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three pairs of lovers with space



Wolf Vogel (born 1942) was a West German author and photojournalist. The following potted history of sexual relations between children and adults, entirely focussed on Europe apart from very brief  biblical and Japanese references, appeared as the second chapter of his Heimliche Liebe: Eros zwischen Knabe und Mann, published by Jahn & Ernst in Hamburg in 1997 and anonymously translated as Secret Love: Eros between Boy and Man in 2022.

Some of the translator’s interpolations have been omitted as unnecessary.


Moses With The New Tablets Of The Law On Mount Sinai. Engraving 1843
Moses with the New Tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai

Sexual relationships between children and adults have been handed down to us for more than four thousand years. Since the time of the Pharaohs, incestuous associations with young girls were far from rare in Egypt. From the Old Testament we know that Moses prohibited—under threat of punishment—his Jewish countrymen from sexually desiring male offspring: “Thou shalt not lie with boys¹ as with women: for this is an abomination,” is in the Third Book of Moses, chapter 18, verse 22. Two chapters later the prohibition is repeated: “If someone lies down with boys¹ as with women, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.”[1] These harsh sanctions make it abundantly clear that such sexual practices must have been quite widespread at the time. Mind you, the prohibition was probably directed more against the homosexual temple and cult prostitution of neighboring peoples, which were not compatible with the Israelite understanding of monotheism. On the other hand, Moses must have realized that offspring are not inevitable. In that situation, only sex between a man and a woman makes sense.

In the ancient advanced cultures of Greece and Rome, romantic relationships between men and boys were part and parcel of how the educated classes saw themselves. As a rule, less affluent citizens had the brothel, in which boys as well as girls offered their sexual services. Incidentally, girls were—according to Roman law at the time—considered marriageable when they reached age twelve. And the example of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple, sitting and holding forth with the scribes, means nothing other than the fact that boys from this age and up were permitted to go into public buildings and have their say, and thus were regarded as grown-up.

At any rate, things must have been rather depraved in those times.[2] Caesar Augustus had already vainly attempted to decree that all men between 25 and 60 as well as all women between 25 and 50 had to be married; later on, his stepson—Tiberius Caesar—strove to drive men back into the arms of women by taxing rent-boys[3] (the first sin tax in European history![4]). Naturally, even early Christendom accepted sexuality. The teaching of the twelve apostles, the so-called didacs, demanded: “Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not defile boys, thou shalt not commit fornication, thou shalt not practice magic, thou shalt not mix poison, thou shalt not kill a child through abortion or murder the newborn.” Obviously, what was forbidden was that which was commonplace at the time.

Synod of Elvira 306
The Synod of Elvira

The Greek author Lucian (120-180 A.D.), who as an itinerant orator also came to Italy, wrote with pointed pen about the annual “floral festival” in Rome, in which ten- to fourteen-year-old (female) dancers learned sexual practices which would earn them a lucrative income later on. Admittedly, most of the excesses of Eros would be reigned in by the spread of Christianity. Paul castigated lewdness generally in his writings. For early Christianity, sexual freedom was pagan deviancy, which had to be fought against. Now,the first Christians were also sexual beings, and not always strong in the struggle against desire. And so, in the year 306 at the Synod of Elvira, it had to be decreed that a Christian burial should be denied to those who has quenched their sinful lust upon boys: “Pederasts are no longer permitted communion on their deathbed.” Consequently, even in the event of remorse and repentance, the sinner was denied the possibility of saving his soul. (cited in G.Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg)

Prior to and during the early Middle Ages, so-called penance books dealt with sins contrary to Eros. Even sex with and between minors was a topic therein. The oldest Irish penance book—from the 6th century—prescribes two years’ penance for anal intercourse between two boys. The Irish penance book of Commean, which was presumably written around 660, and later influenced French legislation, decreed “seven years penance for sodomy, two years for interfemoral intercourse, one year for bestiality, three times every forty days for onanism {masturbation} (...); in the case of a child up to age fifteen, a one-time penance of 14 days is sufficient.” Binchy’s Irish penance book from the end of the 8th century was intended to apply to youthful sinners: “Small boys who imitate coitus with one another, atone for 20 days: acolytes who have sexual intercourse with animals, one hundred nights—the same for interfemoral intercourse. A ten-year-old who is defiled by another does seven days penance; however, if he agreed to the act, twenty nights.” (All cited in Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg)

