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Was the Spartan army gay, and is the movie "300" full of it?

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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 12:52 PM
Original message
Was the Spartan army gay, and is the movie "300" full of it?
Edited on Thu Mar-15-07 12:56 PM by idgiehkt
Sorry if there has already been a thread about this. It's a blog so I don't know how accurate it is but if this is true it makes me really mad. (I've been all through it about the figure skating stuff in the first part of this article re: Johnny Weir, my advice is just to skip that part, and go to the second part of the article which is about "300"). Some quotes from the article:

"Another movie that doesn't let the facts get in the way - and like Blades of Glory was also filmed in Montreal - is the visually stunning movie 300, based on Frank Miller's 1998 graphic novel of the same name. The hyper-violent
CGI swords-and-sandals epic retells the true-life tale of 300 Spartan warriors who hold back the invading army of Persian emperor Xerxes for three days in the year 480 BC.

Throughout the movie, Spartan warriors trade jokes about fighting like sissies. One main character puts another down for taking it up the ass. And the bad guy, Xerxes, is portrayed as an effeminate freak by striking Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro.

Except real-life Spartan warriors made up the fiercest gay and bisexual army in human history. Sparta demanded its warriors sexually love one another so that they would also fight for each other to the death."
http://www.hour.ca/columns/3dollarbill.aspx?iIDArticle=...



I am not a history buff so I don't know what to think about this. Anyone care to comment?

(p.s. anyone interested in the truth about Mark Lund's comments about figure skater Johnny Weir can go here:
http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/01/11/130124.php , also, Lund was not out at Weir's age, which is 22, so he's just a big ol' hypocrit.)

edit: oops sorry, I missed the thread on this even though I checked for it earlier. Rather than just delete and leave a big blank I'll alert and ask the mods to lock this. Sorry.


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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. Definately
The esprit de corps in the Sparan army was based in large part on sexual relationships/contact between veteran soldiers and their young apprentices, beginning very early in life. Anybody who suggests otherwise is not telling the truth.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. yup
It was part of the "total institution" of Spartan society. The men rarely spent much time with their wives. The writers also left out the reliance on slavery of the "free" Spartans. All Greek cities had slavery, but Sparta was really based on it. That is why in the film the Spartan's Accadian allies were of various professions while the Spartans were all professional soldiers. They could afford to be because slaves did all the real work.

Didn't occur to me that Xerxes was supposed to be effeminate. He seemed too big and menacing for that. He was supposed to be a living god so he had to dress in an unearthly manner. That's how I looked at it. In truth he would not have looked either huge or dressed that way.

Here's a question. What's with the Speedo costumes? Greeks, including Spartans, wore torso-covering armor to battle. Surviving art reflects this. Only idealized nude scenes were shown without it.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Nonsense.
Young warriors were mentored by older veterans, forming very strong attachments between them. It is probable that a portion of those attachments included sexual attachment, which was not looked down upon in that society but accepted as normal. There is absolutely no historical evidence that it was 100%, or even 10% - had that been so it would have been noted historically in the way Alexander's Companions were so noted. It was not, by Herodotus or Thucydides or by any of the other surviving histories or plays from that era.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. ...
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atreides1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. A little information
Our poor knowledge on Spartan traditions is the result of Sparta's secrecy. Most modern theories are based on assumptions derived from ancient sources and parallels drawn between Sparta and contemporary Dorian Greek societies such as Crete. Some scholars assume that the custom of pederasty paralleled the mentoring relations between Spartan males and adolescent boys, common in Dorian societies. Some of the ancient scholars seem to have supported an opposing view: Xenophon writes that Lycurgus efficiently managed to cultivate chaste pederasty in the Spartan society. This however tends to be viewed as an attempt of praise towards Sparta, and not necessarily as a sincere remark. Aristotle also wrote that Sparta belonged to the type of military society that was based on heterosexual relationship, unlike other Greek states of his time. However, an examination of the historical details reveals that "references to particular homosexual attachments of Spartans are conspicuous even by Greek standards". Cicero furthermore asserts that, "The Lacedaemonians, while they permit all things except outrage (hubris, referring here to homosexual coitus) in the love of youths, certainly distinguish the forbidden by a thin wall of partition from the sanctioned, for they allow embraces and a common couch to lovers. In antiquity it was thought that a youth was expected to find himself an older lover, and that pederasty, a social practice common throughout most of Greece, was especially so in Sparta, where the ephors fined any eligible man who did not have chaste relationships with youths.

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Dhalgren Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. No, that is not true. It was the Theban army whose elite corps was
made up of what we, today, would call "same-sex couples". The Spartan army was not noted in any source as being in any way made up of what could be called "homosexual couples". The ancient Greeks, as a whole, had no particular problem with homosexual acts, but would not tolerate homosexual lifestyles. Any grown man who did not take a wife and have children was looked down on in society and would have a diminished standing in the community. It was alright to have affairs with other males, or with the appropriate females, but not to maintain a homosexual lifestyle. The Greeks were not THAT advanced...
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BOSSHOG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Per your post
it sounds like the ancient greeks were alot like today's christians in America.
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pecwae Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
8. Locking
at OP's request as a dupe.

pecwae
DU Moderator
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