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Evolution of Ideas and Practices from Ancient Times

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Essay title: Evolution of Ideas and Practices from Ancient Times

Evolution of Ideas and Practices From Ancient Times

Plato's symposium is a array of speeches on what love meant in the society. Although the term "homosexuality" was not present in ancient times, it was something that was well practiced. Men and women still shared intercourse, but it was not thought of as wrong, or out of the norm, for there to be male and male interaction, and sometimes female and female interaction. Love, the kind shared between two males, came from physical attraction, emotional attraction and mental attraction. Love, the kind shared between a man and a woman came from emotional and mental attraction, and a need to procreate. After the times of Plato female homosexuality was completely forbidden, although male homosexuality was deemed acceptable. Marriage was often just for procreation, but there was also love involved. Homosexuality in modern times is often thought of as wrong. It is thought of as completely inappropriate for two men or for two women to be together in a sexual way. It is interesting to see how the idea and practice of homosexuality and the practice of love and marriage has evolved through the times.

There was much male and male interaction in the times of Plato. Older men often took younger men "under their wings." An older man would teach younger men about the world of love, politics, business etc. in return for sexual favors. In the beginning of "Symposium" Agathon requests that Socrates be seated next to him so that "I may touch you," he said "and have the benefit of that wise thought which came into your mind in the portico..." Agathon believed that he were to touch Socrates and be with Socrates he could learn Socrates' many wisdoms. It would not have been uncommon for the other men in the room to witness a sexual interaction between males, for they themselves surely participated in it. Although it is later learned that Socrates is not a enthusiast of sexual pleasures, he looks better upon stimulation of the brain.

Who is really to say which kind of love is the true kind of love? Aristophenes tells a story of a different people, and "Androgynous" people. In the beginning a human was one being with four arms, four hands, four legs, and four feet. This being even had two faces, on either side of the one head it shared. The being was egotistical and upset Zeus, and so Zeus cut it in half and made two of one in an attempt to humble this being. The love that Aristophenes describes can be male/male, female/female, or male/female. Zeus put the parts of privy on the front of these new beings so that they "sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another; and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed...making one of two and healing the state of man." Although if two males were two interact they would feel satisfied and then go about their daily business, and there would still be female to female companions, but they must be careful not to upset the gods for then they would all be destroyed. Aristophenes tells us that for all of life each half is wandering the earth looking for its other half, whether it be of the same sex or opposite, so that it can complete its love.

Pausanias says in his speech that there is more that one Love. First there is common love, which is of the body and not of the soul. Since common love does not discriminate and was born of a male and female parts, common love partakes in the union of male and female. The second Love of which Pausanias speaks is called heavenly love. It came from a birth in which there was no female participation so this love is a union of two males, "Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the more valiant and intelligent nature...For they love not boys, but intelligent, beings whose reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their beards begin to grow." He is telling us of love between to men, yet goes on to conclude that this love should be against the law. In the end it may have bad effects of the younger male and make him turn out corrupt. This may be the time where the homosexuality was starting to be questioned, and may be why some of it became wicked in the end.

The beginnings of the male dominance in the Greek times are seen in the start of the Olympic Games. Men participated in the nude, and homosexuality here was a sign of a masculine, virile society. It was an importance of warfare. When the times of Plato ended and the new era began homosexuality was looked at in a completely different manner. It was quite okay for a man to have homosexual relations but completely out of the question for a female to commit such acts. The roles

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