The church’s penance books were a response to the fact that the esthetic ideal of Christianity initially remained sheer theory in the rural areas, because it was unworldly. People in the family unit lived together in a confined space of just a few square meters; children too were quite familiar with love, sex, and death from early on. The church’s condemnation of “lewdness”—which the secular sovereigns were all too happy to endorse (anyone who wished to go to war needed young people who would grow up to become soldiers) worked its way up through ever newer examples. Thus, in a handbook for father-confessors from the Middle Ages from the French city of Le Mans, the following is characterized as a serious sin: “when the woman takes the man’s member in her mouth, or places it between her breasts, or introduces it into her anus.” Of course, according to this ideology, sex with minors was also forbidden. Early on, getting a girl pregnant and marrying herafterwards was still tolerated.

Henry V  Matilda of England The Wedding Feast of. 12th. Age not an issue
The wedding feast of the adult Holy Roman Emperor Henry V and 11-year-old Matilda of England in 1114, depicted in a 12th century ms. Note how the artist did not think her age something remarkable enough to be worth accurate depiction.

Even in the Middle Ages, the age of marriageability for girls was twelve. Beatrix, wife of Frederick I (Barbarossa), was thirteen years old at the time of her marriage to the Kaiser; Barbarossa was thirty-four.[5] Such child-marriages were not rare in the Middle Ages. The French King Henry IV—who was obliged to take up the famous penitential pilgrimage following humiliation in order to reconcile himself with the Pope—was, at fourteen, betrothed to a girl of the same age: they married a year later.[6] Gertrude, the mother of Henry of Lyon,[7] was not yet fifteen when she bore her son. After 1250, a lad of fourteen could enter into a valid marriage. He didn’t even have to ask for his father’s permission. Girls only had to be twelve years old to enter into a valid marriage. In the Renaissance, this age-floor shifted upwards somewhat: After 1500, the age of marriageability was set at seventeen for boys and thirteen for girls.[8]

As soon as a prohibition on a particular sexual practice was able to be pushed through a tried-and-tested device could be employed against irksome neighbors: the false accusation. An eloquent example is the disbanding of the Order of the Knights Templar by the French King Philip IV (“the Handsome”) in the year 1310. It was surely the largest morals trial in history arousing great consternation throughout Europe. A trial against 20,000 Christian knights—which had never happened before. No less than one of the three great orders of knights—which were meant to provide protection and safe-conduct to Christian crusaders in the HolyLand—stood trial in Paris. (The Templers were rich—very rich. In France and Portugal they owned mighty castles and great estates. And they were influential—for the French King, simply too powerful.) When one wishes to abolish the Order and—above all—confiscate its property, what better than to indict the Knights Templar? Initially they were reproached for allegedly having left the faith. But this alone wasn’t sufficient to imprison them. Therefore, they were also accused of unnatural lewdness, for allegedly requiring all novices to kiss the intimate parts of their bodies. (At that time, novices could be as young as seven or eight.) Now, this accusation was made at the very time at—in Middle Europe—the cultivation of a common destiny between knight and squire had reached its zenith. (Boys were fit for battle—and therefore, adults—at age fourteen. Prior to that they were assigned to a knight for training.)[9] Intimate kisses behind cloister walls—this peaked the interest of fourteenth century folk just as much as it does the people of today. Philip therefore disbanded the Order and confiscated its possessions and riches. For reasons of competence, a compliant Pope Clement V signed the dissolution document. On March 12th, 1314, the Order’s venerable Grand Master was the very last to ascend the scaffold in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Knights Templar The Burning of 1314
                                                         The Burning of the Knights Templar, 1314

In the fourteenth century, a decision was made (the ramifications of which redound right up to our own era) as to what constituted offenses and sins, and therefore, what was prohibited and what was not. The influential theologian and church policymaker Jean Gerson (1363-1429), professor at and Chancellor of the University of Paris, devoted a large part of his work to proscribed sexual practices, not to mention his own book, “Self-Abuse”: The latter was characterized as “a sin against nature, even more serious than extra-marital intercourse with a woman, or when a woman commits lewdness with a man.” Gerson advised all father confessors to expressly and unceasingly question children and youth regarding sexual sins; many—he bemoans in his book—“have not dared to confess the reprehensible thing, which they have committed at ten, eleven, or twelve years of age, as they have slept together with their brothers and sisters.” (Cited in J. Rossiaud) Added to this were sleeping with parents, aunts and uncles, servants, and visitors.

