“LE VICE” IN TURKEY
The following article was by American Divinity professor George Parker Rossman (1919-2013) writing as "Jonathan Drake, Beirut", who did research on the subject in Turkey in the 1960s, which formed the basis for both this, published in the International Journal of Greek Love, II (November 1966) pp. 13-27, and a chapter on boy prostitution in Turkey in his book Boys for Sale (1969).
ABSTRACT: A historical sketch of the slave traffic in boys in Turkey from about the 14th century until recent decades is presented, with sidelights on training methods for boys destined for brothels. Anthropological and folkloric notes are presented from both modern Greek and Turkish sides. The Turkish mores appear to have been nearer to Roman than to Greek practice, though some affection is known to have existed between such boys and their captors or purchasers. Literary material relevant to this topic is analyzed in some detail.
Even the most objective scholar finds it difficult to write about modem Greeks in a way that is fair to Turks, or about Turks in a way fair to Greeks. We must stress this point from the outset, because so much that we know in the West about boy-love in Turkey has been written about the Turks by their Greek enemies. We must begin by admitting that the Turks have been cruel and vicious soldiers. We cannot forget the Turkish slaughter of more than a million Armenians during World War I. We cannot forget the centuries of Greek suffering at the hands of the Turks, who conquered the Byzantine Empire, looted Greek cities and enslaved their inhabitants. The Greeks were therefore motivated to write horror stories about the Turks in order to rouse Western support for their hopes of liberation from Turkish masters. In reporting Turkish paidophilic excesses, the Greeks were the pot calling the kettle black. But they could rouse the sympathy of Western European nations by telling the truth, albeit in exaggerated form. For since the height of the Roman Empire's conquests, there have probably never been anywhere armies that raped children, especially boys, on the scale of the Turks. At least 8000 Austrian boys who had been taken as catamites for Turkish use during the siege of Vienna were massacred when the siege was abandoned.
Bartolomej Dordevic (1510-1566) wrote two documents about his experience in Turkish hands. Thirteen times a slave, he was seven times sold. He gives an eloquent description of the march of child slaves from European battlefields to Turkey. Slave buyers followed Turkish armies, each dealer marching 50 to 60 children on foot back to Turkey, manacled hand and foot. At night, he writes, one suffered at hearing the moans and tears of the boy chosen for the night to endure the slave-merchant's lust. Even those as young as seven could not protect themselves from violation, save for the most beautiful 10% who were reserved as gifts for the Sultan. Of these, the ruler took his pick for his own "pleasures against nature"; the rest were presented to friends, put into houses of male prostitution, or sold in the marketplaces. Some historians suggest that Bayezid 1 (1360-1403) discovered the delights of boys, and sent his soldiers all over the areas of conquest to find the most charming youngsters for his harem. From his example, the practice of taking boys sexually spread in the army, among government officials, and through the nobility. One reason why the Turks continued and expanded their wars of conquest was reputedly to keep up the supply of young boys -- especially the beautiful, highly desired European children. This, as much as anything else, contributed to European hatred of Turks.
Mehmed II, conqueror of Constantinople, is described  as a "notorious boy-lover." To rouse up his soldiers to conquer the city he made a speech in which he painted a glowing picture of the booty awaiting the soldiers in Constantinople -- especially the boys, gentle, beautiful, aristocratic young boys, enough for all. And indeed there were. The historical record of the capture of the city is full of atrocity stories of rape and enslavement, as adults (especially wealthy nobility) were murdered and their children enslaved, the young boys being taken to soldiers' barracks. The most handsome were reserved for the Sultan, and he purchased some 200 from his soldiers for his own harem. He also heard that the Greek collaborator, the noble Notaras, had an extremely beautiful son of 14. The Sultan demanded the boy for his pleasures. When Notaras refused, he and his whole family were executed and the boy taken to the Sultan's palace. Some modern novels written about this event have suggested that the youngster chose to die heroically with his family, but the evidence is that instead he joined the other 200 catamites. Davey reports that these harem boys, beautifully dressed in feminine costumes, danced at the wedding of the emperor's daughter. Before any boy was taken to the Sultan's bedchamber, he was epilated and dipped in perfume. The 200 appear to have ranged from 8 to 16 years of age; they were given geisha-like training, consisting of erotic poetry and songs, dancing, literature and "diverse manners of giving pleasures to men." The term "peg-house," for a male house of prostitution, generally thought to have its source in the common shipboard practice of having a young cabin boy sit on a peg to dilate his anus, may date back to this period. For benches have been found, somewhat like school benches, with pegs of various sizes on which boys were evidently required to sit, progressing probably from smaller to larger pegs as they progressed in the study of Turkish literature and song.
