Jacques Le Clerq in the introduction to the Peter Pauper Press (1955) publication of his translations of Love Poems from the Greek Anthology writes about the “somewhat special” section of the collection, the “Paedic Muse or Musa Puerilis”
which, as its title shows, was devoted to the celebration of pederastic amours. Compiled under the reign of Septimus Severus (193-211 A.D.) by Strato of Sardis, it consists of two hundred and fifty-eight epigrams, about two-fifths of which are by the compiler. Mr. [W. R.] Paton believes that originally Strato published merely a collection of his own poems — he was an avowed homosexual, sometimes a witty and felicitous poet but too often gross and obscene — and that some later Byzantine added other like writing. This, Mr. Paton argues, would explain such blunders as presenting obvious heterosexual lyrics as homosexual (especially in the case of Meleager) and including a poem by Asclepiades addressed to himself. “Among the poems by Meleager,” Mr. Paton writes, “are eight relating to women, six of them being on women whose names end in the diminutive form (Phanion, Callistion, Thermion, Timarion, Dordion).” True, doubtless. And yet a mere bowing acquaintance with sodomy and linguistics might suggest that female diminutives are often substituted for male praenomens among the gentry of Urning persuasion.
Mr. Le Clerq omits one point brought forward by Peter Jay in his introduction to The Greek Anthology and Other Ancient Greek Epigrams (1973).
Kephalas was not very consistent in his redistribution of the poems by subject-matter. Book 12, based largely on Strato’s Mousa Paidiké (Pederastic Poems) has a number of heterosexual poems in it; Book 5, the other collection of erotic poems, likewise has some homosexual poems.
What a tangle of genre and gender. Transposed and otherwise. Interesting migrations.
And so for day 1113