Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, by John Boswell

  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    May 29, 2009 6:16 AM GMT
    Has anyone read it or know anything about it? I've read the first 50 pages or so, and this is amazing scholarly work! Most of what I've in the past is boring, but this is truly fascinating.

    My thought about it so far is: looking back on the past, marriage has changed dramatically in Western culture. The primary reason for marriage was to create wealth and keep it in families. I haven't reached the same-sex union part, but gay sex still happened!

    Any thoughts?
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    May 29, 2009 7:55 AM GMT
    Oh come on! Am I the only nerd on here? icon_sad.gif
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    May 29, 2009 8:54 AM GMT
    Interesting looking book...

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/handle-buy-box/ref=dp_start-bbf_1_glance
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    May 29, 2009 9:40 AM GMT
    http://www.amazon.com/Same-Sex-Unions-Premodern-Europe-Boswell/dp/0679751645/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243589959&sr=8-1

    That might work. Caslon you're link didn't work. lol Didn't think to put one up myself. But yes it is a very interesting book so far.
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    May 29, 2009 9:59 AM GMT
    Meh. I've had enough about baiting the church. Hint at a couple of saints being lovers and they'll scream hellfire at you for being 'revisionist', notwithstanding that revisionism has a looong history in the catholic church.

    And yes, marriage was first and foremost to create heirs. The greeks especially married simply to bear sons (and avoid daughters, so they won't have to pay dowries). They still pursued homosexual relationships quite readily when available and in practices of pederasty. You can see examples of this in mythology, where the hero has a wife/damsel-in-distress while still maintaining a trusty shield-bearer/squire/male lover on the sidelines. Hercules is a prime example, having had relationships with both men (Iolaeus and Hylas) and women. They kept homosexual and heterosexual relationships separate - the former a matter of passion, love, and male friendship; the latter of passion, love, and marriage/reproduction/and even work. In most cases, men were for pleasure, women were for work. With certain exceptions like the elite warrior group The Sacred Band of Thebes who were composed of 300 purely homosexual warriors and had no need for wives to maintain their status in Theban society (Interestingly, modern Greece, one of the most homophobic countries in the modern times, still honors them. They were finally defeated during Phillip II's invasion of greece, when they refused to retreat when all their allies had and died fighting the much larger macedonian forces. The site of their graves has a lion statue as a memorial to their courage).

    Celts also had the same thing going. But unlike romans and greeks (and middle easterners as well including semitic cultures) whose women were little more than house slaves, their society was much more gender equal, even leaning towards women at times. Men also slept with men, and married women to sire children, and it was no big deal.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    May 29, 2009 4:25 PM GMT
    I've bought it as well, but haven't started reading it yet. Looking forward to reading it (maybe this summer).
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    May 29, 2009 4:57 PM GMT
    Simply_Drew saidHas anyone read it


    No, but it's on my shelf, and that's almost as good, right? icon_smile.gif

    Okay, seriously, I paged through it at some point and it's still on the shelf because I must have found it interesting. But I'm trying to get rid of stuff, so if anyone in NYC wants to pick it up while the discussion here is hot hot hot, it's free, come get it.

    Might as well be read, poor book.
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    May 29, 2009 5:46 PM GMT
    I sort of want to get to the end of the book now. Maybe that's what I'll spend my day doing lol
  • Tiran

    Posts: 227

    May 31, 2009 7:04 AM GMT
    Ive had it for years, read it a long time ago. Have one of his other books as well. The information is interesting enough, but I use the book when I can not sleep.
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    May 31, 2009 7:39 AM GMT
    Like most books about "pre modern" Europe (even back to Antiquity), the weight of the study is embedded in translation at which point historiography cannot suffice and cultural studies takes over.