or reffered to as much, except for a few sentences which are disputed from author to author and we have modern people who are writing whole books on it? It had nothing to do with Alexander's identity or this article, so I don't see the point in having a category placed when we do not even have evidence which proves much of anything and the little evidence that we do have is disputed. Apro, 21 September 2006

Actually, there's quite a bit of scholarship that investigates Homosexuality in ancient Greece, including Kenneth Dover's Greek Homosexuality. So it's not anachronistic at all to apply the word to ancient Greece, as long as we speak of homosexual acts, not homosexual identities. As this very Alexander the Great article says, "The ancient Greeks saw sex as an activity, not an identifier..." In other words, Apro is right to say that calling an ancient Greek a "homosexual" is anachronistic, but it's unquestionable that homosexual acts occurred, and many historians think that Alexander had sexual relationships with Hephaistion and Bagoas. The point of inserting any of these categories is not to label Alexander; it is, to repeat myself yet again, simply to help readers interested in ancient Greek sexuality to find the relevant portion of this article. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:38, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

And when asked those same historians can not confirm what they believe about Alexander to be true. As it was stated above Alexander's sexuality had nothing to do with this article or who he was, if that is the case we might as well add a category for heteorosexual and bisexual activities too. Heck we should just add categories like that too all biographical articles, it just does not make sense. As for homosexuality in ancient Greece, there are several articles which talks about this already on wiki, people who are interested in "homosexual" activities regarding ancient Greece can find out about them there. Alexander had nothing to do nor did he contribute to anything regarding his sexual acts, especially when it is so very clear that what little information we have about Alexander's supposed sexual relationships with Hephaistion and Bagoas come from dubious information that is disputed by scholars. Apro, 22 September 2006
I see nothing wrong with including a section about his sexuality in the article, since the information is notable and verifiable. The particular social constructions placed around it are not something I feel comfortable attempting to decide. Durova 22:00, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
The article already address this and how many contradictions are associated with it. My point is that placing sexual oriented categories in articles about ancient peoples who did not identify with the modern ideologies of them are in error and do not belong in articles like this. Apro, 22 September 2006
While I also object to the historical outing campaign, it seems a little odd to call "pederasty" an ananchronism: paiderasteia is not only a Greek word, but the standard Greek word for the activity. The real problem with the category is the question (noted in the article, I see) whether Hephaestion was a pais. JCScaliger 01:11, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
I do not think that it is his friendship with Hephaestion that is considered pederastic, but the one with Bagoas, the Persian boy. Haiduc 02:38, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Actually, both Fox and Cartledge imply that both relationships were pederastic. With Hephaistion, the idea is apparently that the relationship started when they were teenagers, and Hephaistion was slightly older. With Bagoas things are clearer, though. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:03, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

RfC request, again

I updated the RfC request. What it now asks is: "Should a category 'Homosexuality in ancient Greece', be added to reflect the extensive section on Alexander's sexuality in the article?" To expand a bit: there's material on Alexander's sexuality in the article. Should we add a category to the article that reflects this material, so this article will appear on category pages? An example of a category already in use in the article is Category:People with craters of the Moon named after them.

If we do add a category related to sexuality, what should it be? Category:LGBT people from Greece and Category:Greek Pederasty have aroused opposition. One possible alternative would be Category:Homosexuality in ancient Greece. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:16, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

The Category:Homosexuality in ancient Greece is still not correct given that as it was mentioned above the term "homosexuality" is not something ancient people like Alexander associated or identified with given that it is a modern invention and ideology and we can't really label him as such given that he also was married, of which at least that we are certain of. Plus as it was mention before his sexuality offered nothing valueable to society, it did not alter history and it was not even important given that it only is refered to in a few sentences, so having a category about it is pointless and does not make sense. As it was mentioned before, if that is the case we might as well add sexaul categories in all biographical material. Also having a crater named after you though is totally something else and it is a big event given that not every person has objects named after them in the Universe that will be there for everyone to know about for an enternity. --Apro 23 September 2006
I am a little bias to this. I don't consider Alexander homosexual. First, he had a wife. Second, Homosexuality wasn't like it was today. It wasn't the highly controversial political subject. Men had homosexual relations back then, but there wasn't this idea of being "gay". It is hard to define someone by standards that are in a new era. I don't believe it should be in a such category.--Connor K. 21:52, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

(comments by a confirmed sockpuppet removed) --Akhilleus (talk) 14:53, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

(comments removed for personal attacks and sockpuppetry) --Akhilleus (talk) 17:02, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

This dialogue is full of sock puppets and meat puppets. I donot see any point continuing it.--Yannismarou 08:05, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

"Homosexuality" right title?