Actually, it was only female virginity—regardless of age—that was to be particularly respected and protected. The rape of an untouched girl was punishable by death. For example, from the archives, we know how much gruesome work the executioner of old Nuremberg, Meister Franz, had vis-a-vis the dark side of Eros: “In 1578 Hanns Miller, called ‘Model,’ a Redsmith, ‘who raped a girl of thirteen years, having stuffed her mouth with sand, so that she could not cry out,’ was put to death by the sword.” “In 1612, the young schoolmaster Andres Feuerstein, who had raped 16 schoolgirls from six to eleven years of age under threat of a thrashing, was likewise put to death by the sword.” (Cited in M. Hirschfeld)

A record of how much young girls were coveted on the altar of desire has also been handed down to us from the Far East. The German physician Engelbert Kaempfer described the brothels he saw during a visit to Japan in the year 1690: “The poor can help their well-proportioned daughters to get some bread, and due to the good food from outsiders and locals alike (who are quite addicted to sensuality), this institution is happily provided with agood number of such daughters. Still children, girls of certain ages (perhaps ten or twelve) are haggled over for a sum of money—they range from seven to thirteen years of age, big and small—in a house, by a brothel-keeper, entertaining all comers, provided they are men of means.”

Cella Johann Jacob 1756 1820
Johann Jacob Cella (1756-1820)

Back to Germany: The bourgeois age was characterized by the will to reason, to logic, and the control of desire. “Lewdness”—above all, “lewdness contrary to nature”—were theological and legal concepts which were adopted as lashes to the libido. Many authors of that time invested nearly their entire, mission-conscious lives in the literary struggle against vice; for instance, the German penologist Johann Jakob Cella. In his book “Of Lewdness, So Committed Against the Laws of Nature,” he names as primary evils masturbation, the violation of boys, and lewdness with animals. The erotic preference for boys was, for Cells, an “especially disgraceful sort of unnatural lecherousness that is detrimental to the state,” and there are “many full-grown and elderly lechers of this sort,” who would’ve had their eyes on minors: “The violator of boys needs an object which would simply behave in a passive manner. Therefore, even a quite young, undeveloped, under-age companion would suffice. Indeed, in order to increase the sensual thrill, he usually seeks out the youngest, finest boys as the victims of his infamous lust.” (Cited in P. Derks) Is this the take of someone who is filled with jealousy of those who obtain pleasures which he himself is denied? And who, out of envy, overlooks the possibility that the boys in question might be equally inclined toward such thrills?

Cells’ view accords with the zeitgeist of that time. Kant also railed against lewdness and masturbation and, strangely enough, let fly his infamously sharp intellectual caprices.

Another great mind of this era mused about eroticism between minors and grown-ups in far less hostile terms: that prince among poets, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. He had already, in his“Venetian Epigrams,” made no secret of his desire for boys as well as girls; and then, in his “West-Easterly Divan,” he pondered the value of a pederastic relationship: “Neither the immediate inclination to semi-forbidden wine, nor a sensitivity to the beauty of a boy growing toward adolescence, should be missed in the‘divan’; however the latter would—in accordance with our customs—be handled with all purity. A fondness for the transition from childhood to adolescence actually indicates a genuine pedagogical attitude. A child’s ardent affection for an old man is by no means a rare, but rather, a rarely acknowledged phenomenon. What comes to mind here is the grandson’s attachment to the grandfather, the late-born heir’s to the surprised, tender father. It is within these relationships that children’s shrewdness actually develops: they are attentive to the dignity, experience, and power of older persons; pure-born souls, moreover, feel the need for an affection based on deep respect; from here on the older person is seized a hold of and held on to (...) Most touching, however, remains the boy’s sense of striving ever forward, excited by the great intellect of the older person, feeling within himself an astonishment, which prophecies to him that he could also develop such things within himself.”

Given the linguistic style of this text, it might seem to us a bit old-fashioned. But if Goethe was right, it becomes clear that, in every era, the man-boy relationship has had an air of both the unusual as well as the commonplace, in equal measure. This would explain why, from the very beginning, it was easier to find male interview partners for this book; whereas they closely guarded the treasure of their relationships in their younger years, they did divulge them—more or less proudly—in their later years of life.

