Jupiter may have had his Ganymede, but none of the standard pantheon of gods were gay as we use the term. Pope Alexander, the Borgia pope, prohibited priests from being alone with altar boys. Cassian, a martyr of the early Church whose execution is described in the Martyrology of the Dominican order. Their hands were weak, but this only served to prolong his final agony.
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And given its prevalence among the priesthood, you might idly wonder if perhaps the contagion lurks in the study of Latin? The urge to bugger was understandable.
As often observed, it was better to give than receive. He tends to see things, as witness Cleopatra, from more than one angle. Slavery was a fluid thing.
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A matter of luck. Slaves were as human as anyone: skilled workers, clerks, essential household servants, an extended family of sorts. And Horace seems only too aware of his being an attendant on the great, and of his own social boundaries. As for sexual convenience, his heart seems as much, if not more, taken by these boys as by the various women in his poems. Est mihi nomum superantis annum plenus Albani cadus; est in horto, Phylli, nectendis apium coronis; est hederae vis multa, qua crinis religata fulges Hope tumbles to earth like burnt up Phaeton.
Poetry can ease the murky pain. The often translated Intermissa, Venus in which Horace begs the goddess to spare him from her new assault. First, W. Then why, my Ligurinus, why these unaccustomed tears on my cheeks? Why does my eloquent tongue ineptly fall silent among the words?
But why, Lirius, why am I Crying? What holds My eloquent tongue, stops its flight Even as I stand pouring out words? Even though Horace, in a subsequent Ode 4. Any more than Humbert Humbert could. And rightly so. Augustan males and Augustus himself achieved their majority at The minimum marriage age for males was 14, for females, We share a common, sometimes dark, humanity with our Roman ancestors, their language inhabits ours.
I think the puer in Persicos odi, puer, apparatus The sense of tension at the roots. O beate Sesti vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam. A gracious west wind melts harsh winter into spring. Winches hoist up dry docked ships. Meadows shed their grizzled frost white fur and Cytherean Venus leads the dancing singers under an imminent moon. Coming into his own day. It makes you want to stand up and clap.
There are two things about this poem keep in mind. And two: Horace is a complex fellow. Simple myrtle is simple lust. But the roots are in what Horace may be saying to himself. And what am I doing to him? You could spin the translation this way, make the imagined scene obvious.
The problem with the translations I quoted at the beginning is that they all spin to a surface conclusion that forecloses anything deeper. What follows, spins a little in tone. I expand Persicos But I resisted the urge to expand on myrtle. My translation is a few years old and I recently came upon a translation of the poem on the WEB by Margaret Graver in which the second stanza begins. Peachy Persian-isms gag me, Boy.
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Braiding flowers into little crowns is so offensive. Stop searching for all those places where the last rose lingers. Plain myrtle. We want to be especially careful not to belabor it. A lot of meandering just to come up with eight simple lines that you can read as little or as much into as you want.
Am I reading too much into them? But their incantations still whisper with life. Soon after, Rome's defeat of Carthage confirmed Venus's goodwill to Rome, her links to its mythical Trojan past, and her support of its political and military hegemony. The Capitoline cult to Venus seems to have been reserved to higher status Romans.
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A separate cult to Venus Erycina as a fertility deity,  was established in BC, in a traditionally plebeian district just outside Rome's sacred boundary , near the Colline Gate. The temple, cult and goddess probably retained much of the original's character and rites. Towards the end of the Roman Republic , some leading Romans laid personal claims to Venus' favour.
The general and dictator Sulla adopted Felix "Lucky" as a surname, acknowledging his debt to heaven-sent good fortune and his particular debt to Venus Felix , for his extraordinarily fortunate political and military career. Pompey's erstwhile friend, ally, and later opponent Julius Caesar went still further. He claimed the favours of Venus Victrix in his military success and Venus Genetrix as a personal, divine ancestress — apparently a long-standing family tradition among the Julii.
When Caesar was assassinated, his heir, Augustus , adopted both claims as evidence of his inherent fitness for office, and divine approval of his rule. Vitruvius recommends that any new temple to Venus be sited according to rules laid down by the Etruscan haruspices , and built "near to the gate" of the city, where it would be less likely to contaminate "the matrons and youth with the influence of lust".
He finds the Corinthian style, slender, elegant, enriched with ornamental leaves and surmounted by volutes , appropriate to Venus' character and disposition. It was the largest temple in Ancient Rome.
Venus was offered official state-sponsored cult in certain festivals of the Roman calendar. Her sacred month was April Latin Mensis Aprilis which Roman etymologists understood to derive from aperire , "to open," with reference to the springtime blossoming of trees and flowers. Venus Verticordia was invented in BC, in response to advice from a Sibylline oracle during Rome's Punic Wars ,  when a series of prodigies was taken to signify divine displeasure at sexual offenses among Romans of every category and class, including several men and three Vestal Virgins.
At first, this statue was probably housed in the temple of Fortuna Virilis , perhaps as divine reinforcement against the perceived moral and religious failings of its cult. In BC Venus Verticordia was given her own temple. During her rites, her image was taken from her temple to the men's baths, where it was undressed and washed in warm water by her female attendants, then garlanded with myrtle.
Women and men asked Venus Verticordia's help in affairs of the heart, sex, betrothal and marriage.
For Ovid , Venus's acceptance of the epithet and its attendant responsibilities represented a change of heart in the goddess herself. Vinalia urbana April 23 , a wine festival shared by Venus and Jupiter , king of the gods. Venus was patron of " profane " wine, for everyday human use. Jupiter was patron of the strongest, purest, sacrificial grade wine, and controlled the weather on which the autumn grape-harvest would depend.
At this festival, men and women alike drank the new vintage of ordinary, non-sacral wine in honour of Venus, whose powers had provided humankind with this gift. Upper-class women gathered at Venus's Capitoline temple, where a libation of the previous year's vintage, sacred to Jupiter, was poured into a nearby ditch. Vinalia Rustica August 19 , originally a rustic Latin festival of wine, vegetable growth and fertility.
This was almost certainly Venus' oldest festival and was associated with her earliest known form, Venus Obsequens. Kitchen gardens and market-gardens, and presumably vineyards were dedicated to her. Varro insists that the day was sacred to Jupiter, whose control of the weather governed the ripening of the grapes; but the sacrificial victim, a female lamb agna , may be evidence that it once belonged to Venus alone. A festival of Venus Genetrix September 26 was held under state auspices from 46 BC at her Temple in the Forum of Caesar , in fulfillment of a vow by Julius Caesar , who claimed her personal favour as his divine patron, and ancestral goddess of the Julian clan.
Caesar dedicated the temple during his unprecedented and extraordinarily lavish quadruple triumph. At the same time, he was pontifex maximus and Rome's senior magistrate; the festival is thought to mark the unprecedented promotion of a personal, family cult to one of the Roman state. Caesar's heir, Augustus, made much of these personal and family associations with Venus as an Imperial deity.
As with most major gods and goddesses in Roman mythology , the literary concept of Venus is mantled in whole-cloth borrowings from the literary Greek mythology of her counterpart, Aphrodite.
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