Friday, June 6, 2008

 

Homosexuality in Ancient Laws

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.

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