Admittedly, as with all erotic relationships, even pederastic affairs were characterized coarsely and sensuously on some occasions, yet poetically transfigured on others. An example of the former kind: While in Damascus, as part of his voyage to the Orient, his diary entry on September 10th, 1850: “Moreover, a few days ago, Monsieur Guyot had caught two of his approximately twelve-year-old pupils sodomizing one another at the monastery gate; one of the pair had learned this from a Christian, who had deflowered him for the sum of twenty paras. According to the abbot, pederasty had spread throughout the entire population here.‘ A great surplus of men, but no women; they wish to know nothing of women.’”

Munchhausen Hieronymus Karl Friedrich Baron von ca. 1740
Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Baron von Münchhausen,, ca. 1740

Singing of the heart’s more effusive longing for boys is one of the best-known German folksongs, which, admittedly, is usually censored amongst the common-folk. It concerns the King’s forbidden love, and comes from the great-nephew of a man who has never counted among the literati, and therefore, would have had no occasion to pen fantastical fables, but nevertheless, absolutely is regarded as the epitome of a liar: the Baron von Munchausen (1720-1797). And so, the great-nephew—who was born in Hildesheim in 1874 and only passed away a very old man indeed in 1978—wrote out a song which many youth-leaders from his class would still have fervently sung around the campfire, the original of which would have been quite familiar to him (cited in E.Thurmair/D. Ahrens):

On the other side of the valley stood their tents,
In the morning, red evening sky swelled the smoke;
And there was singing amongst the army entire,
With even the stable-boys joining in.

To the jangling of crockery they groomed the  horses;
Here the feminine camp-followers sashayed:
And amongst the singing one of the boys spoke:
“Girls, do you know where the King has gone to?”

On this side of the valley stood the young King,
And seized a clump of the moist earth:
It chilled not the heat of his burning brow,
It made not his sick heart sound.

He would be healed only by two, wet boy-cheeks,
And only by a mouth which he’s forbidden himself.
Still tighter closed the King his lips,
And looked over into the sunset

Girl prostitution
London girl prostitute, late 19th century

Now, the minnesong’s effusive joie de vivre was not well-suited to the time of industrialization, and the lyrics of the King’s longing for the adored boy were—at most—taken up by aesthetes. With the reorganization of social structures, sexual behaviors changed as well. “Between the beginning and the middle of the 19th century, sexual relations between children (girls) and adults emerged as a gravely growing moral problem. In the context of widespread (because it was cheap) child labor, and the relatively high adult unemployment rate with which the former was associated, above all in British mills, there evolved among the young girls a kind of in house prostitution, in order to—directly or indirectly—supplement the meager wages. A whole series of reports came out, according to which many children (girls) were obliged by their own families to make more money in this way.” (H. Johannesmeier)

With people’s control over their productivity per man-hour worked there also evolved a new form of sexual control. In the late 19th century, the agents of acculturation and power not only felt the urge to make taboo, even outlaw, hitherto tolerated sexual behaviors, but also the peculiar desire to impose Latin terms—in medicine, usually—on sexuality generally. In 1886, the German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing moved sexual behavior—which from time immemorial had been part of humanity’s everyday lives—into the realm of mental disorders and illnesses. Just as it does today, this fit with the Zeitgeist of the time.

Krafft-Ebing introduced the term ‘pedophilia erotica’ to denote sexual relations between children and adults. Soon, a never-before needed phenomenon began to establish itself: sexual science. It studied the desires and frustrations of persons as sexual beings, right down to the innermost secrets of the soul, thereby occasionally contributing to a better understanding of persons who wished to break out of the sexual norms in force at any given time; usually, however, this only served to make them even more despised. For example, anyone who erotically desires a child—and even goes so far as to proclaim it—is today met almost exclusively with hostility. Nonetheless, the word “pedophile”—adapted from Krafft-Ebing’s term—remains in linguistic use today, as does the term “pederasty.”

Pederasty denotes a man’s erotic affection for a pubertal boy; therefore, usually one between twelve and eighteen years of age.This is the very sexual predilection which Moses and Paul railed against[11], regarding which, however, the Athenian poet and lawmaker Solon (ca. 600-500 B.C.E) wrote: “You love the boy in the enchanting flower of his age, craving his thighs and his sweet mouth.”

