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14 November 2007 @ 11:36 am
Okay, this may be a lame segue, but...  
...piggybacking on my last post, this post will be about the Sacred Band of Thebes. Being a bit of a history buff, after making my post yesterday, I began surfing the web looking for info on this legendary ancient fighting force comprised of male couples.

Below is Wikipedia's body of info...

Sacred Band of Thebes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Sacred Band of Thebes (ancient Greek: Ιερός Λόχος τών Θηβών) was a troop of picked soldiers, numbering 150 age-structured which formed the elite force of the Theban army in the 4th century BC.[1] It was organized by the Theban commander Gorgidas in 378 BC and it played a crucial role in the Battle of Leuctra, and was completely annihilated in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC.

Plutarch reports that the Sacred Band consisted of homosexual couples and the reason was that lovers would fight more fiercely and more cohesively at each other's sides than would strangers with no ardent bonds. So according to Plutarch (in his Life of Pelopidas[2]), the inspiration for the Band's formation came from Plato’s Symposium, wherein the character Phaedrus remarks:

And if there were only some way of contriving that a state or an army should be made up of lovers and their loves, they would be the very best governors of their own city, abstaining from all dishonour, and emulating one another in honour; and when fighting at each other's side, although a mere handful, they would overcome the world. For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by all mankind than by his beloved, either when abandoning his post or throwing away his arms? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this. Or who would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour of danger? [3]

The Sacred Band originally was formed of picked men in couples, each lover and beloved, selected from the ranks of the existing Theban citizen-army. The pairs consisted of the older "heniochoi", or charioteers, and the younger "paraibatai", or companions. They were housed and trained at the city’s expense.[4] During their early engagements, in an attempt to bolster a general morale, they were dispersed by their commander Gorgidas throughout the front ranks of the Theban army.

After the Theban general Pelopidas recaptured the acropolis of Thebes in 379 BC, he assumed command of the Sacred Band in which he fought alongside his good friend, Epaminondas. It was Pelopidas who formed these couples into a distinct unit: he “never separated or scattered them, but would stand [them with himself in] the brunt of battle, using them as one body.”[5] They became, in effect, the “crack” force of Greek soldiery [6], and the forty years of their known existence (378 – 338 BC) marked the pre-eminence of Thebes as a military and political power in late-classical Greece.

The Sacred Band under Pelopidas fought the Spartans at Tegyra in 375 BC, vanquishing an army that was at least three times their number. It was also responsible for the victory of Leuctra in 371 BC, called by Pausanias the most decisive battle ever fought by Greeks against Greeks. Leuctra established Theban independence from Spartan rule, and laid the groundwork for the expansion of Theban power, though possibly also for Philip II's eventual victory.

Defeat came at the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), the decisive contest in which Philip II of Macedon (with his son, Alexander the Great, as he would later be known) extinguished the authority of the Greek city-states. The traditional Greek hoplite infantry were no match for the novel long-speared Macedonian phalanx: the Theban army and its allies broke and fled, but the Sacred Band, though surrounded and overwhelmed, refused to surrender. They held their ground and fell where they stood. Plutarch records that upon encountering their corpses “heaped one upon another”, King Philip, understanding who they were, exclaimed:

"Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly."[7]

In about 300 BC, the town of Thebes erected a giant stone lion on a pedestal at the burial site of the Sacred Band. This was restored in the 20th Century and is standing today. Though Plutarch claims that all three hundred died that day, excavation of the burial site at the Lion Monument in 1890 produced only 254 skeletons, arranged in seven rows[8].

The Lion Monument

Here's the link to Wikipedia for the Notes and References, if you like... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Band_of_Thebes

***Here's a link to another source if you want to read more... http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/sacredband.html

Now, if you're still with me, a question...a thought...or whatever...! First, I'm no lover of war...hate it! But what if you HAD to fight...HAD to...let's say your country was being invaded. Would it make it easier to fight with your lover by your side? Would you be braver? Stronger? Do you think it would make the time between battles easier? Would you spend that time being with your lover...how about worrying over your lover? Do you think a unit like this would function the same in today's world?

(Deleted comment)
Mark: guy Mattboywondermark on November 14th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
LOL! I saw it on the news this morning, Phil! All I can say is that it's about damned time! *grin*

I guess he had to do those Jason Bourne action flicks to earn the title, eh?!
guardian1 on November 14th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
I definitely think I would fight harder and more fiercely with someone
I love by my side (I'm actually thinking right now of someone I know.) I'd be driven by a passionate desire to protect him from harm, and I'm sure I'd be thinking of the, ah, pleasures to follow after the battle. My impression of soldiers fighting now, say in Iraq, is that there is a strong bond made between fighting buddies which intensifies their battle spirit. I've often heard of returning soldiers who want to go back to fight again to be with their friends. I think this has something to do with homoerotic love, but none of them dare call it by that name. The down side is that the death of a fighting buddy can be
emotionally traumatic, and can even
cause a mental breakdown in the
survivor. I understand perfectly.
Mark: Young Thorboywondermark on November 14th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
It seems that the extremes of war, the stress and even things like the alcohol normally consumed release them from the confines that society normally puts on 'approved' male/male relationships. (Speaking of our modern day boys).

