— Mae D'Amico, History in the Making

David Cohen, Homosexuality in Ancient Athens

David Cohen is analyzing an interesting topic in his article, Homosexuality in Ancient Athens.  The subject Cohen in addressing is studied by many anthropologists, the subject being: sexual preferences outside current societal norms.  Cohen researches the topic by studying it through Athenian law and how that law portrays their views on homosexuality   Cohen’s thesis seems to be that to understand Athenian homosexuality, one must investigate more into what the the laws and social norms were at the time pertaining to sexuality.

Cohen seems to ask certain questions in his article.  How do Athenians see sexuality?  More specifically, what was considered normal sexuality?  How were the fears of incest presented in Athenian law?  How are their views of sexuality portrayed in their laws?  How do writers of that time discuss sexuality?  How did the relationship between men and women effect homosexual behaviors?

Cohen’s concludes that there is no one Athenian attitude when it comes to pederasty.  Athens had very widely varied laws and views depending on where someone lived.  To try and simplify or rationalize all of Athenians views on homosexuality would diminish our understanding of their complex culture.