Here we will post a list of laws against homosexual and pederastic relations as recorded in the text of Aeschines known as Against Timarchus.

But first lets add a little bit of info. We’re in the middle of the 4th cent. BC during which the 2nd Athenean Alliance is in a great crisis due to the continuous growing power of Philip. The Atheneans, are separated into two major groups, one lead by Demosthenes and Hyperides which considers Philip nothing more than a tyrranic conqueror which will enslave and alienate the Atheneans and the rest of the Hellenes from their democratic norms and a secondlead by Isocrates, Phokion and Aeschines which see him as the great hope to finally unite the Hellenes under one leader and destroy the Barbarian threat (see Persian empire). Under the circumstances one can understand that backstabing, accusations of treason, bribery..etc were common.

In an attempt to present the agreement made by the Athenean ambassadors and Philip as void (since it desolved 2nd Athenean Alliance), Demosthenes’ “group” accused Aeschines of taking bribes from Philip. Aeschines’ prosecutor is Timarchus, a member of Demosthenes “group”. Aeschines, instead of trying to refute the accusations against him, takes a totally different turn and tries to totally avoid the trial by making reference to laws that existed since the time of Solon (7th cent. BC) and by doing so, literally deprived Timarchus of all his political rights.


Aeschines, Against Timarchus 12

Hellenic Original

[Οἱ δὲ τῶν παίδων διδάσκαλοι ἀνοιγέτωσαν μὲν τὰ διδασκαλεῖα μὴ πρότερον ἡλίου ἀνιόντος, κλειέτωσαν δὲ πρὸ ἡλίου δύνοντος. καὶ μὴ ἐξέστω τοῖς ὑπὲρ τὴν τῶν παίδων ἡλικίαν οὖσιν εἰσιέναι τῶν παίδων ἔνδον ὄντων, ἐὰν μὴ υἱὸς διδασκάλου ἢ ἀδελφὸς ἢ θυγατρὸς ἀνήρ: ἐὰν δέ τις παρὰ ταῦτ᾽ εἰσίῃ, θανάτῳ ζημιούσθω. καὶ οἱ γυμνασιάρχαι τοῖς Ἑρμαίοις μὴ εἄτωσαν συγκαθιέναι μηδένα τῶν ἐν ἡλικίᾳ τρόπῳ μηδενί: ἐὰν δὲ ἐπιτρέπῃ καὶ μὴ ἐξείργῃ τοῦ γυμνασίου, ἔνοχος ἔστω ὁ γυμνασιάρχης τῷ τῆς ἐλευθέρων φθορᾶς νόμῳ. οἱ δὲ χορηγοὶ οἱ καθιστάμενοι ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου ἔστωσαν τὴν ἡλικίαν ὑπὲρ τετταράκοντα ἔτη


The teachers of the boys shall open the school-rooms not earlier than sunrise, and they shall close them before sunset. No person who is older than the boys shall be permitted to enter the room while they are there, unless he be a son of the teacher, a brother, or a daughter’s husband. If any one enter in violation of this prohibition, he shall be punished with death. The superintendents of the gymnasia shall under no conditions allow any one who has reached the age of manhood to enter the contests of Hermes together with the boys. A gymnasiarch who does permit this and fails to keep such a person out of the gymnasium, shall be liable to the penalties prescribed for the seduction of free-born youth. Every choregus who is appointed by the people shall be more than forty years of age

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 13

Hellenic Original

ἐάν τινα ἐκμισθώσῃ ἑταιρεῖν πατὴρ ἢ ἀδελφὸς ἢ θεῖος ἢ ἐπίτροπος ἢ ὅλως τῶν κυρίων τις, κατ᾽ αὐτοῦ μὲν τοῦ παιδὸς οὐκ ἐᾷ γραφὴν εἶναι, κατὰ δὲ τοῦ μισθώσαντος καὶ τοῦ μισθωσαμένου, τοῦ μὲν ὅτι ἐξεμίσθωσε, τοῦ δὲ ὅτι, φησίν, ἐμισθώσατο


if any boy is let out for hire as a prostitute, whether it be by father or brother or uncle or guardian, or by any one else who has control of him, prosecution is not to he against the boy himself, but against the man who let him out for hire and the man who hired him

