Tony Perrottet reviews the history of Greek homosexuality:
Grown men could have their way with adolescent boys up to the age of 16 or so; it was even part of a Greek boy’s education, as the older lovers would “mentor” them in the finer aspects of art and philosophy, while their fathers looked on with approval. But adults had to keep their hands off other grown men. The question of who was the active and who the passive partner was crucial; the older, socially superior male could give but not receive.
For the Greeks, the real scandal about Alexander’s passion for the Persian boy Bagoas was that he was a barbarian and a eunuch and thus barely human, in their eyes. Also shocking for the day was Alexander’s ongoing romance with Hephestaion once he had become an adult; if it ever came out that the king was the passive partner, he would be the object of mockery and contempt. Nobody has posted an opinion on this, but it appears that Alexander’s fantastic achievements in the battlefield allowed him to flout convention. Still, the pressure might have increased his severe drinking problem: Alexander’s vast wine consumption is blamed for his untimely death at the age of 32.
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