[Image: Brown background with white text and a decorative ionic column element.]
Zeus, to steal boy Ganymede,
An eagle’s form put on;
And when he wanted sweet Leda
He turned into a swan.
Now some like girls, and some like boys;
But the moral’s plain to see:
If both are good enough for Zeus,
They’re both good enough for me.
- Anon. Ancient Greek.
My conscience won’t let me post this poem as-is. Please scroll on if you don’t want me to ruin it for you.
[Trigger warning: general discussion of rape]
This poem really is cute, but it’s important to remember the gritty, less pleasant details.
Ancient Greek perceptions of sexuality were all sorts of fucked up. Like, those stories about Zeus are basically stories about him raping people. These are stories in which Zeus kidnaps people and then has sex with them (also note that in ancient Greek, the same word was used for kidnapping and for rape). Now, the speaker in the poem is most likely male, because he is comparing himself to Zeus, a male deity. In all likeliness, relying on the fact that he could read and write, and had enough standing in order for his poem to be recorded and preserved, one could presume that he was a citizen. In ancient Greece, being a citizen first and foremost meant that you are a male person from the upper classes. It also basically meant that you got to have sex with whoever you want to, as long as they are not citizens, and as long as you only penetrate and don’t get penetrated. People who are not citizens are: women, young boys, slaves, prostitutes, and others. And rape, of course, is fair game. No consent is required of anyone (maybe except for women of the upper classes, in which case you would need consent from their fathers - as in marriage).
So really, this poem, in a way, is a normalization of rape.
But… well, at least it’s bi?
133 Notes/ Hide
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