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 16

Hellenic Original

[Ἄν τις Ἀθηναίων έλεύθερον παῖδα ὑβρίσῃ, γραφέσθω ὁ κύριος τοῦ παιδὸς πρὸς τοὺς θεσμοθέτας, τίμημα ἐπιγραψάμενος. οὗ δ᾽ ἂν τὸ δικαστήριον καταψηφίσηται, παραδοθεὶς τοῖς ἕνδεκα τεθνάτω αὐθημερόν. ἐὰν δὲ εἰς ἀργύριον καταψηφισθῇ, ἀποτεισάτω ἐν ἕνδεκα ἡμέραις μετὰ τὴν δίκην, ἐὰν μὴ παραχρῆμα δύνηται ἀποτίνειν: ἕως δὲ τοῦ ἀποτεῖσαι εἱρχθήτω. ἔνοχοι δὲ ἔστασαν ταῖσδε ταῖς αἰτίαις καὶ οἱ εἰς τὰ οἰκετικὰ σώματα ἐξαμαρτάνοντες.]


If any Athenian shall outrage a free-born child, the parent or guardian of the child shall demand a specific penalty. If the court condemn the accused to death, he shall be delivered to the constables and be put to death the same day. If he be condemned to pay a fine, and be unable to pay the fine immediately, he must pay within eleven days after the trial, and he shall remain in prison until payment is made. The same action shall hold against those who abuse the persons of slaves.

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 17

Hellenic Original

ἴσως ἂν οὖν τις θαυμάσειεν ἐξαίφνης ἀκούσας, τί δή ποτ᾽ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ τῷ τῆς ὕβρεως προσεγράφη τοῦτο τὸ ῥῆμα, τὸ τῶν δούλων. τοῦτο δὲ ἐὰν σκοπῆτε, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, εὑρήσετε ὅτι πάντων ἄριστα ἔχει: οὐ γὰρ ὑπὲρ τῶν οἰκετῶν ἐσπούδασεν ὁ νομοθέτης, ἀλλὰ βουλόμενος ὑμᾶς ἐθίσαι πολὺ ἀπέχειν τῆς τῶν ἐλευθέρων ὕβρεως, προσέγραψε μηδ᾽ εἰς τοὺς δούλους ὑβρίζειν. ὅλως δὲ ἐν δημοκρατίᾳ τὸν εἰς ὁντινοῦν ὑβριστήν, τοῦτον οὐκ ἐπιτήδειον ἡγήσατο εἶναι συμπολιτεύεσθαι.


Now perhaps some one, on first hearing this law, may wonder for what possible reason this word “slaves” was added in the law against outrage. But if you reflect on the matter, fellow citizens, you will find this to be the best provision of all. For it was not for the slaves that the lawgiver was concerned, but he wished to accustom you to keep a long distance away from the crime of outraging free men, and so he added the prohibition against the outraging even of slaves. In a word, he was convinced that in a democracy that man is unfit for citizenship who outrages any person whatsoever.

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 21

Hellenic Original

Ἐάν τις Ἀθηναῖος ἑταιρήσῃ, μὴ ἐξέστω αὐτῷ τῶν ἐννέα ἀρχόντων γενέσθαι, μηδ᾽ ἱερωσύνην ἱερώσασθαι, μηδὲ συνδικῆσαι τῷ δήμῳ, μηδὲ ἀρχὴν ἀρχέτω μηδεμίαν, μήτε ἔνδημον μήτε ὑπερόριον, μήτε κληρωτὴν μήτε χειροτονητήν, μηδ᾽ ἐπὶ κηρυκείαν ἀποστελλέσθω, μηδὲ γνώμην λεγέτω, μηδ᾽ εἰς τὰ δημοτελῆ ἱερὰ εἰσίτω, μηδ᾽ ἐν ταῖς κοιναῖς στεφανηφορίαις στεφανούσθω, μηδ᾽ ἐντὸς τῆς ἀγορᾶς τῶν περιρραντηρίων πορευέσθω. ἐὰν δέ τις παρὰ1 ταῦτα ποιῇ, καταγνωσθέντος αὐτοῦ ἑταιρεῖν, θανάτῳ ζημιούσθω


