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J Homosex. 2005;49(3-4):63-85.

The dispersion of pederasty and the athletic revolution in sixth-century BC Greece.

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Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, Unviersity of California, Riverside, 900 University Ave, 92521, USA.


Dorian Crete and Thebes are conventionally seen by ancient sources as the originators of pederasty; modern historians see support for this view in Dorian male-centered militarism and sexual segregation in upbringing. Here athletic culture, including training, nudism, and competition, is argued to be a chief 'trigger' for the emergence of pederasty in Sparta and its relatively rapid spread to other Greek states in the seventh to sixth centuries BC. Athletic nudity, in particular, was not a device to enforce civic egalitarianism, as some have argued, but is a persistently erotic incentive that reinforces hegemonic maleness and advertises the individual's virtuous exercise of restraint. In particular, Sparta is found to be the likely source of generalized athletic nudity combined with open pederasty in the early seventh century BC. Nudism in Greek art is erotically charged and not, as others argue, simply a gender marker in the seventh century. Generalized athletic nudity spread to other Greek states emulating the successful Spartan model by the 'athletic revolution' of the early sixth century. With athletic nudity, open pederasty, again following Sparta, was fostered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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