When the supply of youngsters as war booty began to diminish, the Sultan began his infamous "child tax." Hadden reports that the Sultan's representatives visited each village in the European section of the Turkish Empire once every four years and selected the most beautiful boys between 7 and 9 for the army corps, the palace pages' school, and the labor corps. Some authorities give ages 10-12 as the range selected, and there is also controversy as to the extent to which these boys were taken "for purposes at which humanity shudders" in the Sultan's court. But there is no doubt that some successive Sultans were served by catamites with whom they were deeply infatuated. Similarly beyond doubt, in the same period, boys went into the homes of officials and nobles for sexual purposes. European boys were not castrated, but were often feminized in training, manners, and costume "to serve the lusts of lecherous masters"; they were preferred because they were, so the story goes, so much more sexually responsive and cooperative than boys of other origins.
Much has been written of boy-love in the court of Ali Pasha, Turkish governor of Ioannina in Greece, whose agents combed the dominion for the most beautiful children -- killing the parents who refused to allow their sons to serve the governor. West European visitors, including Lord Byron have described Ali's court, where beautiful boys in long curly hair strutted about in crimson petticoats or paraded naked. Ali regularly bled his boys to keep them "docile, pale and beautiful" -- for which read subdued and weakened. These "smooth-limbed young ganymedes" entertained visitors with lewd songs and dances. It is said that Ali could not kiss nor fondle without hurting, and that he and his son, in cruel sport, tried out the various horrors described by the Marquis de Sade. Boys who displeased Ali were sewn in sacks and tossed into the lake, or put into a leopard's cage for the amusement of the court. Ali took pleasure in torturing his boys and in giving them gifts. In the end his downfall came from the Sultan's jealousy. Gossip has it that the Sultan was enraged at Ali's imitating an imperial prerogative by insisting that when a boy came to his bed, he must crawl up from the bottom on his belly. The "poetic description of the Turkish governor and his catamite" (age 15) in George Colman's Don Leon presumably reports Byron's own observations
His cheeks were comely and his skin was fair, . . .
Not Ganymede, whose all-bewitching shape
Could in Olympus sanctify a rape;
Not Ali, long the Moslem prophet's joy,
Bloomed with such grace as did this Grecian boy.
After Mehmed IV abolished the "child tribute," the supply of boys was maintained by an active slave traffic into Turkey. In 1822, some 45,000 Greek captives were distributed to the slave markets. In the 1850's Circassian slave dealers supplied large numbers of children -- often sold by their parents. Evidently many Circassians raised children to sell on the market, just as had French peasants in the 9th century. Pfeiffer reports making the acquaintance of a Circassian boy whose father had been murdered in clan wars when the boy was six. An enemy of his father then sold the boy to a caravan to Constantinople, where he was resold to a noble, who "employed him for some years in his exercises of pleasure." When the boy resisted or complained, he was bastinadoed with 20 to 50 blows to the feet, hanging head downwards from a rope. This was done so many days in succession that he could hardly walk. (A punishment neither defacing nor permitting escape.) He was also often left in a room without food or water for several days, to make him compliant. The youngster, who "looked exactly like an English boy," had served his master for seven years and now had expected to be freed -- but instead found himself being sold now that his bloom was fading.
In 1894, according to Hadden,<note 16> large numbers of the handsomest Armenian boys were taken for immoral purposes. And everywhere, but especially in Asia Minor, Greek children were helpless before the sexual onslaughts of Turks. A Greek would be killed by a mob for raising his hand to a Turk, even in defense of the bodies of his children. Therefore in Asia Minor, even in the early 1900's, many Greek fathers prepared their young sons for anal intercourse (presumably on the part of Turkish captors). The training, according to a scholarly article in Rassegna di studi sessuali began at age 7 or 8 and was both mental and physical. Greased wooden cylinders of gradually increasing size were used for anal dilation, being left in nightlong. Almost 90% of Greek boys in Asia Minor reputedly practiced "le Vice" with each other and many were taken to satisfy the lusts of neighboring Turks.
