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Ficino thus points toward the modern usage of "Platonic love" to mean love without sexuality.
In his commentary to the Symposium, Ficino carefully separates the act of sodomy, which he condemned, and praises Socratic love as the highest form of friendship.
and came to fruition in the "new poetry" of the 50s BCE.
The poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus, written in forms adapted from Greek meters, include several expressing desire for a freeborn youth explicitly named "Youth" (Iuventius).
quotation marks are often placed on either or both words ("Greek" love, Greek "love", or "Greek love") to indicate that usage of the phrase is determined by context.
It often serves as a "coded phrase" for pederasty, The German term griechische Liebe ("Greek love") appears in German literature between 17, along with socratische Liebe ("Socratic love") and platonische Liebe ("Platonic love") in reference to male-male attractions.
In 1469, In his commentary on Plato, Ficino interprets amor platonicus ("Platonic love") and amor socraticus ("Socratic love") allegorically as idealized male love, in keeping with the Church doctrine of his time.
For Ficino, "Platonic love" was a bond between two men that fosters a shared emotional and intellectual life, as distinguished from the "Greek love" practiced historically as the erastes/eromenos relationship.
'Greece' as the historical memory of a treasured past was romanticised and idealised as a time and a culture when love between males was not only tolerated but actually encouraged, and expressed as the high ideal of same-sex camaraderie. If tolerance and approval of male homosexuality had happened once—and in a culture so much admired and imitated by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—might it not be possible to replicate in modernity the antique homeland of the non-heteronormative?
The "rediscovery" of classical antiquity was perceived as a liberating experience, and Greek love as an ideal after a Platonic model.
By contrast, the French Renaissance essayist Montaigne, whose view of love and friendship was humanist and rationalist, rejected "Greek love" as a model in his essay "De l'amitié" ("On Friendship"); it did not accord with the social needs of his own time, he wrote, because it involved "a necessary disparity in age and such a difference in the lovers' functions." The physical beauty and sexual attraction inherent in the Greek model for Montaigne were not necessary conditions of friendship, and he dismisses homosexual relations, which he refers to as licence grecque, as socially repulsive.
In Latin, mos Graeciae or mos Graecorum ("Greek custom" or "the way of the Greeks") refers to a variety of behaviors the ancient Romans regarded as Greek, including but not confined to sexual practice.
Homosexual behaviors at Rome were acceptable only within an inherently unequal relationship; male Roman citizens retained their masculinity as long as they took the active, penetrating role, and the appropriate male sexual partner was a prostitute or slave, who would nearly always be non-Roman.
Although the wholesale importation of a Greek model would be socially improper, licence grecque seems to refer only to licentious homosexual conduct, in contrast to the moderate behavior between men in the perfect friendship.