What is termed pedophilia, on the other hand, is a man or a woman’s erotic affection for pre-pubertal girls or boys. In literature there are many definitions of pedophilia in the current literature, but the most apt, in my opinion, is the one formulated by the Human Sexuality Working Group: “They (men as well as women) have or aspire to friendly relationships with children which, thoughby no means necessarily involving sexual contact, nevertheless do not rule it out. They are extraordinarily susceptible to the charm which is emanated by children. Generally speaking, the attraction is to the child’s very being, which—in contrast to that of adults—is still free of ideological and moral prejudices, and whose thoughts and actions are aligned with the pleasure principle. Children’s refreshingly carefree natures, the fact that they simply don’t care about what—in the adult world—are exceedingly important external characteristics, such as financial position, social rank, or physical shortcomings; their capacity for enthusiasm, their liveliness, their fantasies and spontaneity, their combination of adventuresomeness and need of loving care; all of this arouses in the pedophile the desire to let him/herself get ‘infected’ by this.”

Definitions of human sexual behavior should always be taken with a grain of salt, because they emerge either from eras in which sexual diversity is promoted, or ones in which it is restricted. In this book, insofar as possible, sexual relations between persons shall be depicted neutrally, and free of obfuscatory borrowed words. Just how dubious, for example, terms like “heterosexual,”“homosexual,” and “pedophile” are evinces itself most clearly inactual, lived reality. Sexual contacts often arise out of particular situations, which are not transferable to other situations at earlier or later times.

Munich 1946 14 girl and two men d2

The following is a brief excerpt from the memoirs of the Munich journalist Peter Schult, covering the first few months following the end of World War II: “I saw upstanding citizens send their daughters to the red-light district, and I myself slept with the 14-year-old daughter of a post office official, who lay in bed in the adjoining room with a 14-year-old who he’d picked up at the railway station. The father knew that I was with his daughter, and the daughter knew that the father was sleeping with the girl. For along time, I lived with a buddy of mine and his 40-year-old wife, who had a 15-year-old daughter. Every other day we switched partners; one time I’d sleep with the mother and my buddy would sleep with the daughter, and then, vice versa. Since we all slept in the same room, sometimes we even switched in the middle of the night. Another time, for several nights, I slept together in the same bed with a woman and her 14-year-old son. I had intercourse with the mother as well as the son, and they both knew it. And none of them were, for instance, people whom the townsfolk woulddescribe as anti-social, but rather, as upright and ordinary people.

I met 12- and 13-year-old boys and girls who had lived for weeks with an Allied unit—carted along as mascots—and, over the course of time, had climbed into bed with almost every soldier in the unit.

I say all of this not out of moral indignation or self-justification, but simply to demonstrate that I had retained not a trace of bourgeois morality; nor did I retain any of it when—several years following these events—the facade got re-erected and freshly painted.”

The fact that sexual contacts between children and adults have been subject to various assessments not only in different eras but also in different cultures has been demonstrated by ethnological research; for example, by the American ethnologist Margaret Mead. More recently, the German ethno-sociologist Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg has shown that, among primitive peoples, erotic contacts with minors—including within the family—are neither unusual nor taboo.

In our cultural circle, it has not been easy to deal with the subject of “sex with children” unemotionally. Nevertheless, at anytime, parents may be faced with a situation where, one day, their minor child brings an adult to the house, or at least, is smitten with him, and the parents get the feeling that something is in the offing here which they have not yet experienced in this way. Understandably, many parents are—initially—at a loss to know what to do. Many—if they had their druthers—would prefer to just break off such associations; however, at the same time, they fear that could harm the child. Other parents, though undoubtedly not expressly approving of such contacts, nevertheless intervene only if their child’s behavior gives them cause to worry.

In the following reports, parents get a chance to say a few words about our theme. These experiences and opinions were published in the Dutch magazine “Nieuwe Revu” of April 5,1988. In an appeal, the magazine had asked parents to tell about any adult lovers their children may have had. Two mothers and one father came forward. Their statements are reproduced here in a somewhat abridged form.



