Response to Cohen

In his article, “Homosexuality in Classical Athens”, Cohen argues the traditional views of homosexual relations in ancient Greece and the difference between the reality and the “supposed” reality. In other words, he points out the difference between the expected opinion and the real position of homosexual relations. In doing so, Cohen also manages to uncover various holes in the explanation on Greek acceptance of these relationships. He references several laws concerning homoerotic relationships and yet raises questions surrounding what might be seen as loopholes within them. For example, he points out an absence of specific age laws.

What is interesting about this article is the idea that there can be a separation between what is the intended meaning and the supposed meaning. This is no revelation by any means; here in the U.S. there is a separation between what was intended and interpreted by the Founding Fathers when they created the second amendment (while this is a fairly overused example, it is one of the best for this case). While this idea can be applied to virtually all areas of history, this example is interesting for the fact that it is one of those areas of history which is generally believed to be completely understood. To realize that something as trivial as homosexuality (a topic which even today is highly contested) cannot be completely defended or explained shows that there can never be a single side to history. While Greek lawmakers may have had a definitive purpose behind their someone complex laws, they still could not escape the paradox of the intended purpose and the implied or interpreted meaning.

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