three pairs of lovers with space

The totall discourse of the rare adventures & painefull peregrinations of long nineteene yeares travayles from Scotland to the most famous kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica by William Lithgow, first published in London in 1632.


Facsimile of the Title Page of the Edition of 1632

William Lithgow (1582-1645+) was an indefatigable Scotsman who embraced a life of difficult travel as the best means to gaining "the science of the world", which he considered superior to other branches of knowledge. The extracts here are all that concern Greek love and are taken from the reprint of the first edition published in  Glasgow in 1906.


In his "Comments upon Italy", where he stayed in 1609:

"In Padua I stayed three moneths learning the Italian tongue, and found there a Countrey Gentleman of mine. Doctor John Wedderburne a learned Mathametician, but now dwelling in Moravia, who taught me well in the language, and in all other respects exceeding friendly to me. Padua is the most melancholy City of Europe, the cause onely arising of the narrow passage of the open streets, and of the long galleries and dark-ranges or pillars, that goe alwhere on every hand of you, through the whole streets of the Towne: The Schollers here in the night commit many murthers against their privat adversaries, and too often executed upon the stranger and innocent, and all with gun-shot or else stilettoes: for beastly Sodomy, it is as rife here as in Rome, Naples, Florence, Bullogna, Venice, Ferrara, Genoa, Parma not being exempted, nor yet the smallest Village of Italy :  A monstrous filthinesse, and yet to them a pleasant pastime, making songs, and singing Sonets or the beauty and pleasure of their Bardassi, or buggerd boyes." (p.38)


                The Author's Portracture

In his “Comments upon Constantinople”, where he stayed in 1610-11

“The Turkes … are extreamely inclined to all sorts of lascivious luxury; and generally adicted, besides all their sensuall and incestuous lusts, unto Sodomy, which they account as a daynty to digest all their other libidinous pleasures.” (pp. 145-46)


In his "Comments upon Palestine", he made a remark about some Armenians which, alone among the quotations here, had no direct relevance to Greek love, but is included for its affirmation of other writers' claims about  the different sexual natures of southerners and northerners:

"they committed with these [Turkish} Infidelish harlots a twofold kind of voluptuous abomhination, which my conscience commandsme to conceale: least I frequent this Northern world, with that which their nature never knew, nor their knowledge have heard hearing of the like." (p. 196)


In his “Comments upon Cairo”, the capital of Egypt, where he stayed in 1612:

“Their Lawes here and Heathnish Religion are Turkish and Mahometanicall, and the Customes and Manners of the people, are like unto their birth and breeding, beastly and Barbarous; being great Sodomites; and Diabolically given to all sorts of abhominations.” (p. 272)


      The Modell of the Great City of Fez

In his "Comments upon Fez", the capital of Morocco, where he stayed in 1615:

"There are some twelve thousand allowed Brothell-houses in this Towne, the Courtezans being neatly kept, and weekely well looked to by Physitians ; but worst of all, in the Summer time, they openly Lycentiat three thousand common Stewes of Sodomiticall boyes: Nay I have seene at mid-day, in the very Market places, the Moores buggering these filthy Carrions, and without shame or punishment go freely away." (pp. 322-23)


In his "Comments upon Malta", where he stayed in 1616:

"The fift day of my staying here, I saw a Spanish Souldier and a Maltezen boy burnt in ashes, for the publick profession of Sodomy, and long or night, there were above a hundred Bardassoes, whoorish boyes that fled away to Sicilie in a Galleyot, for feare of fire but never one Bugeron stirred, being few or none there free of it." (p. 335)


In his "Comments upon Rome", where he stayed in 1616, being part of a rant against the Popes:

“What a sodomiticall Pope was Sixtus the fourth; who builded Stewes of both kindes, granting his Cardinals the use of Sodomy, for three hote moneths.” (p. 356)

“What was Julius the third? An open Sodomite, and horrible blaphemer. … Pope John 23. was deposed by the Counsell of Constance, for Heresie, Symony, Murther, Enchantment, Adultery, and worst of all for Sodomy.” (p. 358)


In his "Comments upon Hungary", where he stayed in 1616):

“There is a great Gentry in this Kingdome, but untravelled abroad, farre lesse mannerly at home, being luxurious and ill taught, and damnably given to that Masculine misery, the whole Southerne World is defiled with.” (p. 364)