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Homosexuality in Ancient Laws

June 6th, 2008 No comments

I was browsing through a website of ancient laws, and found evidence that the view of homosexuality as a moral offense was not confined to the Bible:


The Code of the Assura, c. 1075 BCE
(Assyria)

I.20. If a man have intercourse with his brother-in-arms, they shall
turn him into a eunuch.

AVESTA: Vendidad:
FARGARD 8.
Funerals and purification, unlawful sex
(Zoroastrian)

26. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man, by force,
commits the unnatural sin [sodomy], what is the penalty that he shall
pay?

Ahura Mazda answered: ‘Eight hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra,
eight hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana.’

27. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man voluntarily
commits the unnatural sin, what is the penalty for it? What is the
atonement for it? What is the cleansing from it?

Ahura Mazda answered: ‘For that deed there is nothing that can pay,
nothing that can atone, nothing that can cleanse from it; it is a
trespass for which there is no atonement, for ever and ever.’

2833. When is it so?

‘It is so if the sinner be a professor of the Religion of Mazda, or one
who has been taught in it.

‘But if he be not a professor of the Religion of Mazda, nor one who has
been taught in it, then his sin is taken from him, if he makes
confession of the Religion of Mazda and resolves never to commit again
such forbidden deeds.

29. ‘The Religion of Mazda indeed, O Spitama Zarathushtra! takes away
from him who makes confession of it the bonds of his sin; it takes away
(the sin of) breach of trust; it takes away (the sin of) murdering one
of the faithful; it takes away (the sin of) burying a corpse; it takes
away (the sin of) deeds for which there is no atonement; it takes away
the worst sin of usury; it takes away any sin that may be sinned.

30. In the same way the Religion of Mazda, O Spitama Zarathushtra!
cleanses the faithful from every evil thought, word, and deed, as a
swift-rushing mighty wind cleanses the plain.

‘So let all the deeds he doeth be henceforth good, O Zarathushtra! a
full atonement for his sin is effected by means of the Religion of
Mazda.’

31. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Who is the man that is
a Daeva? Who is he that is a worshipper of the Daevas? that is a male
paramour of the Daevas? that is a female paramour of the Daevas? that is
a wife to the Daeva34? that is as bad as a Daeva: that is in his whole
being a Daeva? Who is he that is a Daeva before he dies, and becomes one
of the unseen Daevas after death?

32. Ahura Mazda answered: ‘The man that lies with mankind as man lies
with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is the man that is a
Daeva; this one is the man that is a worshipper of the Daevas, that is a
male paramour of the Daevas, that is a female paramour of the Daevas,
that is a wife to the Daeva; this is the man that is as bad as a Daeva,
that is in his whole being a Daeva; this is the man that is a Daeva
before he dies, and becomes one of the unseen Daevas after death: so is
he, whether he has lain with mankind as mankind, or as womankind.’…

The Laws
of Manu, c. 1500 BCE
(India)

369. A damsel who pollutes (another) damsel must be fined two hundred
(panas), pay the double of her (nuptial) fee, and receive ten (lashes
with a) rod.

370. But a woman who pollutes a damsel shall instantly have (her head)
shaved or two fingers cut off, and be made to ride (through the town) on
a donkey.

The Laws
of Manu, c. 1500 BCE

68. Giving pain to a Brahmana (by a blow), smelling at things which
ought not to be smelt at, or at spirituous liquor, cheating, and an
unnatural offence with a man, are declared to cause the loss of caste
(Gatibhramsa)…

174. A man who has committed a bestial crime, or an unnatural crime with
a female, or has had intercourse in water, or with a menstruating woman,
shall perform a Samtapana Krikkhra.

175. A twice-born man who commits an unnatural offence with a male, or
has intercourse with a female in a cart drawn by oxen, in water, or in
the day-time, shall bathe, dressed in his clothes.

February 2nd, 2008 No comments

A Summertown Brothel. Who would have thought it just a half-mile from our house? An Oxford Times article says:

A BROTHEL in a quiet Oxford street was run so professionally it was
“like a restaurant”, a court heard today.

Mother-of-two Elaine Konopka, 39, admitted helping run the brothel in
Middle Way, Summertown….

“Konopka admitted working at the address on approximately ten occasions
over an 18-month period. She said she was responsible for answering
phones, making appointments and greeting customers.”

“She was not a part-time receptionist, she was a fill-in receptionist.
The brothel was open from 10am to 10pm seven days a week.

District judge Brian Loosley looked at the brothel’s menu, which had
services ranging from £50-£140, while considering the sentence.

Ordering her to carry out 60 hours’ unpaid community work and pay £100
costs, he said: “It is quite clear this was run almost like a
restaurant, with menus and various services being offered….

Neighbours tonight said they were pleased the brothel had been closed.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she thought Konopka’s
sentence was too lenient.

She said: “I think it is disgusting she only got 60 hours’ community
service.

“It is so nice not having so many strange men going in there. It was
really unpleasant. It certainly attracted all sorts of men – not very
nice people at all.

“Some had children’s car seats in the back. You just felt upset for the
wives.”

October 17th, 2007 No comments

Antitrust Thoughts. It’s the mark of a good journal article that it stimulates thought. On the strong recommendation of JV, I started reading Professor William Kovacic’s "THE INTELLECTUAL DNA OF MODERN U.S. COMPETITION LAW FOR DOMINANT FIRM CONDUCT: THE CHICAGO/HARVARD DOUBLE HELIX," Columbia Business Law Review, 2007. He argues that modern antitrust law should not be viewed as Chicago School plus Post-Chicago School, but as Chicago School economics plus Harvard Law pragmatism. Areeda, Turner, and Breyer had a big impact in the way they thought about how judges can actually implement antitrust law. (Click here to read more.)

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