Putting myself in the shoes of a warrior, I can definately see my heart being 100% in the fight if I had my lover by my side...I'd be a juggernaught in spirit if not in reality!
guardian1 on November 14th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
I don't know you well. Do you have
a current lover you're thinking
Mark: ai-loveboywondermark on November 14th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
I do, but not in the conventional sense. Currently, I'm not with anyone in flesh & blood, but I've had the most wonderful cyber-love in the world for the last 6 (7?) years. If that doesn't weird you out, I'll tell you a bit more...His name is Jase (He's the one I hought of) and he is in a commited relationship in the real world. His love, Ethan, knows of me and we even interact occasionally. It works for us.
Jaseslavetopassion on November 15th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
I thought of you too. <3 If you or Eth...hopefully both of you were by my side, I would fight to the death!
And afterwards, I would be up for some crazy smex!!

~licks you all over~
Mark: guy Beironboywondermark on November 15th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
LMAO! With Eth around, I don't think we'd have many guys coming near enough to fight, baby!
guardian1 on November 15th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Do you and I have the same gay DNA genes? Although I'm married (to a gal), and happily so, for beaucoup years I've had the most amazing cyber relationship with a wonderful guy Jeff who is also married (to a guy who knows we're deeply fond of each other and is cool about it.) Jeff and I call each other soulmates.
I, along with some other friends,
visited him in Toronto for a few days
recently. He simply makes me feel glad I'm alive. Would I fight to
protect Jeff in battle? You betcha!
I also love the film "The Lion in
Winter" with those two old pro's
Hepburn and O'Toole out-acting one
another. There's a great scene where the three rival brothers hide
from each other behind various
curtains as everybody listens in on what they do when nobody's
looking. We find out a young and hunky Anthony Hopkins has the hots
for a Prince- Yipes! BTW I think
Hepburn herself is a formidable woman, and not mannish at all, although there have been rumors. But
who really cares if they're true or not? She's a great lady. She answered
my fan letter once -- in her own
writing! Classy. I once saw her in
a Broadway play with the handsome
Christopher Reeve in the cast. Great
Jaseslavetopassion on November 15th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
How awesome to find another set of cyber soulmates!

Mark: Pan Fairiesboywondermark on November 15th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
*Smile* Seems like we may have quite a bit in common, eh?! Jase and I call ourselves "split-aparts"! I actually dated girls for many years, was happy and functioned quite normally…though I felt something missing. I do really enjoy women, but it’s guys for me otherwise.
LOL…that dreamy French Prince that Anthony Hopkins had the hots for was a young Timothy Dalton, later to be one in a line of James Bonds!
Katharine Hepburn has always been one of my favorites…incredible, brilliant woman! Have you ever seen Madwoman of Chaillot? It was made the year after The Lion in Winter and is a wonderful movie!
BTW, if you like history…here is a nice community to join and add to your friends page…nice tidbits to read every day… ancienthistory
Mark: gay OUCH Brian Justinboywondermark on November 15th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yikes...my link didn't work...let me try again...

(Deleted comment)
Mark: comic catwomanboywondermark on November 14th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
My question was as much for females as for males, sweetie! LOL...and just because we might be loverless at the moment, doesn't mean that we might not trip over someone and have love at first sight the next time we leave our house, right?
You come from the perfect place to enjoy some ancient history and a bit of study of strong women...Boudicca, Elizabeth I, Eleanore of Aquitaine (Okay, okay...Eleanore may technically not be English...LOL...but I included her because I'm a descendant).

Anyhoo...how are you feeling, Cass? It's so good to hear from you!

*hugs and kisses*
(Deleted comment)
Mark: guy sean faris pretty smileboywondermark on November 14th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
Ooooooooooo! I LURVE MAGGIE THATCHER! I don't think she was manish at all! I think she was kick ass! If she ran for President here,I'd vote for her! LOL!

BTW, live in hope? Cassie...you are completely lovable!

Lion in Winter with Peter and Kate is one of my very favorite movies...those two are beyond brilliant!

Don't lose too much! Are you dieting on your own or through a doctor?

Dean Stockwell, eh? Are you stocking up on 'Quantum Leap' DVDs? :)
(Deleted comment)
Mark: guy sam and daveboywondermark on November 15th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Ireally enjoyed Quantum Leap and plan to pick them up on DVD myself! Being a bit of a fanboy, I'd be disappointed if one of my favorite fangirls, YOU, wasn't still heading out to the conventions!

Two of my fanboy things right now are Smallville and Supernatural.
"Hairy": Kissing;  Romantic Kissingloves_gay_sex on November 16th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

I've read about the Sacred Band many times before but you still dug up a thing or two I didn't know.

Thanks for the post!