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Between Medieval MenMale Friendship and Desire in Early Medieval English Literature$
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David Clark

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558155.001.0001

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Germanic Pederasty: The Evidence of the Classical Ethnographers

Germanic Pederasty: The Evidence of the Classical Ethnographers

Chapter:
(p.39) 2 Germanic Pederasty: The Evidence of the Classical Ethnographers
Source:
Between Medieval Men
Author(s):

David Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558155.003.0003

Chapter 2 reviews the ethnographical evidence available which suggests that the pre‐Migration Germanic tribes may have practised pederasty and same‐sex rites of initiation, also comparing accounts of similar practices among the Celts. It explains apparently countervailing evidence from Tacitus's Germania by adducing the Old Norse discourse of nið, where only the passive partner in same‐sex acts seems to have been stigmatized. It forms a pair with the following chapter which, with this heritage in mind, seeks to uncover the range of attitudes to same‐sex activity in Anglo‐Saxon England.

Keywords:   ethnography, Germanic, pederasty, same‐sex acts, Celts, Tacitus, Germania, Old Norse, nið, stigmatization

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