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Image Index > Courtship Scenes > Man/Youth Pairs Compete With Fighting Cocks

Five Pairs of beareded men and unbearded youths hold cocks in preparation for a cockfight. This explains the prevalence of the fighting cock as a love gift, but also implies that the cockfight is itself a metaphor for the love relationship, imaged as a contest of will and endurance.

Artist Painter Of Louvre
Date c. 530 BCE
Museum and Inventory Number Boston, Museum of Fine Arts C35295;John Wheelock Elliot Fund;Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
References and Publications G. Koch-Harnack, Knabenliebe und Tiergeschenke: Ihre Bedeutung im päderastischen Erziehungsystem Athens. (Berlin 1983) Fig 20
H. Hoffmann, "Hahnenkampf in Athen: Zur Ikonologie einer attischen Bildformel," Revue Archeologique (1974) 195-220.
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This website makes available to the public the first two chapters of Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents, edited by Thomas K. Hubbard and published by University of California Press in April 2003. The index also lists the rest of the sourcebook's contents; the book may be ordered at, list price $34.95 paperback. In addition, a file of close to 200 pertinent artistic images is assembled, including those published in the sourcebook and many others. Acknowledgement is made to University of California Press for permission to reproduce this material, as well as to the various museums that have granted permission to use their photographic images. Comments may be directed to Prof. Hubbard at