Intro: Pride v Shame in the Archaic Hellenic World (Pride month Entry 1)

Painting of Achilles tending the wounds of Patroclus, circa 500BC

 

This blog will be peppered with scattered thoughts on the notions of pride and shame over this LGBT  Pride month of June. It will explore these as they relate to same-sex love and sexuality between men:

In recent decades the gay liberation movement, which began in the US and was adapted on the other side of the Atlantic, set-off the fight to end stigma and shame  associated to same-sex sexuality.

However, it may be interesting to historicise the stigma and shame that LGBT pride has committed to fight against: What exactly is pride, what is the shame and stigma that LGBT pride fights against today – and more importantly, when precisely did same-sex love and sexuality provoke shame and stigma?

Few would disagree that same sexual activity between men of different ages in the ancient Hellenic world brought little, if any, shame to the men who formed these couplings.

The shameless pederasty of the archaic Hellenic world, however, in now definitively shameful in the early 21st century and carries legal penalties to consolidate this shame. Even sexual activity between consulting adult men is still struggling to shed the shame accumulated from recent centuries.

Shame and pride about same-sex sexuality, then, are clearly fluid constructions. They have contracted and expanded,  gained (and lost) different nuances over time. And, it is  this conceptual elasticity that will be followed on this blog over this Pride month.

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