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Among the Athenians, as Socrates claims in Xenophon's Symposium, "Nothing [of what concerns the boy] is kept hidden from the father, by an ideal In order to protect their sons from inappropriate attempts at seduction, fathers appointed slaves called pedagogues to watch over their sons.
However, according to Aeschines, Athenian fathers would pray that their sons would be handsome and attractive, with the full knowledge that they would then attract the attention of men and "be the objects of fights because of erotic passions".
Typically, after their sexual relationship had ended and the young man had married, the older man and his protégé would remain on close terms throughout their life.
For those lovers who continued their lovemaking after their beloveds had matured, the Greeks made allowances, saying, "You can lift up a bull, if you carried the calf." In parts of Greece, pederasty was an acceptable form of homoeroticism that had other, less socially accepted manifestations, such as the sexual use of slaves or being a pornos (prostitute) or hetairos (the male equivalent of a hetaira).
Socrates remarks in the dialogue Phaedrus that sexual pederasty is driven by the appetital part of the soul, but can be balanced by self-control and reason.
He likens wanton lust for a boy to allowing a disobedient horse to control a chariot, but remarks that sexual desire for a boy if combined with a love for their other qualities is acceptable.
If they, or an adult citizen of free status who had prostituted himself, performed any of the official functions prohibited to them by law (in later life), they were liable to prosecution and punishment.
However, if they did not perform those specific functions, did not present themselves for the allocation of those functions and declared themselves ineligible if they were somehow mistakenly elected to perform those specific functions, they were safe from prosecution and punishment.
In this interpretation, the formal custom reflects myth and ritual.
He will allow the lover to greet him by touching, affectionately, his genitals and his face, while he looks, himself, demurely at the ground. The inner experience of an erômenos would be characterized, we may imagine, by a feeling of proud self-sufficiency.
Though the object of importunate solicitation, he is himself not in need of anything beyond himself.
At the end of this time, the philetor presented the youth with three contractually required gifts: military attire, an ox, and a drinking cup. Upon their return to the city, the youth sacrificed the ox to Zeus, and his friends joined him at the feast.
He received special clothing that in adult life marked him as kleinos, "famous, renowned".
The erastes-eromenos relationship played a role in the Classical Greek social and educational system, had its own complex social-sexual etiquette and was an important social institution among the upper classes.