While idealizing its martial ideals, it has censored its way of love. Another pair of warrior-lovers— Harmodius and Aristogeiton —credited with the downfall of tyranny in Athens and the rise of democracy became the emblem of the city. Thus some seven hundred years separate the historian biographer and the establishment of the Spartan constitution. All aspects of the life cycle were subjoined to the aim of making soldiers fit for war and the preservation of the common weal. The naked open-air processions dried the skin, removing all traces of womanly softness. I think I ought to say something also about intimacy with boys, since this matter also has a bearing on education. But whether these scenes reflect the real goings-on at these parties is another matter.
The cups from which diners drank at these events are often painted with erotic scenes, ranging from lingering glances to full-blown orgies. As we shall see, infrequent heterosexual relations permitted by the state and the sharing of wives were intended to break down familial attachments. But our reactions are inevitably shaped by the society we live in. Lycurgus legislated marriage with a special gusto, dictating the time, the length, even the qualifications of the marriage partners. The soldier-citizens were lovers. No narrow emotions were allowed under the Sparta constitution. Aristotle tells us Sparta had laws that excused a Spartan from military service for fathering three sons, and excused him from taxes if he got a fourth. The feelings that beautiful faces and bodies rouse in us no doubt seem both personal and instinctive — just as they presumably did for the ancient Greeks who first made and enjoyed these artworks. The right to love was an acquired property. The Greeks liked their boys young Just as young brides were sexy, it was as adolescents that males were found attractive by other men. We have little idea what eye-shapes or lip-shapes were found attractive, for instance. By permitting male companionship to be the only source of permanent sexual gratification, Lycurgus guaranteed that love would remain in the service of the state. Aelian, Varied History 3. The consequence is that in such a state wealth is too highly valued, especially if the citizen fall under the dominion of their wives, after the manner of most warlike races, except the Celts and a few others who openly approve of male loves. And yet after reading extensively Plutarch, Tacitus, Suetonius, Precopius, Cicero, Josephus, etc, I have seen not one approving or even tolerant reference to homosexuality. It may reflect either a belief in the natural heterosexual lasciviousness of women, or a lack of female choice in the matter. He was an Athenian yes, but lived for many years in Sparta and led Spartan troops in battle and sent both his sons through the agoge, unlike all other sources we have he had undisputable direct access to Spartan society. This in stark contrast to the rest of Greece were females lived their entire life in a separate women's quarter and always had to be fully clothed on the rare occasion they were seen in public. The basis for this sharing of married women was not orgiastic, rather it reflected the belief that children were not so much the property of their parents as of the whole commonwealth. For they would either have to leave their fatherland or better yet life itself. Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans. Human emotions, though hotly triggered, were apt to burn themselves out in any permanent relationship. The journal is now defunct, and its availability is severely circumscribed since it is usually found in the archive stacks of university, medical libraries where access to the general public is often denied. One of the prominent Greek military figures enjoying such a relationship was Epaminondas , considered the greatest warrior-statesmen of ancient Thebes by many, including the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus. All matters, including sexual favors and the begetting of children, were mandated to insure warrior of the best calibre. State control extended even to the sexual lives of the citizen-soldiers and the women.
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