By Louis Crompton
How have significant civilizations of the final millennia taken care of those that have been interested in their very own intercourse? In a story tour de force, Louis Crompton chronicles the lives and achievements of gay women and men along a darker heritage of persecution, as he compares the Christian West with the cultures of historical Greece and Rome, Arab Spain, imperial China, and pre-Meiji Japan. old Greek tradition celebrated same-sex love in heritage, literature, and artwork, making excessive claims for its ethical impact. in contrast, Jewish non secular leaders within the 6th century B.C.E. branded male homosexuality as a capital offense and, later, blamed it for the destruction of the biblical urban of Sodom. while those traditions collided in Christian Rome through the overdue empire, the tragic repercussions have been felt all through Europe and the recent global. Louis Crompton lines Church-inspired mutilation, torture, and burning of “sodomites” in sixth-century Byzantium, medieval France, Renaissance Italy, and in Spain below the Inquisition. yet Protestant professionals have been both dedicated to the execution of homosexuals within the Netherlands, Calvin’s Geneva, and Georgian England. the foundation reason used to be non secular superstition, abetted by means of political ambition and sheer greed. but from this cauldron of fears and wishes, homoerotic topics surfaced within the paintings of the Renaissance masters―Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Sodoma, Cellini, and Caravaggio―often intertwined with Christian motifs. Homosexuality additionally flourished within the courtroom intrigues of Henry III of France, Queen Christina of Sweden, James I and William III of britain, Queen Anne, and Frederick the good. Anti-homosexual atrocities devoted within the West distinction starkly with the extra tolerant traditions of pre-modern China and Japan, as published in poetry, fiction, and artwork and within the lives of emperors, shoguns, Buddhist monks, students, and actors. within the samurai culture of Japan, Crompton makes transparent, the party of same-sex love rivaled that of historical Greece. Sweeping in scope, elegantly crafted, and lavishly illustrated, Homosexuality and Civilization is a beautiful exploration of a wealthy and negative previous.