A catamite is the younger partner in a pederastic relationship between two males, which was a popular arrangement in many areas of the ancient world.

Kings and Emperors in the ancient world (depending on their sexual orientation) had not only concubines but also catamites (male concubines), in addition to their many wives.

The word is also used to describe the practice in early Japan, where monks would have sexual relationships with younger monks; samurai with pages; and noblemen with younger members of the aristocracy.

The word "catamite" is derived from the Latin "catamitus", itself borrowed from the Etruscan "catmite", a corruption of the Greek "Ganymedes", the boy who was seduced by Zeus and became his beloved and cup-bearer in Greek mythology.

In literature

Anthony Burgess starts his novel "Earthly Powers" with the sentence:

In Cormac McCarthy's depiction of survival in a post-apocalyptic society in "The Road", where many have reverted to cannibalism, the protagonists encounter, while hiding from a distance, people that were enslaved and who are referred to as "catamites," along with pregnant women and carriage-pulling slaves.

ee also

*Sexuality in ancient Rome

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Catamite — Cat a*mite (k[a^]t [.a]*m[imac]t), n. [L. Catamitus, an old form of Ganymedes Ganymede, Gr. Ganymh dhs.] A boy kept for unnatural purposes. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • catamite — (n.) 1590s, from L. Catamitus, Latin corruption of Ganymedes, the name of the beloved cup bearer of Jupiter (see GANYMEDE (Cf. Ganymede)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • catamite — [kat′ə mīt΄] n. [L Catamitus < Etr catmite < Gr Ganymēdēs, Ganymede] a boy used in pederasty …   English World dictionary

  • catamite — noun /ˈkætəmaɪt/ The junior partner in a paederastic relationship. And what about your brother? –Is he to be a catamite? …   Wiktionary

  • catamite — noun Etymology: Latin catamitus, from Catamitus Ganymede, from Etruscan Catmite, from Greek Ganymēdēs Date: 1593 a boy kept by a pederast …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • catamite — /kat euh muyt /, n. a boy or youth who is in a sexual relationship with a man. [1585 95; < L Catamitus < Etruscan Catmite < Gk Ganymédes GANYMEDE] * * * …   Universalium

  • catamite — cat·a·mite kat ə .mīt n a boy kept by a pederast called also pathic Cat·a·mi·tus .kat ə mīt əs, mēt (Greek Gan·y·mede gan i .mēd) Greek mythological character. Ganymede was an attractive Trojan boy who was abducted to Olympus to become the… …   Medical dictionary

  • catamite — cat·a·mite || kætÉ™maɪt n. boy used in homosexual acts …   English contemporary dictionary

  • catamite — [ katəmʌɪt] noun archaic a boy kept for homosexual practices. Origin C16: from L. catamitus, via Etruscan from Gk Ganumēdēs Ganymede (the name of Zeus s cup bearer in Gk mythology) …   English new terms dictionary

  • catamite — cat·a·mite …   English syllables

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