Hieronymous the Peripatetic declares these love affairs with boys became widespread because it often happened that the vigour of the young men, joined to the mutual sympathy of their companionship, brought many tyrannical governments to an end. For if their favourites were present, lovers would choose to suffer anything whatever rather than incur a reputation for cowardice in the mind of their favourites. This was proved, at any rate, by the Sacred Band organized at Thebes by Epameinondas, and by the murderous attempt on the Peisistratidae made by Harmodius and Aristogeiton; and again in Sicily at Agrigentum, by the love of Chariton and Melanippus. The latter was Chariton’s favourite, according to Heracleides of Pontus in his work On Love Affairs . It transpired that they were plotting against Phalaris, but on being put to the torture and compelled to speak, they not only refused to name their accomplices but even moved Phalaris to pity for their tortures, so that he released them with hearty praise. Wherefore Apollo, pleased at this action, favoured Phalaris with a postponement of his death, making a declaration of this to those who inquired of the Pythian priestess how they should attack Phalaris; Apollo also gave forth an oracle concerning Chariton and his followers, putting the pentameter before the hexameter, according to the method later followed by Dionysius of Athens, nicknamed the Bronze, in his Elegies . The oracle is as follows: "Happy were Chariton and Melanippus, guides for mortals in divine loving." Notorious are also the things that happened in the case of Cratinus of Athens; for he was a handsome lad at the time when Epimenides was purifying Attica by the sacrifice of human blood, because of some ancient acts of abomination, as recorded by Neanthes of Cyzicus in the second book of his work On the Rituals of Initiation ; and Cratinus voluntarily gave himself up in behalf of the land that had nurtured him; following him his lover Aristodemus also died, and so the terrible act was atoned for. Because of these love affairs, then, tyrants, to whom such friendships are inimical, tried to abolish entirely relations between males, extirpating them everywhere. Some even went so far as to set fire to the wrestling-schools, regarding them as counter-walls to their own citadels, and so demolished them; this was done by Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos.
Among the Spartans, as Hagnon the Academic philosopher says, it was customary for girls before their marriage to be treated like favourite boys. Why, even the lawgiver Solon said: "With longing glance at thighs and sweet lips." Likewise Aeschylus and Sophocles quite frankly said — the first in The Myrmidons : "For the pure honour of the thighs thou hadst no reverence, O thankless one for those frequent kisses!" while the other, in The Colchian Women , speaking of Ganymede: "Setting Zeus’s majesty aflame with his thighs." But I am not ignorant that Polemon the Geographer asserts in his Replies to Neanthes that the story of Cratinus and Aristodemus is a fiction. But you, Cynulcus, believe these stories to be true even if they are false, and you practice in private all such things in the poems as have to do with the love of boys . . . . [gap?] The practice of paederasty came into Greece from the Cretans first, according to Timaeus. But other declare that Laius initiated such love-practices when he was the guest of Pelops; he became enamoured of Pelops’s son, Chrysippus, whom he seized and placed in his chariot, and then fled to Thebes. Yet Praxilla of Sicyon says that Chrysippus was carried off by Zeus. And among the barbarians the Celts also, though they have very beautiful women, enjoy boys more; so that some of them often have two lovers to sleep with on their beds of animal skins. As for the Persians, Herodotus says they learned the use of boys from the Greeks.
King Alexander also was madly devoted to boys. Dicaearchus, at any rate, in his book On the Sacrifice at Ilium , says that he was so overcome with love for the eunuch Bagoas that, in full view of the entire theatre, he, bending over, caressed Bagoas fondly, and when the audience clapped and shouted in applause, he, nothing loath, again bent over and kissed him. But Carystius in Historical Notes says: "Charon of Chalcis had a beautiful boy who was dear to him. But when Alexander, at a drinking-party in the house of Craterus, praised the boy, Charon bade him kiss Alexander; and he said, ‘Not so! For that will not delight me so much as it will pain you.’ For, passionate as this king was, he was in like measure self-controlled when it came to the observance of decency and the best form. When, for example, he had taken captive the daughters of Darius and his wife as well, a woman of very distinguished beauty, he not only kept his hands off them, but he even refrained from letting them know that they were captives, and ordered that everything be done for them just as if Darius were still king. Therefore Darius, on learning this, raised his arms and prayed to the Sun that either he or Alexander might be king." As for the righteous Rhadamanthys, Ibycus says that Talos was his lover. And Diotimus in the Epic of Heracles says that Eurystheus was the favourite of Heracles, and for that reason Heracles patiently undertook his Labours. Again, Agamemnon loved Argynnus, so the story goes, having seen him swimming in the Cephisus river; in which, in fact, he lost his life (for he constantly bathed in this river), and Agamemnon buried him and founded there a temple of Aphrodite Argynnis. Licymnius of Chios in his Dithyrambs says that Hymenaeus was the beloved of Argynnus. Aristocles the harp-singer was the beloved of King Antigonus, concerning whom Antigonus of Carystus, in his Life of Zeno , writes as follows: "King Antigonus used to have revels at the house of Zeno. On one occasion, coming away from a drinking-party at daybreak, he rushed to the house of Aristocles the harp-singer, whom the king loved greatly."