Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ideology for a Hellenistic Renaissance

Sergeant to Enyalios,
the great god War,
I practise double labor.
With poetry, the lovees gift,
I serve the lady Muses.
- Archilochus, "1st Fragment"

6 comments:

FreeThinke said...

Homosexuality in ancient Greece
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


[ILLUSTRATION: Young man and teenager engaging in intercrural sex, fragment of a black-figure Attic cup, 550 BC–525 BC, Louvre]

In classical antiquity, writers such as Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Athenaeus, and many others explored aspects of homosexual love in ancient Greece. The most widespread and socially significant form of homosexual relations in ancient Greece occurred between adult men and pubescent or adolescent boys, known as pederasty (marriages in Ancient Greece between men and women were also age structured, with men in their thirties commonly taking wives in their early teens).

Though homosexual relationships between adult men did exist, at least one member of each of these relationships flouted social conventions by assuming a passive sexual role. It is unclear how such relations between women were regarded in the general society, but examples do exist as far back as the time of Sappho.


The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier as modern Western societies have done. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.

This active/passive polarization corresponded with dominant and submissive social roles: the active (penetrative) role was associated with masculinity, higher social status, and adulthood, while the passive role was associated with femininity, lower social status, and youth. ...

CONTENTS

1 Pederasty
1.1 In the military
2 Love between adult men
2.1 Achilles and Patroclus
2.2 Historical adult male couples
3 Sapphic love
4 Scholarship and controversy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Greece

-FJ said...

That's queer!

Plutarch, in Moralia (2nd century), tells of the bravery of the women of Argos, in the 5th century BC, who repulsed the attacks of kings of Sparta. The survivors erected a temple to Ares Enyalius by the road where they fell: After the city was saved, they buried the women who had fallen in battle by the Argive road, and as a memorial to the achievements of the women who were spared they dedicated a temple to Ares Enyalius... Up to the present day they celebrate the Festival of Impudence (Hybristika) on the anniversary [of the battle], putting the women into men's tunics and cloaks and the men in women's dresses and head-coverings.

-FJ said...

Let's all celebrate the Hybristika!

FreeThinke said...

The theater in Shakespeare's time did nothing but (virtually) celebrate Hybristika as did the European opera houses of the Renaissance and Baroque eras.

The original Juliet was a young man. The original Lady Macbeth was most probably a considerably older young man. The roles of King Lear's three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and even sweet Cordelia, were all created by men at the Globe.

Even today the three witches in Macbeth are often played by men.

The Princeton Triangle Club -- an elite all male organization in a once-all-male university, -- upheld a tradition of writing, producing and performing an original musical play each year generated entirely by club members. All the male and female roles were always played by the college men.


The role of Katisha, the homely, lovelorn Royal princess in Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado is often sung by a man I've seen i dine both ways, and frankly a male Katisha is much more fun -- and far more effective -- dramatically -- than a good female contralto. The ladies always seem to take their singing too seriously and forge the part is essentially hat of a rather pathetic CLOWN-like figure.

The witch in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel is another case in point. Men, it seems, make very convincing witches onstage. ;-)

And who could ever forget Mary Martin's legendary performance as Peter Pan?

In the standard repertoire of grand opera today "trouser roles" (women, usually mezzo-sopranos, portraying young males) abound.

And so it goes ... Fashions change. Notions of propriety change as easily, perhaps, as fashion.

Taking the ling view I must agree with Shakespeare who said, "There's nothing either right or wrong, but thinking makes it so."

Though she never played he part onstage, he late, exceedingly great Judith Anderson was famous among the cognoscenti for her striking portrayal of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Sarah Bernhardt before her actually played the part onstage! She, of course, if all he stories about her are rue was capable of almost anything. She no only played Hamlet onstage, when past the age of eighty she also played Juliet to packed houses -- with a wooden leg, if you would believe.

"... There are more things in heaven and earth than are included in your philosophy, Horatio. ..."

Ah! the good old Bard! Was there anything for which he did not pen an appropriate observation?

Thersites said...

You left out Portia, from Merchant of Venice... ;)

No, Shakespeare had life pretty well covered.

FreeThinke said...

I left out Virginia Woolf's Orlando too.

I ain't tryin' ta write no friggen encykolpeedia ya know.