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Warren Cup, depicting sexual intimacy between an "erastes" (a young man) or a "pederast" and his "eromenos" (his beloved boy) or "catamite"
Roman Ganymede as a puer delicatus, with the eagle of Jove

In its modern usage the term catamite refers to a boy as the passive or receiving partner in anal intercourse with a man.[1]

In its ancient usage a catamite (Latin catamitus) was a pubescent boy who was the intimate companion of a young man in ancient Greece and Rome, usually in a pederastic relationship.[2] It was usually a term of affection and literally means "Ganymede" in Latin. It was also used as a term of insult when directed toward a grown man.[3][clarification needed] The word derives from the proper noun Catamitus, the Latinized form of Ganymede, the beautiful Trojan youth abducted by Zeus to be his companion and cupbearer.[4] The Etruscan form of the name was Catmite, from an alternate Greek form of the name, Gadymedes.[5]

References in literature[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary 3rd Ed. (2003)
  2. ^ Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality (Oxford University Press, 1999, 2010), pp. 52–55, 75.
  3. ^ a b Cicero, frg. B29 of his orations and Philippics 2.77; Bertocchi and Maraldi, "Menaechmus quidam," p. 95.
  4. ^ Alastair J.L. Blanshard, "Greek Love," in Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p. 131. Both Servius, note to Aeneid 1.128, and Festus state clearly that Catamitus was the Latin equivalent of Ganymedes; Festus says he was the concubinus of Jove. Alessandra Bertocchi and Mirka Maraldi, "Menaechmus quidam: Indefinites and Proper Nouns in Classical and Late Latin," in Latin vulgaire–Latin tardif. Actes du VIIème Colloque international sur le latin vulgaire et tardif. Séville, 2–6 septembre 2003 (University of Seville, 2006), p. 95, note 16.
  5. ^ Larissa Bonfante and Judith Swaddling, Etruscan Myths (University of Texas Press, 2006), p. 73.
  6. ^ Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, Chapter IV Bloodery, pp.83-84, C.S.Lewis
  7. ^ "An arresting opening". Telegraph. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ McCarthy, Cormac (2006). The Road. Vintage International. p. 92. ISBN 9780307387899. 

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