Probably no city has been so famous for its boy brothels as Istanbul. Boys of various nationalities, especially Greek and European and more recently Russian refugees, pale and curly-headed, dressed in gold embroidered clothes, were once available as abundantly as girls. Stem reports that the number of peg-houses tripled between 1846 and 1904. These statistics did not include the Turkish baths, where young boys have traditionally been employed as masseurs and as catamites. Another of the Byron-inspired poems of Colman tells of
seeking a brothel where . . .
The black-eyed boy his trade unblushing plies,
Where in lewd dance . . .
His supple haunches wiggling to and fro,
With looks voluptuous the thought excites . . .
These lust boys in the Turkish brothels were trained in sexual skills to an extent probably never elsewhere equalled, even in the boy brothels of Japan and China, especially in arts of titillation which were devastating in impact even before there was any bodily contact. It is said that these brothels, to the extent that they continue to exist, have preserved the arts developed to their peak of perfection in the Sultans' harems, the entertainments offered in the former sounding much the same as in the latter. One traveler told how court pages regaled visitors with a concert, imitating women's voices and dances with most agreeable charm, arousing the most lascivious desires. Another traveller described the Sultan himself, seated before a tent, surrounded by beautiful young pages who jump to his service with "degrading subserviency," enjoying a style of feebly effeminate wrestling which was offered in brothels for the titillation of the man in the street.
Such is the Greek side of the story of how the "vile Turks" "ravished" great numbers of Christian boys from their homes to serve "vile lusts."
Now for the Turkish side. To what extent are we talking of lust, or was there some love present in this extensive Turkish paidophilia? For the most part we are speaking (at least in the classical era of Turkish history) of boys who were slaves or captives, utterly at the mercy of masters who could do anything with them. Yet, surprisingly enough, these boys were often loyal and faithful to their masters. Arab chieftains were sometimes killed by their catamites, but (with a single clearly nonsexual political exception) never a Turk as far as I can discover! Many a Turkish nobleman or businessman could trust his favorite boy more than his own wife, children or employees. In many cases, even as with the Arab sheikhs' love-boys, these kept boys were treated with great respect and with more affection than the Turks' own children. They were, of course, segregated in harems, not free to leave; they were required to sing, dance and entertain their masters; they indulged in shameless and unrestrained sexual activities described by Westerners as "continuous orgies." But they were for the most part happy, charmingly affectionate, eagerly erotic and personally loyal.
The Turks were a lusty, life-loving people, who found great joy in sex. One would then be foolish to attempt to deny the sexual side of their boy-love relationships. Mary McCarthy, in The Stones of Florence (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1959), commenting on Greek love in the Renaissance, points out that this form of love is characteristic of all thriving mature cultures enjoying wealth and leisure. The Turks of the classical era were on the very crest, and the parallel with Periclean Greeks and Renaissance Italians is strong. If one is to speak of love in that culture, one must understand the context of a conquering male-idolizing culture. If sons and love-boys were alike cruelly treated at times, so too were adored wives and concubines. Sexual excesses characterized all love and all life. The classical Turk was fierce in battle and in bed, but he had a tremendous capacity also for love. Collectively terrifying, individual Turks nevertheless displayed a gentle, kindly, bumblingly affectionate side, doglike in eagerness to please. Adoring boys then sensually even as now more restrainedly, Turks were -- with boys as with women -- not content with their own voluptuousness until they could excite its counterpart in their partners. It is in this light that we can understand their particular predilection for European boys: to beauty was added an unusual(culturally determined) capacity for affection and erotic response -- strangely stronger in antisexual Europe, it seems, than in Muslim lands where sex was taken so much more casually.
Turks will admit that boys suffered at slave-dealers' lustful hands; but then slavers have everywhere been the scum of the earth. However, when a Turkish gentleman purchased a boy for sexual purposes, the boy was in no sense a counterpart of the African or American Negro in slavery. He was instead a member of the family -- albeit by purchase rather than by birth or marriage -- to be loved, to be called "son." Favorite boys grew up to marry their masters' daughters, to take over management of businesses, properties, etc. The Sultan's favorite boys often grew up to be generals, governors and high court officials. Stern reports (among many similar instances) that Rustem was the love-boy of Suleiman, that the Grand Vizier Silihdar Mehmed Pasha was as a boy a page in the palace who became the beloved of the Sultan, later promoted to positions of power and marrying a daughter of Sultan Mustafa.