If any Athenian shall have prostituted his person, he shall not be permitted to become one of the nine archons, nor to discharge the office of priest, nor to act as an advocate for the state, nor shall he hold any office whatsoever, at home or abroad, whether filled by lot or by election; he shall not be sent as a herald; he shall not take part in debate, nor be present at public sacrifices; when the citizens are wearing garlands, he shall wear none; and he shall not enter within the limits of the place that has been purified for the assembling of the people. If any man who has been convicted of prostitution act contrary to these prohibitions, he shall be put to death.

Here we must note a mistake in the translation.
While the translation speaks of “prostituting his person” the original makes no reference what so ever to “prostitution” but clearly states ἑταιρήσῃ .
According to the comprehensive “Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon” ἑταιρήσῃ = unchastity.

The difference is indicated further in the text:

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 29

Hellenic Original

φησί, “μὴ ἐστρατευμένος, ὅσαι ἂν αὐτῷ προσταχθῶσιν, ἢ τὴν ἀσπίδα ἀποβεβληκώς,” δίκαια λέγων. τί δή ποτε; ἄνθρωπε, τῇ πόλει, ὑπὲρ ἧς τὰ ὅπλα μὴ τίθεσαι ἢ διὰ δειλίαν μὴ δυνατὸς εἶ ἐπαμῦναι, μηδὲ συμβουλεύειν βουλεύειν ἀξίου. τρίτον τίσι διαλέγεται; “ἢ πεπορνευμένος,”φησίν, “ἢ ἡταιρηκώς:” τὸν γὰρ τὸ σῶμα τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἐφ᾽ ὕβρει πεπρακότα, καὶ τὰ κοινὰ τῆς πόλεως ῥᾳδίως ἡγήσατο ἀποδώσεσθαι. τέταρτον τίσι διαλέγεται


“Or the man who has failed to perform all the military service demanded of him, or who has thrown away his shield.” And he is right. Why? Man, if you fail to take up arms in behalf of the state, or if you are such a coward that you are unable to defend her, you must not claim the right to advise her, either. Whom does he specify in the third place? “Or the man,” he says, “who has debauched or prostituted himself.” For the man who has made traffic of the shame of his own body, he thought would be ready to sell the common interests of the city also. But whom does he specify in the fourth place?

The use of both terms πεπορνευμένος (according to Liddle & Scott “to prostitue” and ἡταιρηκώς ( according to Liddle & Scott = to keep company) clearly indicates that the laws did NOT apply ONLY to those that had prostituted themselves, but also to those that had formed homosexual relations.

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 46

Hellenic Original

ἐὰν μὲν οὖν ἐθελήσῃ ὁ Μισγόλας δεῦρο παρελθὼν τἀληθῆ μαρτυρεῖν, τὰ δίκαια ποιήσει: ἐὰν δὲ προαιρῆται ἐκκλητευθῆναι μᾶλλον ἢ τἀληθῆ μαρτυρεῖν, ὑμεῖς τὸ ὅλον πρᾶγμα συνίδετε. εἰ γὰρ ὁ μὲν πράξας αἰσχυνεῖται καὶ προαιρήσεται χιλίας μᾶλλον δραχμὰς ἀποτεῖσαι τῷ δημοσίῳ, ὥστε μὴ δεῖξαι τὸ πρόσωπον τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ὑμῖν, ὁ δὲ πεπονθὼς δημηγορήσει, σοφὸς ὁ νομοθέτης ὁ τοὺς οὕτω βδελυροὺς ἐξείργων ἀπὸ τοῦ βήματος.


