Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

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Kitsune
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Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by Kitsune » 2008-12-19 05:11pm

I realize quite likely that it might have changed throughout the history of the Roman Republic / Empire through their history. I am just curious how they treated it?
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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by Kitsune » 2008-12-19 05:39pm

Stark wrote:Do you mean adults fucking four year olds, adults fucking teenagers, men fucking boys, or what?
You read stuff that they seem to have had men fucking boys but what kind of ages was common and was it allowed but disliked or what was the general attitude......
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Thomas Paine

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."
Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV)

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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by Stark » 2008-12-19 05:42pm

Questions end in question marks, buddy.

From what I've read about the late republic it seemed to be not unusual in high society for young men to form homosexual relationships with older men, although embarrassing for them to do so. I'm sure Thanas can explain in more detail.

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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by TC Pilot » 2008-12-19 06:19pm

Emperor Tiberius spent his later years on a private luxury island where he supposedly paid for children to run around naked, or be his "Little Minows" while he swam in the nude.

Those kinds of things were thoroughly abhorrent to the "moral, upstanding" Roman.

Adolescent homosexuality was more a Greek thing, and wasn't at all considered incompatible with heterosexual relations in later life. But whether Greek culture permeated that deep into Roman society is something I'm not sure about, though I'd wager "not likely."
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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by Thanas » 2008-12-19 06:33pm

I really would prefer it if people could ask precise questions. That said, I will try to answer it as best as I can.

As far as I can understand your question, you seem to be asking if there was a practice of pedastery (adult men and young boys/adults) in ancient rome, how widespread it was and how society at large thought about it.

The answer to that is a bit complex, I am afraid. In general, you have to differentiate between roman citizens and non-citizens. Between roman citizens, it was considered shameful to be the passive part during sex. He who did penetrate was the active partner. By rule of thumb, male citizens should be active and female citizens should be passive. Therefore, he who did allow himself to be the passive partner in homosexual sex had lost his virtus aka his manliness. A loss of virtus directly translated to the loss of all prestige and meant that one could abandon any hopes of ever having a career. On the other hand, being the one who penetrated did not carry any loss of prestige as long as one did not do it with a roman citizen. Especially having sex with roman children was one of the worst charges possible (note that Tacitus especially critizises Tiberius for violating roman children, not for having sex in general. Nero is likewise critizised for being the passive partner in sexual escapades).

Sex among roman men was punishable by law and by death when it occured amongst soldiers. Toga-lifter therefore was quite the insult to a soldier. Man who were passive in anal sex were called cinaedus or pathicus, which can be translated as "bottom".

Now, the legal loophole was that one had the option of resorting to slaves and foreigners. Foreigners of course could not be forced to have sex with a roman, but they were exempt from the laws since virtus only was found amongst the romans. Slaves were fair game since they were considered things (res).

In general, however, sex amongst men or children never seemed to have been regarded as highly as the greeks. Note that what a roman man did with his slaves was largely his business and it was only the intervention of the emperors like Vespasian and Trajan which first introduced large slave-protecting legislation (outlawing the emanciation of boys etc).
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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by Thanas » 2008-12-19 06:34pm

TC Pilot wrote:Emperor Tiberius spent his later years on a private luxury island where he supposedly paid for children to run around naked, or be his "Little Minows" while he swam in the nude.
The charge is here that Tiberius did so with roman children, not with slaves.
Those kinds of things were thoroughly abhorrent to the "moral, upstanding" Roman.
No, only if it was done with roman children.
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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by TC Pilot » 2008-12-19 06:53pm

I admit that distinction hadn't dawned on me. Perhaps something is lost in the translation, but in my copy, they are simply "little boys, whom he called his 'minnows.'"
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Re: Roman Republic / Empire & Pedophilia

Post by Thanas » 2008-12-19 07:13pm

TC Pilot wrote:I admit that distinction hadn't dawned on me. Perhaps something is lost in the translation, but in my copy, they are simply "little boys, whom he called his 'minnows.'"
Yes, you are correct about that part:
Sueton wrote:Maiore adhuc ac turpiore infamia flagravit, vix ut referri audirive, nedum credi fas sit, quasi pueros primae teneritudinis, quos pisciculos vocabat, institueret, ut natanti sibi inter femina versarentur ac luderent lingua morsuque sensim adpetentes; atque etiam quasi infantes firmiores, necdum tamen lacte depulsos, inguini ceu papillae admoveret, pronior sane ad id genus libidinis et natura et aetate. 2 Quare Parrasi quoque tabulam, in qua Meleagro Atalanta ore morigeratur, legatam sibi sub condicione, ut si argumento offenderetur decies pro ea sestertium acciperet, non modo praetulit, sed et in cubiculo dedicavit. Fertur etiam in sacrificando quondam captus facie ministri acerram praeferentis nequisse abstinere, quin paene vixdum re divina peracta ibidem statim seductum constupraret simulque fratrem eius tibicinem; atque utrique mox, quod mutuo flagitium exprobrarant, crura fregisse.
However, note the last part, where he talks about an acolyte and his brother- those would have been romans.
Feminarum quoque, et quidem illustrium, capitibus quanto opere solitus sit inludere, evidentissime apparuit Malloniae cuiusdam exitu, quam perductam nec quicquam amplius pati constantissime recusantem delatoribus obiecit ac ne ream quidem interpellare desiit, "ecquid paeniteret"; donec ea relicto iudicio domum se abripuit ferroque transegit, obscaenitate oris hirsuto atque olido seni clare exprobrata. Unde nota in Atellanico exhodio proximis ludis adsensu maximo excepta percrebruit, "hircum vetulum capreis naturam ligurire."
Note the first sentence, where Sueton specifically complains that his lust did not even stop when it came to women of high birth.

You are certainly correct that there is no direct claim. However, given that at that time slave protecting laws were not in place, nobody would have cared. Note that Sueton himself also admits Augustus liked to sleep with young girls. The distinction is largely made based on the legal knowledge we have, not on Sueton himself.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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