And as for the notorious "child tax," even though they knew that many of the most charming boys would inevitably find their way into leading citizens' beds to be "ravished and feminized," parents in many Christian villages in the Balkans -- so far from attempting to hide their children -- fought for the privilege of providing them! For they knew, after all, that this was the path for a talented and handsome boy to rise in the government with an assured career. The boys were, in fact, not enslaved but conscripted into palace schools providing the best education available in the realm. These schools taught a variety of languages and gave intensive physical and military training, together with a classical education in what we would call humanities. Rycaut gives a thorough picture of the life and discipline in such schools, one of which continues to exist as the school to which aristocratic Turks today send their sons. It has, of course, evolved into a more conventional private preparatory school. Rycaut writes:
The Turks make it their chiefest care, that the Prince should be served by such, as owe both the cultivating of their minds and the nourishment of their body's to him; those youths thus are to be settled for the highest employments, are born of Christian parents, who coming from distant places, have no other interest to espouse, than that of the Grand Signior's. Those must be of good features and looks, and well shap'd, without any defects of Nature . . . (pp.11-12)
They are first instructed in modest behavior, being kept under a most severe discipline by the eunuchs, their guardians, who watch every step they take.
Rycaut then tells how some boys are selected for the dispensary, to serve the Sultan his drinks, forty being chosen to attend him personally in his chamber. One takes care of his water, one of his coat, one of his dogs, and so forth. Then he says:
The doctrine of Platonic love has found its admirers, even among the Turks, under the color of which vertuous passion, they frequently hide their unlawful inclinations . . . , several of the chiefest rank in the Seraglio, having made their addresses to the young pages upon this score, and by degrees allured them into their service. Thus Sultan Morat [Murad IV] became enamour'd of an Armenian boy, and afterwards of a novitiate of Galata, whom he advanc'd to the office of Sword-bearer; as the present Sultan [Mehmed IV] became a slave to the son of a slave, to such a degree, that he made him his chief favourite, never being content without his company. (p.15)
The boys in the palace were warned against the dangers of flirting with nobles, army officers, and others in the court, who might take a fancy to them or ask for them as a reward for favors done for the Sultan. But "boys will be boys." The more the eunuchs prevented them from having love affairs among themselves, the more they played the flirting game. The more the tribute boys in the school were warned against the men of the court who eyed them, the more they were tempted to the life of luxury in some courtier's home. In the school they had coarse food and stem discipline; small wonder, then, that few resisted the temptation of a brothel to attract the eye of the Sultan or some nobleman. They whispered to each other tantalizing rumors of the Sultan's table and bed, of the wealth and power awaiting those who could win his favor. In the presence of the potentates they "assumed an effeminacy which excites compassion," seeking to win the place of the youngster whose privilege was to stand beside the Sultan's bed fanning away insects. LeRouge tells of their curiosity to see the "charming posterior which the Sultan honors with his favors" of whichever young page was the Sultan's current darling.
Earlier we described the court of Ali Pasha, with its naked or purple-petticoated dancing boys lewdly entertaining the governor and his guests. Recent research displays the operation of Greek anti-Turkish prejudice in this story too. Granted that some beautiful boys were kidnapped, their resisting parents murdered, still most of the boys came to Ali's court willingly, brought by their parents. Such, too, was true of the boy dancers (batschas) in the harem of the Emir of Bokhara, mentioned by John Gunther in Inside Asia. Parents often wore a gold medal proudly indicating that they had contributed a son to the Emir's corps de ballet. In most matters the Greeks cringed in servile ways before Ali Pasha, ready to gratify his whims for economic or other material advantage. To have a son in the governor's harem was an obvious path to favor and fortune. Not only, then, did parents bring Ali their sons, they taught them lewd dancing to please the governor at first meeting.
Similarly did the peasant parents who prepared their boys' posteriors for the inevitable, display these boys to officials whose favor was wanted. When the tax collector came to the farm, he was shown around in the distracting presence of a seductive youngster, attention being quickly diverted from cattle and other taxable items towards the bedroom. Boys so prepared for this task were naturally more available to other comers -- and talked about it. They were understandably tempted to offer themselves in the streets when in need of anything. And according to the Rassegna essay, parents often bragged that their sons had slept with the Bey of so-and-so -- or the police captain. In a culture overly protective of women and girls, boys developed early love affairs among themselves, often secretly dreaming of the man who would love them and bring them luxury. When a possible candidate showed up, force was therefore unnecessary; boys gave themselves eagerly in search of true love, and sometimes indeed they found it. If this was true of free boys, so much more of slaves. Deprived of family and freedom, their sole hope of happiness was in pleasing their masters, their love and devotion putting to shame the masters' lust. Since sex was inevitable, the slave boy's appropriate course was to devote himself to it as an artist and lover.