If therefore Misgolas is willing to come forward here and testify to the truth, he will be doing what is right; but if he prefers to refuse the summons rather than testify to the truth, the whole business will be made clear to you. For if the man who did the thing is going to be ashamed of it and choose to pay a thousand drachmas into the treasury rather than show his face before you, while the man to whom it has been done is to be a speaker in your assembly, then wise indeed was the lawgiver who excluded such disgusting creatures from the platform.

We move on to Misgolas, Timarchus’ ‘lover’s’ testimony, (who makes no reference to payment) the accounts of others and the conclusion that he not only had homosexual relations but also prosituted himself.

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 52

Hellenic Original

ἐὰν δ᾽ ὑμᾶς ἀναμνήσας ἐπιδείξω, ὑπερβαίνων τούσδε τοὺς ἀγρίους, Κηδωνίδην καὶ Αὐτοκλείδην καὶ Θέρσανδρον, αὐτοὺς δὲ λέγων ὧν ἐν ταῖς οἰκίαις ἀνειλημμένος γέγονε, μὴ μόνον παρὰ τῷ Μισγόλᾳ μεμισθαρνηκότα αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῷ σώματι, ἀλλὰ καὶ παρ᾽ ἑτέρῳ καὶ πάλιν παρ᾽ ἄλλῷ, καὶ παρὰ τούτου ὡς ἕτερον ἐληλυθότα, οὐκέτι δήπου φανεῖται μόνον ἡταιρηκώς, ἀλλὰ (μὰ τὸν Διόνυσον οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅπως δυνήσομαι περιπλέκειν ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν) καὶ πεπορνευμένος: ὁ γὰρ εἰκῇ τοῦτο καὶ πρὸς πολλοὺς πράττων καὶ μισθοῦ, αὐτῷ μοι δοκεῖ τούτῳ ἔνοχος εἶναι.


But if, saying nothing about these bestial fellows, Cedonides, Autocleides, and Thersandrus, and simply telling the names of those in whose houses he has been an inmate, I refresh your memories and show that he is guilty of selling his person not only in Misgolas’ house, but in the house of another man also, and again of another, and that from this last he went to still another, surely you will no longer look upon him as one who has merely been a kept man, but—by Dionysus, I don’t know how I can keep glossing the thing over all day long—as a common prostitute. For the man who follows these practices recklessly and with many men and for pay seems to me to be chargeable with precisely this.

While the translation “kept man” may be misleading, the definition provided by the Liddle and Scott provides little doubt to what is actually written.

Finally a quote that actually depicts what they believed about such relations:

Aeschines, Against Timarchus 185

Hellenic Original

ἔπειθ᾽ οἱ μὲν πατέρες ὑμῶν οὕτω περὶ τῶν αἰσχρῶν καὶ καλῶν διεγίγνωσκον, ὑμεῖς δὲ Τίμαρχον τὸν τοῖς αἰσχίστοις ἐπιτηδεύμασιν ἔνοχον ἀφήσετε; τὸν ἄνδρα μὲν καὶ ἄρρενα τὸ σῶμα, γυναικεῖα δὲ ἁμαρτήματα ἡμαρτηκότα; τίς οὖν ὑμῶν γυναῖκα λαβὼν ἀδικοῦσαν τιμωρήσεται; ἢ τίς οὐκ ἀπαίδευτος εἶναι δόξει τῇ μὲν κατὰ φύσιν ἁμαρτανούσῃ χαλεπαίνων, τῷ δὲ παρὰ φύσιν ἑαυτὸν ὑβρίσαντι συμβούλῳ χρώμενος;


Such, then, was the judgment of your fathers concerning things shameful and things honorable; and shall their sons let Timarchus go free, a man chargeable with the most shameful practices, a creature with the body of a man defiled with the sins of a woman? In that case, who of you will punish a woman if he finds her in wrong doing? Or what man will not be regarded as lacking intelligence who is angry with her who errs by an impulse of nature, while he treats as adviser the man who in despite of nature has sinned against his own body?

The phrase παρὰ φύσιν ἑαυτὸν ὑβρίσαντι (to wax wanton himself against nature) actually says it all.


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