Guys, just do not confuse modern-day homosexuality with the erastis-eromenos relationship of ancient Greece. This was not a homosexual relationship, at least as we know it nowadays. It was an element of culture. I donot know if "Homosexuality in ancient Greece" is the right title of the category some users want to create, including Alexander. We are not ecven sure about the sexual elements of the erastis-eromenos relationship, but it is definite that such a culture existed. For instance:

  • Alcibiades had many male lovers, but he preferred the company of Socrates, with whom we donot know how intimate his relation was.
  • Lysander was the lover (erastis) of Agesilaos II.
  • The legendary Sacred Band of Thebes was organized on the basis of erastis-eromenos couples: "homosexual(?)" couples devoed to each other. And this devotion explains the effectiveness of this particular military body.
  • In Symposium Plato (who also was the lover of a man he adored, Dion, See Letter Z') laud the love between men and regards it superior than the love between a man and a woman. Of course, for Plato, who despises paiderasty, love has mainly a spiritual meaning.

All this information is confirmed by ancient sources (Plutarch, Plato etc.) and verified by major modern scholars, like Ioannis Sykoutris. So, my conclusions are:

  • Another thing is the relation of erastis-eromenos (or paidikos eros), another thing pederasty (according to modern concepts). Most male ancient Greece were taking part in a erastis-eromenos (or paidikos eros) relationship. But not all of them were pederasts.
  • Alexander definitely was a part of this tradition. Of course, this does not mean he was a paiderast.
  • I do not understand the necessity of a Category:Homosexuality in ancient Greece. First of all, the title of the category is not accurate, because it does not clarify the particularities of the "homosexual" relation of erastis-eromenos (or paidikos eros), its particular cultural elements and its ambiguous sexual content. Second, why, in any case, do we need such a category? We should put all famous male Greek in there, but why? In order to create the wrong impression in Wikipedians, non experts in ancient Greece, that all ancient Greek males were "gays"?! But they weren't in the way we think today. Who's going to make the distiction. This would be a disaster!! Do we have to categorize all major ancient Greeks like that?--Yannismarou 07:47, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
I now show that a category:Greek pederasty exists, as well as an article Pederasty in ancient Greece. If the difference between Greek Pederasty (paidikos eros) and Modern Pederasty is clarified I'm not against such a category. But I'm still wondering, do we have to put all ancient Greeks in there? Alcibiades, Agesilaos, Lysander etc. maybe. Because there are sources, verifying that. But I donot know about Alexander. He must have had some kind of erastis-eromenos relationship, but are there any sources verifying that? I haven't searched it. I donot think we should speculate and add him in the category without specific sources mentioning his pederastic (in the ancient meaning of the term) relations.--Yannismarou 07:55, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

modern-day Alexanders

It may be too bold a suggestion, but there is some reason to believe that the extensive commentary about 'Alexander' may be attributable to the effort to historically reference those Alexanders whose homes, businesses, and farms were flooded under tons of river water after the construction of the Kinzua Dam at the NY-PA USA state border [i.e., is allusion]. Likewise, an elementary-school textbook makes sport of such Alexander the younger, and his "very bad day" when a change in maps of Arabia was envisioned [from Maskat/Mascat to 'Muscat'] although/because a refugee from the hydroelectric project. 04:04, 24 September 2006 (UTC) beadtot

I don't understand the comment above. Beadtot, can you eloborate some more as to what you mean? I'm not calling you out on this or anything, I just seriously do not understand what you are trying to say above. Thank you. :) --Apro 24 September 2006

Death - medical speculation

While traipsing through some medical literature on sodium problems I came accross a fascinating conference paper that posited some possible causes for Alexander's final illness and death. PMID 9625631 will tell you more. There was a small flurry of correspondence on that with alternative causes (from malaria to porphyria)[1]. Let me know if anyone needs help making sense out of the jargon. JFW | T@lk 11:49, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Alexander the great

Alexander the greats father got married 7 or 8 times.

Alexander had many bros. and sis. and is from macedonia