27 July 2018

Sodomy and earthquakes

"The law against sodomy goes back fourteen hundred years to the Emperor Justinian, who felt that there should be such a law because, as everyone knew, sodomy was the principal cause of earthquakes.

"Sodomy" gets them.  For elderly, good-hearted audiences, I paraphrase; the word is not used.  College groups get a fuller discussion of Justinian and his peculiar law, complete with quotations from Procopius.  California audiences living on or near the San Andreas Fault laugh the loudest - and the most nervously.  No wonder."

--- Gore Vidal, Matters of Fact and Fiction, 1977
Cited in Simon Winchester's A Crack in the Edge of the World, which I'm currently reading.


  1. And here I thought the prohibition was biblical...

  2. There was a time, after a tryst, that one would ask one's partner: 'Did the earth move for you darling?'


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...