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Doing Justice to the Classics

White Nationalists call ancient Greek homosexuality a “myth” is the website of “The Council of European Canadians,” an organization led by white nationalist Ricardo Duchesne that is, according to their “metapolitical strategy,” “against an establishment that is determined to destroy European Canada through fanatical immigration, imposition of a diversity curriculum, affirmative action in favor of non-Europeans, and promotion of white guilt.” A homophobic article on the site reviews a book by the far-right Greek politician Adonis Georgiadis arguing that “homosexuality was universally thought unacceptable” in ancient Greece. This claim flies in the face of overwhelming evidence of the prevalence and social significance of same-sex love in antiquity, but is attractive to white nationalists who want to claim cultural continuity with ancient Greece without compromising their rampant homophobia.

The title of Georgiadis’ book, translated into English, is Homosexuality in Ancient Greece: The Myth Collapses (Greek: το Ομοφυλοφιλία στην αρχαία Ελλάδα: ο μύθος καταρρέει). According to the review, Georgiadis supports his argument that “homosexuality was penalized in law and deplored by all social classes” by claiming that ancient vases appearing to illustrate sexual intercourse between men represent a minority of vases, that public juries deprived Athenians accused of homosexual acts of citizenship, and that descriptions of erotic love for boys should be understood as a love of their souls, not their bodies. These claims are in many cases wrong, as a future response will show. For now, we offer one egregious example: Georgiadis, according to the review, claims that in his speech Against Timarchus Aeschines never calls Timarchus a “prostitute” (Greek πόρνος), which, Georgiadis claims, shows that Timarchus was convicted due to “public revulsion” at his homosexuality, not, as is usually argued, at his taking money for sex. But Aeschines does call Timarchus a prostitute, twice, in fact.

The author of the review’s homophobia is evident from the following:

  • His description of the (widely accepted) argument that “homosexual behaviour was more acceptable and (therefore) prevalent in ancient Greece than in the Christian West” as “disturbing.”
  • His heterosexist rejection of the idea that “many of the greatest men in ancient Greece” … “were either pederasts or homosexuals of some other kind.”
  • His description of the contemporary world as “the post-Christian West” where “traditional morality is everywhere under assault and ‘polymorphous perversity’ on the verge of wholesale institutional approval.”
Georgiadis, and the author of the review, go to great lengths to impose their homophobic values on classical antiquity in order to claim continuity with it

The review celebrates the book because its argument allows contemporary homophobes to make Classical Greece lend historical precedent to their homophobia. The author claims that “constantly repeated claims that the sexual mores of Greece were qualitatively different from those of the traditional West are designed to deny our perception of fundamental continuity with this heritage.” His use of the term “designed” is intended to undermine the credibility of scholarship on homoerotic aspects of ancient Greek culture by suggesting that it is tainted by a “homosexual agenda;” the review repeatedly refers to such scholars as “pro-homosexual” and accuses them of “inventive interpretations.” The author accuses these scholars of “insinuat[ing] that the absence of sexual strictures in Greek society forestalled the development of sexual neuroses in talented individuals and so allowed them to realise their own greatness.”

Thus Georgiadis, and the author of the review of his book, go to great lengths to impose their homophobic values on classical antiquity in order to claim continuity with it. As Pharos has documented previously, white nationalists often have to claim that “homosexuality” led to the decline of Greek culture in order to maintain both their homophobia and the connection with Greece they desire. The easier and more historically informed route would be to recognize that differences in sexual customs between antiquity and today signals the arbitrariness of modern homophobia.

The review connects the positions in Georgiadis’ book to those of a proponent of pseudo-scientific racism and anti-Semitism

Georgiadis himself, a former member of Greek parliament in the far-right LAOS party, persecuted the LGBT community in Greece when he was the Minister of Health by reinstating “Health Regulation 39A,” a law that allows police to detain anyone they suspect of being HIV-positive. The law was denounced by Human Rights Watch and was repealed in 2015.  Georgiadis’ anti-Semitism has been documented, and he has promoted the work of self-described fascist Konstantinos Plevris. He has said that “left-wing ideology has surrendered Greece to the hands of Muslims.” In addition to Homosexuality in Ancient Greece: The Myth Collapses, he has published as his own work a novel about the fall of Constantinople that he translated from a 19th century novel in the public domain.’s interest in Georgiadis’ argument goes beyond simple homophobia. The review connects the positions in Georgiadis’ book to those of Kevin MacDonald, a proponent of pseudo-scientific racism and anti-semitism. MacDonald is the editor of the white supremacist magazine The Occidental Observer, which is cited in the review of Georgiadis’ book for an article describing ancient Greek cities as “ethno-states,” which is a term used by white nationalists for promoting racially “pure” societies.

Because the evidence for widespread sexual activity between men in antiquity is so extensive, it is rare to find contemporary hate groups invoking classical Greece in support of homophobia. The homoerotic culture of classical Greece, has, however, been invoked in support of various misogynist claims, as well as in support of pedophilia, as reported by Pharos contributor Rebecca Futo Kennedy in her blog.

We have linked above to an archived version of the review to avoid generating traffic to The original review may be viewed here.

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