What then is the true picture? To what extent did Greek love exist in classical Turkey? To what extent was the Turks' paidophilia mere sexual exploitation of the helpless? Some of both must be admitted. Among many Turks, playing with boys was a sensual sport, pursued in turkish baths, in peg-houses, in harems, where Greek love is no term to describe casual encounters with bejeweled boys whose grooming, dance and song were calculated to arouse lust, where boys were toys to play with and toss aside. Certainly if one truly loves a boy, he will not wish to see that boy trained to serve indifferently the lust of every Ali, Mehmed and Mustafa, -- trained to use perfume and cosmetics, to undress suggestively, to flirt and dance lewdly, etc., in default of an education which might serve his own adult life. Such training is not calculated to help any boy grow up to be a mature member of a society.
We are suggesting that one way to distinguish Greek love from its counterfeit, in or out of Turkey, is to look at the goals the man seeks for his boy. In true Greek love, he will seek to give him the kind of education enabling him to fulfill his capacities, to become a joyous outgoing adult. Some Turks, at least, did rescue many boys from hopelessness, giving them love and first-rate educations. Sex was in a mutual fulfillment context.
Perhaps in fiction rather than in history we can better find the meaning of love in a culture: specifically, in the love story. History books all too often make some of the greatest love affairs sound like clinical case records.
Unfortunately little translated fiction is available, and I cannot now find the two best novels I ever read on this subject years ago -- both Victorian era stories. (Can some reader identify either?) One was the tale of a "tax child," of his misery and hunger for love after being torn from his family. The boy gradually begins to hate his father, feeling that surely the latter could have done something about it had he wished. How can a 12-year-old understand his father's helplessness before the Turkish throne? The boy feels his father could at least have preferred death for himself and the whole family -- but no, he had willingly let him go, even giving him a nice little lecture on "being a good boy and obeying your new master." As love for father turns to hatred, the boy begins to fall in love with the Turkish army captain, strong, virile, athletic, brave. Once the boy dares say to him,"I wish my father were like you," causing the captain to notice the boy's adoring look. Love breeds love, love offered is hard to accept; but willy-nilly the captain finds himself increasingly falling in love with the boy, finally keeping him for himself. There is no cruelty, only tenderness, deep affection, and the joy of a boy who cannot do enough to please the new master who returns his love. One bizarre little note: the night before the captain takes the boy to bed for the first time, he shows him a torture chamber "to show you what happens to boys who do not please and obey their masters" – incongruous because obviously unnecessary. The boy is so adoringly infatuated with the captain that he could refuse him nothing.
Much the same sort of adoring boy is pictured in Nikos Kazantzakis's The Greek Passion, which begins with the Turkish official's musing over the darling boy who is his comfort and joy. His grief and anguish when this boy is murdered by his Greek enemies is unmistakable, matched by the love shown in the boy's earlier songs, gestures, affectionate glances. Though the film He Who Must Die ignores this phase of the story, the boy's affectionate glances are present in its opening scenes.
Some may disagree with my interpretation of Kyra Kyralina, but I believe my view defensible. I see it as a work of nostalgia. A man corrupted by later experiences of vice -- as for example his teenage prison experience wherein he was used sexually by all his mates -- looks back with mixed emotions to the two romances he had with men when he was a young boy. The book has the authentic ring of autobiography, confirmed in a note by Romain Rolland in the French paperback edition, telling how the author was a vagabond in Turkey from age 12, "possessed by passions" like his novel's young hero, who had been rather willingly kidnapped at 11 by one Nazim Effendi, a boat captain in the business of "furnishing flesh for harems." Istrati tells the story as an older man, recalling how he "delivered himself body and soul into the hands of this protector." Three days he went aboard the ship anchored in the river near his home. "We ate delicious cakes, danced, and amused ourselves . . . in intimate ways without blushing." The boy was so pleased with the Effendi's attentions and with the beautiful clothing he was given to wear aboard, that he was tempted to beg to be allowed to sail with the ship. The first two days he allowed the captain to undress him and put away the beautiful clothes, at night remembering the intimacies at the hands of his sexually skillful friend. Perhaps he would not have sailed on the third day had he not gotten into some trouble at home . . . but again he might have. He quickly became habituated to the new life of opium and "vice."
