For instance, Elworthy makes reference to an archaic Polish folk tale that tells of a man whose gaze was such a potent carrier of the curse that he resorted to cutting out his own eyes rather than continuing to spread misfortune to his loved ones. Just how far back do these go? They were in the form of some abstract alabaster idols made with incised eyes.
How were these early prototypes of Tell Brak distilled into the more modern versions? Yildiran makes reference to several blue Eye of Horus pendants excavated in Egypt, asserting that these could in a way be seen as the most influential predecessor to the modern nazar. According to Yildiran, early Turkic tribes held a strong fascination with this shade of blue because of its connections with their sky deity, Tengri, and likely co-opted the use of cobalt and copper as a result.
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The blue evil eye beads underwent a widespread circulation in the region, being used by the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and, perhaps most famously, the Ottomans. Though their usage was most concentrated in the Mediterranean and the Levant, through means of trade and the expansion of empires the blue eye beads began to find their way to all different corners of the globe.
Although the symbol may have the ability to transcend boundaries — be they cultural, geographical or religious — it may be worth considering its meaning beyond a mere trinket or fashion statement. By Quinn Hargitai 19 February As in his previous publications , Boin explores the dynamic cultural interactions that took place throughout the Roman world and considers how these interactions resulted in different Christian orientations. It will surely appeal to audiences beyond the tweedy folk who work on late antiquity for a living.
The first premise is that Coming Out Christian breaks ground previously untilled by historians of the Roman Empire or early Christianity. Boin stakes his claim on a privileged insight into history as it really happened, advertising the real story of how Christianity began. This framing implies that other scholars working on this time period are either negligent or, worse, actively complicit in the suppression of the real story.
While Gibbon is a fun straw man to cudgel — early modern historians say the darndest things! There are at least five different major university presses that publish regularly on the question of what happened to the Roman world and the role of Christianity in that transformation. Boin knows this, as his erudite previous scholarship has demonstrated — a fact that makes the vaunted claims of the present book so surprising. Such a reliance on hyperbole to buttress the work of historical analysis inevitably means that the novelty of the argument is emphasized at the expense of the argument itself.
In a contemporary moment in which journalism comes prepackaged in the form of clickbait headlines, the similar packaging of academic scholarship for a wider audience is a most worrisome trend. Scholars of early Christianity — Virginia Burrus , Stephen Moore , Benjamin Dunning , and Maia Kotrosits to name only a few — have been making important connections between the literature of this period and the fields of gender and queer studies for the better part of two decades.
Nevertheless, Coming Out Christian does not engage the fraught histories of the terms it uses. Nor does it promote an awareness of the groundbreaking reflections surrounding them that have been ongoing since the s by acclaimed thinkers such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick , Judith Butler , and Jack Halberstam. Indeed, the terms are not unpacked at any point in the book. It is here that the metaphor of coming out Christian fails dramatically, unable to support the weight of the analytical work it is asked to do. Indeed, the metaphor ultimately undermines the stated goals of the book. Therefore, in this article, we will have to focus on male homosexuality.
Let's start with the word "homosexual".
It looks like an ancient Greek expression, but word and concept are modern inventions: It took several decades for the word to become current. In ancient Greece, there never was a word to describe homosexual practices: Foucault's often-quoted answer is in the negative, because he assumes that the early nineteenth century was a discontinuity with the preceding history.
And it is true: In their eyes, it was not despicable when a married man had affairs with boys, although the Athenians expected a man to have children -especially sons- with his lawful wife. The Athenian man was, according to Foucault, a macho, a penetrator, the one who forced others to do what he wanted them to do. This view now seems outdated. Not all Athenian women have been passive and not all men were dominant. Prostitution, which was an important aspect of Athenian life, had little to do with male dominance; nor was - and this is important - Greek homosexuality restricted to pederasty between a dominant adult and a shy boy.
Those scholars who prefer the historical approach are convinced that pederasty originates in Dorian initiation rites. The Dorians were the last tribe to migrate to Greece, and they are usually described as real he-men with a very masculine culture.
According to the proponents of this theory, pederasty came to being on the Dorian island Crete, where grown-up men used to kidnap consenting adolescents. It is assumed that this practice spread from Crete to the Greek mainland. In the soldiers' city Sparta , it was not uncommon when a warrior took care of a younger recruit and stood next to him on the battlefield, where the two bravely protected each other.
Especially in aristocratic circles, pederasty is believed to have been common. There are, indeed, a great many pictures on vases that show how an older lover, the erastes , courts a boy, the eromenos. They appear not to be of the same age: He will never take an initiative, looks shy, and is never shown as excited. It is assumed by many modern scholars that as soon as the adolescent had a beard, the love affair had to be finished.
Greek Homosexuality - Livius
He had to find an eromenos of his own. It was certainly shameful when a man with a beard remained the passive partner pathikos and it was even worse when a man allowed himself to be penetrated by another grown-up man.
The Greeks even had a pejorative expression for these people, whom were called kinaidoi. They were the targets of ridicule by the other citizens, especially comedy writers. For example, Aristophanes c. In this scholarly reconstruction of ancient sexual behavior, the older lover is presented as some sort of substitute father: He showed his affection with little presents, like animals a hare or cock , but also pieces of meat, a disk, a bottle of oil, a garland, a toy, or money.
This type of love affair was, according to this modern theory, based upon sexual reciprocity.
Meanwhile, however, this image of "pedagogical pederasty" has been challenged by a series of important publications like Charles Hupperts' thesis Eros Dikaios It is now clear that homosexuality was not restricted to pederasty, and that we have to study our evidence more carefully. For example, not every older erastes had a beard, and it turns out to be a modern fairy tale that the younger eromenos was never aroused.
From literary sources, we know that boys had their own sexual feelings. The sixth-century Athenian poet Theognis, for example, complains about his lover's fickleness and promiscuity. Several vases show young men with an erect penis.