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HOMO HISTORY 101
SOCRATES, (469 – 399 BC)of
Athens, the most influential thinker (470-
399 BC). Diogenes Laërtius tells that as a boy
Socrates was loved by his teacher Archelaus,
which is confirmed by Porphyrius, who
says that as a youth of 17 Socrates did not
disdain the love of Archelaus, because he
was then very sensual. Later he managed to
overcome this by eager brain-work. Socrates
did not write himself, and his remarks about
pederasty, as handed down by others, are not
unequivocal. In the upshot, one may suppose
that, as a Greek, he had an eye for the beauty
of boys and young men. Also to him it was
absolutely necessary to keep company with
youths, but usually he renounced the physical
activity of this love. He could do without
sensualism because he compensated it by his
incomparable art of shaping the souls of the
youths and leading them as far as possible
to perfection. He presented this power of
continence as ideal also to others; still, it is
nowhere documented that he demanded
of everybody to follow his example, which
besides would have been inconsistent with
the wisdom of "the wisest of all Greeks".
Socrates' most famous disciple
PLATO (427-347 BC) founded the Academy
of Athens in 386, the first institution of
higher learning in the Western world..
"Platonic", i.e. chaste pederasty, is a frequent
and important theme of his writings. Among
the boys whom he loved were Agathon, Dion,
Alexis, Aster. He was a philosopher, as well as
mathematician.He is considered an essential
figure in the development of philosophy,
especially the Western tradition, Along with
his teacher Socrates and his most famous
student, Aristotle, Plato laid the foundations
of Western philosophy and science. Alfred
North Whitehead once noted: "the safest
general characterization of the European
philosophical tradition is that it consists of a
series of footnotes to Plato.
Plato's disciple ARISTOTLE (384-
322 BC), the philosopher and universal scholar,
whose ideas, notably his logic, dominated
European thought for many centuries.
According to antique historians he had love
affairs with several of his adolescent students,
among them the "ravishing" Nicanor. His
writings cover many subjects – including
physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic,
ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music,
rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government
and constitute the first comprehensive
system of Western philosophy.
Another disciple of Socrates,
ARISTIPPUS (ca. 435-355 BC), founded
a hedonistic school of philosophy, similar to
the later epicurism: A wise man should enjoy
all lust but not let himself be governed by it.
He loved a boy named Euthichydes.
EURIPIDES (480-406 BC), the
youngest of the three eminent Athenian
tragedians, whose works reflect the doubts
and insecurity of a skeptical mind and
therefore have a special appeal to our time.
He wrote 92 plays, of which 17 tragedies and
one satiric drama have been preserved. One
of the lost plays of Euripides was a tragedy
entitled "Chrysippos" which treated the love
of King Laios, the father of Oedipus, for the
boy of that name. Very likely Euripides was
caused to write it by the personal experience
of his love for AGATHON, who was then a
youth praised for his beauty as well as for
his culture, and who later became himself a
respectable playwright. In Plato's Symposium
he appears as the host at a feast to celebrate
the prize he has won for a drama. To all
appearances the relationship between the
two poets remained amorous and sexual long
after the younger one had passed the age up
to which this was regarded as becoming, and
therefore the comedian Aristophanes made
them the butt of gross jokes..
If you want to learn more about your gay heritage and those who paved the way, through activism,
sacrifice, courage and civil disobedience to give us a better and freer life you can visit The Stonewall
Museum & Archives in Wilton Manors. We should all know who our gay heroes are and be thankful for
what they did on our behalf.
History was never as straight as we are told.
Recording our history means reporting the truth.
In 'The School of Athens,' a fresco
painted by Rafael in 1511, Aristotle
(in blue) and Plato (in red) are depicted
conversing among many other great
students of philosophy.
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