[1] Lev.20:13.  The German word the author uses here—apparently quoting a German translation of the bible—is ‘Knabe,’which does indeed mean ‘boy’ or ‘lad.’ However, most English translations use the word ‘man’ or ‘mankind’ here. Which of these would be a better translation from the ancient Hebrew original text is beyond my ken. However, I cannot help thinking that something in-between might be closer to the mark: perhaps ‘[male] youth’ or even ‘pubescent boys.’ [Translator’s note]
    The translator’s speculations here are misguided. It is true that the best-known German translation, that of Luther, says “Knaben”, whereas the best-known English translation, the Authorised Version, says “mankind”, but they are equally inaccurate translations of the Hebrew זָכָר meaning “males”. It should be obvious from the context that Leveticus’s concern was to outlaw all non-procreative sex, not sex with a particular age group.  Presumably Luther translated זָכָר as “Knaben”, because in his and all pre-20th century days, the males with whom men were expected to want to “lie” were boys. [Website footnote].

[2] Because some people aged between 25 and 50 or 60 weren’t married?  If that is depravity, what are we to make of 21st-century man? The eagerness of 20th-century writers on boy-love (see also Brongersma and Rossman)  to depict ancient Rome as a sink of depravity by comparison with which we moderns are principled angels goes to the most extraordinary lengths. [Website footnote]

[3] This sounds like a modern invention, as Suetonius describes Tiberius’s successor Caligula’s tax on all prostitutes and pimps as “new and unheard of” (Suetonius, Life of Caligula 40 i). It is anyway hard to see why Tiberius should wish to discourage his subjects from sex with boys, when he was famously keen on them himself. [Website footnote]

[4] Nonsense. Philemon’s Adelphoi records that in the 6th century BC the Athenian lawgiver Solon levied taxes on brothels to build a temple. Surely it is more likely that the taxation of brothels went back to the earliest cities? [Website footnote].

[5] They were about thirteen and thirty-three, so this is roughly true. It is unremarkable for the times though.  Why not instead cite Frederick’s great-uncle, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, aged at least 23 at Easter 1110, when he was engaged to the eight-year-old Matilda of England, and who married her when she was still (certainly, not roughly) a month short of twelve?

[6] Rubbish. Henry IV and his first wife Marguerite de Valois were betrothed on 11 April 1572 when they were both eighteen and married on 18 August 1572. Vogel could hardly have made a worse choice for making his point.

[7] The translator’s “of Henry of Lyon” as a translation of Vogel’s “Heinrichs des Löwen” has been amended to “of Henry the Lion.” Evidently he had not heard of Henry the Lion (ca. 1130-95) Duke of Saxony and Bavaria. His mother (born 18 April 1115), may have been 14, 15 or 16 when he was born. Considering the examples of early motherhood that could have been cited, this is a feeble choice.

[8] Where is this supposed to have happened? Certainly not in most European countries, which seem to be Vogel’s concern. His history of the age of marriage is lamentably vague and inaccurate.  Briefly, the notion that girls reached puberty at 12 and boys at 14 goes back at least as far as Aristotle. Rome made it the basis for the legal age of marriage, and it became canon law when this merged with Roman law in AD 390. It thus became the law throughout mediaeval Christendom. Most European countries did not raise it until modern times: France (by only a year for each sex) in 1792 and England more drastically in 1929. It was not raised in canon law until 1917.  Citing some cases of young royal marriages, as Vogel does, is misleading and undermines his point, suggsting they are freakish. It would have been more useful to emphasise that from Roman times to very modern times, 12 and 14 were nearly universal within Europe as the ages at which girls and boys could marry, and marriages at these ages were mundane at many times and places. From a historical perspective, it is 20th-21st century Europe (followed by its many abjectly imitative ex-colonies) that is freakishly repressive in forbidding marriage to adolescents. [Website footnote]

[9] Very inaccurate again. Noble boys only began training for battle (as squires) with knights at the age of fourteen. This certainly does not mean they were already “fit for battle.” Before then, they trained as pages to lords in their castles, not to knights. [Website footnote].

[10] The last words of the second and fourth lines of each stanza rhyme in the original German. Though an attempt was made to get them to also do this in the English translation, this proved to be unworkable. [Translator’s note]

[11] Absolute nonsense. As detailed in footnote 1, Moses “railed” against sex between “males”, irrespective of age.  There is not a shred of evidence that Paul’s railings were not on exactly the same lines. It is utterly bizarre that Vogel should wish to enroll them as enemies of the pederastic form of homosexuality in particular, when they were not.