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Are Homosexual Civil Unions A 600-year-old Tradition?


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Are Homosexual Civil Unions A 600-year-old Tradition?

A compelling new study from the September issue of the Journal of Modern History reviews historical evidence, including documents and gravesites, suggesting that homosexual civil unions may have existed six centuries ago in France. The article is the latest from the ongoing "Contemporary Issues in Historical Perspective" series, which explores the intersection between historical knowledge and current affairs.


Thanks to BSK for the link.


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Guest Rustic Monk

This is an idiotic discussion. Everyone here in the western hemisphere has had proven homosexual cookers and hunters since before time could prove. I can't believe palaeontology only cares about Europe.

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The emphasis on European history and pre-history is mainly due to the fact that 'they' are the 'conquerers' over such a large area of the planet. That is not to say that it was planned that way, as each section of Europe seems to have had its own agenda, but the final result is certainly that they have collectively exerted their influence over huge areas, whether wanted or not (mostly not, then, or now). The depressing part is that some of the bad things have been brought along with them. I know that not everything they brought with them is 'bad', but attitudes of intollerance for different ways of loving/relationships, a contempt for (and therefore control over and abuse of) nature, aggressive competition rather than cooperation, and intractible attitudes against different beliefs are particularly painful to us all.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Rustic Monk wrote; This is an idiotic discussion.


Personally I think its an extremely interesting discussion particularly if its proved that civil unions pre-date us by 600 years or more.

I believe he's referring to, pointedly, the various Native American cultures which practiced, in an accepted 'legal' and social fashion, such things longer ago than that, including prior to whites landing on the mainland, yet are not part of the majority of studies, which are usually EuroCentric, highly Christianized (even if it's subliminal) and white-oriented.

I (TR) used 4th century BC Greek male homosexual civil unions in a military context, using an actual historical basis (Plutarch and Plato), in my story Sacred Band of Thebes, which you can read or hear me read aloud via Wimpy button at (stories listed alphabetically by title):

http://awesomedude.com/tr/ (shameless plug? youbetcha)

But I've also read a bit on what Rustic is talking about and agree that some of the peoples in the Americas had very respected and complex same-sex civil union options. The exact practices, and their existance, vary by time, place and tribe/town but ought to be considered right alongside EuroCentric research, so I agree on that.

I disagree on a smaller point, that of the dangers of looking into the past and applying modern interpretations to what we discover. Gay researchers tend to do this quite a lot. For instance, a good case can be made that the word 'homosexual' or, even more, 'gay', is not appropriate to use for partnerships prior to the early 20th century...but that's another thread, I guess.

Just some thoughts.


TR, still sick and not back online (much) yet...

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This may be a little academic and confrontational, so excuse me in advance, please.

If we focus in too much on one region (even if that's a continent) as our sole historical and cultural proof, then we're ignoring the bigger human picture. It's one of the mistakes that lead to saying something is supposedly true or right of all people, and therefore one of the mistakes that led to the claims against homosexuality in the first place. (Some things may be absolutes and some things are morally/ethically just, but much is variable in human behavior.)


I also take Rustic Monk's comment to point out that:

We may consider European and Judeo-Christian history and talk about changes in attitudes towards same-sex relationships (in their cultural context through time). That 600 year old tradition is in a certain region, rather than global.

But that's incomplete. It ignores the history of other cultures on other continents. It even ignores paleo-European and ancient, early historical European cultures. "France" wasn't even a unified country until a few hundred years ago. (It was a loose and contentious group of opposing kingdoms / duchies.)

Yes, he meant paleoanthropology / -history / -archeology, rather than paleontology, but ehh, that should be understandable, imho.


I'd agree with TR on that:

Not all cultures view same-sex relationships in the same ways, and they each would have a different view of what a same-sex relationship involves. A culture changes over time, so it isn't quite the same thing, from generation to generation, and so its views on same-sex relationships will differ over time.

In other words, like TR pointed out, what's "gay" to you or me may be different, and might have a very different meaning (or little in common) with how another group thinks of a same-sex relationship.


My point, really, is to consider a wider context. I'm probably belaboring it; sorry if I've aggravated anyone.

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OK, a less negative and more constructive answer on my part:

That's one particular region in what is now France, six centuries ago.

"Affr?rement, un pain, un vin, et une bourse."

(Brotherment, one bread, one wine, and one purse.) (Yes, purse, back then.)

"Affr?rement" -- The article gives a rough translation as "brotherment." "Affiliation" or some sort of "mutual adoption" might be close too. That could be carrying on as brothers/cousins as adults, to keep a family unit going. It could be close friends or roommates sharing a household, regardless of sexual orientation. It could be a form of gay partnership. Um, it could be other kinds of same-sex unions. -- But the important thing is, they are "adopting" each other as if they were "brothers," and forming a home, a household, a family unit... as well as something like a "house"/family or estate, in terms of inheritance or landholding or kinship.

Hmm, you know, that sounds like a pretty good way to offer options to keep families together or form new families. C'est formidable, vive l'affr?rement.

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You know, blue, that brotherment would be the perfect relationship for me and my straight best friend. We love each other, but not in a gay relationship way, but most definitely as if we are actual family.

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