Historical pederastic couples

Over the course of history there have been a number of known pederastic relationships between adult men and adolescent boys. In some of these cases both members became well-known historical figures, while in others, only one of the two did.

The legal status of these relationships has varied with culture and jurisdiction. At present pederastic relationships between unrelated individuals above the local age of consent are legal in most jurisdictions.

Though all such relationships are by definition homoerotic in nature, the individuals involved do not necessarily identify themselves as homosexuals. The nature of the relationships have ranged from overtly sexual to what is now referred to as platonic, sometimes out of religious principle.

Problematics of the pederastic record

In the pre-modern and modern West, their equivocal status has made pederastic relationships difficult to document, since it was in the interest of both participants to keep the relationship secret. According to historian Michael Kaylor,

[S]ince in Victorian England 'homosexual behaviour became subject to increased legal penalties, notably by the Labouchère Amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which extended the law to cover all male homosexual acts, whether committed in public or private', expecting 'verifiable data' concerning their unconventional desires is the ultimate scholarly presumption.
Another obstacle to the documentation of such relationships has been the destruction of "incriminating" personal and public records, either to "preserve the honor" of the individuals involved, or as retribution against their perceived transgressions.

Some examples of this destruction of personal records by solicitous next-of-kin are the burning of the papers of Richard Francis Burton (among which his autobiographical magnum opus) by his wife at the time of his death, a project reported to have taken a number of days. Likewise, the sister of Horatio Alger destroyed his correspondence upon his death. The same fate befell the personal papers of Philip II, Duke of Orléans, whose wife entered his chambers upon his death and disposed of his voluminous correspondence with his various minions. Death is not the only occasion when such records are lost. The wife of André Gide burned thirty years of almost daily correspondence between them ("The best of myself," he later claimed) upon learning of his elopement to London with Marc Allégret, his teenage boyfriend, declaring she had been left with "nothing else to do."

Nevertheless a very small percentage of these relationships have become public knowledge, usually because one of the members disclosed it as part of his artistic production, or because the relationship came to the attention of the authorities and the legal record was preserved. In recent years, with the greater public acceptance of homosexual expression, such information has become somewhat easier to come by, especially in those cases where the relationship is no longer illegal.

Known or presumed pederastic couples

In the following list the couples are listed in chronological order, and the name of the older partner precedes that of the younger. Though many more men are known to have engaged in such relationships, only those instances in which the name of the younger partner is known are included. In keeping with various traditions which allow (and actually privilege) chaste pederastic relationships ''(See Philosophy of pederasty and Nazar ila'l-murd),'' included below are also relationships in which there is evidence of an erotic component even in the absence of actual sexual relations.

Ancient and premodern Asia

Middle Ages

Pre-modern period

Seventeenth century

Eighteenth century

Nineteenth century

:Lord Henry Somerset's verse is not so good as his music. Most of the Songs of Adieu are marred by their excessive sentimentality of feeling and by the commonplace character of their weak and lax form. There is nothing that is new and little that is true in verse of this kind [...] It can be produced in any quantity. Lord Henry Somerset has too much heart and too little art to make a good poet, and such art as he does possess is devoid of almost every intellectual quality and entirely lacking in any intellectual strength. He has nothing to say and says it.

20th century

See also



Muslim Lands


Pre-Modern Period


External links

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