Ancient Irish had gay marriage?

Jetavan

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Princeton University's Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History Emeritus Dr. Peter Brown presented the 30th Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture. Starting around 13:10, Dr Brown makes an interesting claim. Brown says that Bardaisan of Edessa and his disciples, around 220 AD, in his/their "Book of the Laws of the Countries", described, for instance, the Chinese culture as one free of thieves or prostitutes, whereas the Persians practiced incest with their mothers, and the Irish (as Brown, of Irish descent, laments) "were known to have favored gay marriages".
 

Romaios

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In the North, and in the country of the Gauls and their neighbours, such youths among them as are handsome the men take as wives, and they even have feasts on the occasion; and it is not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach, because of the law which prevails among them.  But it is a thing impossible that all those in Gaul who are branded with this disgrace should at their Nativities have had Mercury posited with Venus in the house of Saturn, and within the limits of Mars, and in the signs of the zodiac to the west.  For, concerning such men as are born under these conditions, it is written that they are branded with infamy, as being like women.

Laws of the Britons.—Among the Britons many men take one and the same wife.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/008/0081486.htm
 

Jetavan

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Romaios said:
[size=10pt]In the North, and in the country of the Gauls and their neighbours, such youths among them as are handsome the men take as wives, and they even have feasts on the occasion; and it is not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach....
What gall!
 

Shanghaiski

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Was it Bardaisan who thought something like the nature of God was water, and St. Ephraim the Syrian quipped that Bardaisan had water for brains?

Of course, the above has nothing to do with the ancient pagan Celts who had many other wonderful practices like burning people in giant wicker men.
 

Asteriktos

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Jetavan said:
Romaios said:
[size=10pt]In the North, and in the country of the Gauls and their neighbours, such youths among them as are handsome the men take as wives, and they even have feasts on the occasion; and it is not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach....
What gall!
"Without God, gall is permitted"  :angel:
 

Shanghaiski

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Asteriktos said:
Jetavan said:
Romaios said:
[size=10pt]In the North, and in the country of the Gauls and their neighbours, such youths among them as are handsome the men take as wives, and they even have feasts on the occasion; and it is not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach....
What gall!
"Without God, gall is permitted"  :angel:
Without Caesar, Gaul is permitted...to exist free of Roman rule.
(Okay, so that was forcing it. Sue me.)
 

brastaseptim

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Frankly, culturalised homosexuality or bisexuality wasn't an uncommon thing in warrior cultures like the Celts- it was also prominent among the Greeks, Japanese, Chinese, Sub-Saharan Africans, Native Americans, and some other ancient cultures I can't think of at the moment.
 

NicholasMyra

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Romaios said:
In the North, and in the country of the Gauls and their neighbours, such youths among them as are handsome the men take as wives, and they even have feasts on the occasion; and it is not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach, because of the law which prevails among them.  But it is a thing impossible that all those in Gaul who are branded with this disgrace should at their Nativities have had Mercury posited with Venus in the house of Saturn, and within the limits of Mars, and in the signs of the zodiac to the west.  For, concerning such men as are born under these conditions, it is written that they are branded with infamy, as being like women.

Laws of the Britons.—Among the Britons many men take one and the same wife.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/008/0081486.htm
Ah, so it was pederasty. And "take as wives" could simply indicate sexual intercourse.
 

Shanghaiski

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brastaseptim said:
Frankly, culturalised homosexuality or bisexuality wasn't an uncommon thing in warrior cultures like the Celts- it was also prominent among the Greeks, Japanese, Chinese, Sub-Saharan Africans, Native Americans, and some other ancient cultures I can't think of at the moment.
"Prominent" is an odd word for something that has ever been a small minority--unless there was a gay ruling class, which would be weird.
 

Shanghaiski

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brastaseptim said:
True- though when I say "prominent" I mean simply not only heard of on the fringes of the society. Considering it was hardly a minority in the Spartan Army...
Putting homosexuals on the front lines of combat was a good way of getting rid of that element, according to a friend's classics professor.
 

brastaseptim

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Your friend's classics professor might have a slightly homophobic slant to his teachings. The view I was taught was that it was regarded as a way to strengthtn ties among the soldiers, so they would fight their absolute hardest. Which makes sense, in retrospect- if your lover's in the ranks with you, anyone would make quite sure that he doesn't get killed- and he'll probably do likewise. If the entire front rank is made up of male lovers... you have a lot of angry lovers fighting beside angry lovers. What was the reference from the Symposium? Oh, right- "He would prefer to die many deaths: while as for leaving the one he loves in a lurch, or not succoring him in peril, no man is such a craven that the influence of Love cannot inspire him with a courage that makes him equal to the bravest born."
 

ialmisry

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brastaseptim said:
Your friend's classics professor might have a slightly homophobic slant to his teachings. The view I was taught was that it was regarded as a way to strengthtn ties among the soldiers, so they would fight their absolute hardest. Which makes sense, in retrospect- if your lover's in the ranks with you, anyone would make quite sure that he doesn't get killed- and he'll probably do likewise. If the entire front rank is made up of male lovers... you have a lot of angry lovers fighting beside angry lovers. What was the reference from the Symposium? Oh, right- "He would prefer to die many deaths: while as for leaving the one he loves in a lurch, or not succoring him in peril, no man is such a craven that the influence of Love cannot inspire him with a courage that makes him equal to the bravest born."
of course, there's that nasty problem when you break up with your boyfriend, in which case you might not mind leaving him in the lurch at the front line.

And then there is jealousy.  In which case you have angry lovers fighting angry lovers-both on your side.
 

Kerdy

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My question is, what difference does it make if certain parts of ancient Ireland allowed homosexuality?  Sin infects the entire world, especially those ancient cultures which were pagan.  It means only that mankind has been sinning a long time, but we already knew this.  Incest is in ancient biblical times, but it's still wrong.
 

Romaios

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brastaseptim said:
The view I was taught was that it was regarded as a way to strengthen ties among the soldiers, so they would fight their absolute hardest.
Euboulos (cited by Athenaios in Deipnosophistai 1, 46) had a different version - according to him, it all started as a bitter necessity during the long decade of the siege of Troy:

  ἀλλ' οὐδὲ μίαν ἀλλ' ἑταίραν εἶδέ τις
  αὐτῶν, ἑαυτοὺς δ' ἔδεφον ἐνιαυτοὺς δέκα.
  πικρὰν στρατείαν δ' εἶδον, οἵτινες πόλιν
  μίαν λαβόντες εὐρυπρωκτότεροι πολὺ
  τῆς πόλεος ἀπεχώρησαν ἧς εἷλον τότε.

"No one ever set eyes on a single hetaira [prostitute];
they wanked them-selves for ten years.
It was a poor sort of campaign: for the capture of one city,
they went home with arses much wider
than (the gates of) the city that they took."
 
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