"Vice" is his term for sex, but he confesses that he greatly enjoyed the bed and affections of the Effendi. In this world (says he) a man can become accustomed to anything, but nothing so easily as vice when one truly loves and is loved. The blond Rumanian boy basked in his life on ship as the captain's favorite, dressed like a young prince with a gold watch, seated on a cushion embroidered with gold thread, eating baklava and drinking coffee from superb finjans, reveling in the smiles and caresses of his ravisher. The first night he knelt and kissed the captain's knees for joy, thinking himself en route to heaven as he was bent to serve the pleasures of his benefactor, who taught him new tastes and new desires until he was completely converted . . .
Four years he shared the Effendi's bed. When he found a chance to run away, it was because the ship was docked at Istanbul and he believed his mother to be nearby. There he quickly fell instead into the hands of a Bey, who became deeply infatuated with him, so passionately that he devoted almost full time to the boy's amusement: gifts of a dog, a horse, jewelry, a pipe, even girls. The Bey lacked the Effendi's slyness, violence and "wickedness," but caressed him with "true and sincere love" and "narcotic voluptuousness." The boy again felt himself a prisoner of love, even as before, but he could not resist responding to the Bey's tenderness. These clever Turks (he reports) know how to get what they want, one way or another. "There are several ways to conquer a passionate soul and the easiest is to speak tenderly. It was easy for him, for he loved me sincerely; but the devil teaches sincerity to the passionate!" But he adds, "By having me guarded always by a servant armed to the teeth, he violated my last expression of love." So the boy ran away again, to the life of a vagabond knowing only the brutal sex life of the road with none of the love of his two protectors. Does he not feel, in retrospect, that he should have stayed with Nazim Effendi and mutual love?
In conclusion, then, do we find lust or love? Probably classical Turkish boy-love should not be called true Greek love -- rather a love nourished in sensual lust. Yet at points it does approach Greek love when there is deep reciprocal affection, when each actively desires the fulfilment of the other, when the man seeks to nurture the boy, to raise him as a man able to use his talents maturely.
We note an interesting paradox, which we will explore further in another essay. Many men believe that tenderness to their sons produces sissies. Turkish evidence suggests rather that the boys loved most tenderly grew into the most virile men, those used most brutally became effeminates. Tenderness did not mean sexual restraint or abstention. In an atmosphere where sex was accepted and enjoyed, even brutal selfish sex was sometimes a natural accompaniment -- or prelude -- to masculine love. As for the boys, they grumbled about slavery, about having to work or study (even as today) but they rarely grumbled about sex -- save perhaps to suggest that the master spent too much time with his women. Even sex at first forcible could sometimes grow into love. In the West where we hear always that sex should only follow love, we tend to forget that sex can nurture or stimulate love. Many a master who thought he wanted a boy only for sex ended up loving him madly. And cannot a boy find sex also a path to love?
Classical Turks had a saying: "Fear makes a boy into a woman, love makes him into a man." They taught that he who loves a boy should lead him through several stages of sexual enjoyment. (1) Receiving caresses and compliments, teaching him to blush and enjoy his body's bloom. (2) Arousing, teaching him joy in his penile desires. (3) Kissing, enjoying his partner's arousal. (4) Anticipation, whetted by fitting words and tickling of intimate regions. (5) Desire: the boy's penis is titillated, the man's member is pressed against the boy's anus. (6) Coitus: the boy forgets himself, the man does as he will, teasing the boy's penis only. (7) Climax: the man seizes the boy's penis as a handle, in the Greek manner, to control the boy's movements and bring him if possible to simultaneous ejaculation. (8) Afterplay: fellation by the boy. (9) Waiting: the boy is attentive for signs of renewed interest. (10) Hoping: the boy comes to sit on his lover's lap, or climbs in bed beside him in preparation for another cycle.
These stages were much the same in the brothel, in the field where a captured boy would be sleeping with his soldier captor and learning them from him, in the judge's house or the slave merchant's quarters; the same whether the boy was loved or merely lusted after. Listening to talk of these stages, or reading about them, led Western observers to judge that all was lust and none love, and to write the notes used in anti-Turkish polemics. But in this propaganda even as in the history books, real love affairs had a way of being reduced to a few lines of heartless journalism. Whether or not the reader decides that in any given instance Greek love was present, I nevertheless suggest that often the heart of man and boy shared in the love-making, with richness of affection and emotion which gave them abiding joy, richness of companionship, and which nurtured a love overriding and transforming the stages of sexual passion into tender acts of mutual adoration.
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