Yesterday, while reviewing countless scholarly articles for my dissertation, I frequently encountered references to homosexual liaisons in ancient Greece, most of these taking place in the Archaic and early Classical Age, just as Greece was preparing to defeat the Persians and “define” Western Civilization.
These references reminded me how regularly I came across such homosexual hanky-panky in studying Roman history in the era preceding its imperial greatness. And I thought of all the times I had read or heard certain extreme social conservatives attribute social acceptance of homosexuality as signaling the fall of these great civilizations.
So, I wondered, I mean, if homosexuality was the cause of their decline, why didn’t these civilizations fall sooner when homosexuality was more prevalent. And how the heck did they rise in the first place if they had been so accepting of homosexuality?
By their (extreme social conservatives’) logic then, homosexuality contributed to the rise of these civilizations . Now, I don’t think homosexuality alone led to the rise of Greece and Rome, but do find it interesting that they rose to greatness while tolerant of expressions of homosexuality even if they didn’t accord same-sex relationships the same status as they accorded to different-sex ones.