Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Lewd Philosophers


An ancient Philosopher compares Lewdness to a wild, fiery, and headstrong young Colt, which can never be broke till he is rid into a Bog: And Plato, on the same Subject, has these Words; The Gods, says he, have given us one disobedient and unruly Member, which, like a greedyi and ravenous Animal that wants Food, grows wild and furious, till having ibib'd the Fruit of the common Thirst, he has plentifully besprinkled and bedewed the Bottom of the Womb.

And now I have mentioned the Philosophers, I must beg Your Patience for a Moment, to hear a short Account of their Amours: For nothing will convince us of the irresistible Force of Love, and the Folly of hoping to suppress it, sooner than reflecting, that those venerable Sages, those Standards of morality, those great Reformers of the World, [p.iii] were so sensibly touch'd with this tender Passion.

Socrates confess'd, that, in his old Age, he felt a strange tickling all over him for five Days, only by a Girl's touching his Shoulder.

. . .

Plato, our great Pattern for chaste Love, proposes, as the greatst Reward for public Service, that he who has perform'd a signal Exploit, should not be deny'd any amorous Favour. He writes [p.iv] a Description of the Loves of his Time, and several amorous Sonnets upon his own Minions: His chief Favorites were Asterus, Dio, Phaedrus, and Agatho; but he had, for Variety, his Female Darling Archeanassa; and was so noted for Wantonness, that Antisthenes, gave him the Nick-name of Satho, i.e. Well-furnish'd.

Polemo was prosecuted by his Wife for Male-Venery.

Crantor made no Secret of his Love to his Pupil Arcesilaus.

Arcesilaus made Love to Demetrius and Leocharus; the last, he said, he would fain have open'd: Besides, he publickly visited the two Elean Courtezans, Theodota and Philaeta and was himself enjoy'd by Demochares and Pythocles: Hew suffer'd the last, he said, for Patience-sake [this is a pun on "patient", the Latin term for "passive"].

Bion was noted for debauching his own Scholars.

SOURCE: William Beckett, A Collectiono of Chirurgical Tracts, London, Printed for E. Curll, 1740.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Lewd Philosophers," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 7 October 2008 <>.

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