But Hieronymus the Peripatetic says that the ancients were anxious to encourage the practice of having boy-favourites, because the vigorous disposition of youths, and the confidence engendered by their association with each other, has often led to the overthrow of tyrannies. For in the presence of his favourite, a man would choose to do anything rather than to get the character of a coward. And this was proved in practice in the case of the Sacred Band, as it was called, which was established at Thebes by Epaminondas. And the death of the Pisistratidæ was brought about by Harmodius and Aristogiton; and at Agrigentum in Sicily, the mutual love of Chariton and Melanippus produced a similar result, as we are told by Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Amatory Matters. For Melanippus and Chariton, being informed against as plotting against Phalaris, and being put to the torture in order to compel them to reveal their accomplices, not only did not betray them, but even made Phalaris himself pity them, on account of the tortures which they had undergone, so that he dismissed them with great praise. On which account Apollo, being pleased at this conduct, gave Phalaris a respite from death; declaring this to the men who consulted the Pythian priestess as to how they might best attack him. He also gave them an oracle respecting Chariton, putting the Pentameter before the Hexameter, in the same way as afterwards Dionysius the Athenian did, who was nicknamed the Brazen, in his Elegies; and the oracle runs as follows—
Happy were Chariton and Melanippus,The circumstances, too, that happened to Cratinus the Athenian, are very notorious. For he, being a very beautiful boy, at the time when Epimenides was purifying Attica by human sacrifices, on account of some old pollution, as Neanthes of Cyzicus relates in the second book of his treatise on [p. 961] Sacrifices, willingly gave himself up to secure the safety of the woman who had brought him up. And after his death, Apollodorus, his friend, also devoted himself to death, and so the calamities of the country were terminated. Ad owing to favouritism of this kind, the tyrants (for friendships of this sort were very adverse to their interests) altogether forbad the fashion of making favourites of boys, and wholly abolished it. And some of them even burnt down and rased to the ground the palæstræ, considering them as fortresses hostile to their own citadels; as, for instance, Polycrates the tyrant of Samos did.
Authors of heavenly love to many men.