There is probably no other cause which has been more potent in developing homosexual practices among men than the dread of disease. Among the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians and Egyptians, it lay at the very bottom of their pederasty and masturbation ; and in the Proverbs of Solomon,1 as well as various other places in the sacred text, we have unpleasant suggestions of what night-visits to the prostitutes of the times might produce in the way of painful remembrances.
The Hebrews had the depraved tastes and habits, as well as the diseases, of the Asiatics. Without mentioning the awful fate of Sodom and Gomorrha, of which the term Sodomy is a perpetual reminder, the fact that Moses was compelled to forbid incest, bestiality, and abnormal sexual intercourse among his people, is the very best evidence that such vices existed; and when they, as well as legal prostitutes, were prohibited in the Hebrew camp, the people, very naturally, visited "strange women," particularly the Midianitc whores, and the "daughters of Moab." These "daughters" initiated them, willingly enough, into the worship of Baal Peor, or Belphegor, a sort of Oriental Priapus, whose temples were simply theatres of the most flagrant debauchery, and in which the homosexual element was, you may be sure, not wanting.
, 1 Prov, v, 11: "Et gemas in novissimi^ quando consumeris carnea tuos et corpus tuum." I give the Latin version of the Hebrew text as the more forcible. And again in the fourth verse: "Novissima autem illžus amara quasi absynthum, et acuta quasi gladius biceps" (the consequences are bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword).