The Art Archive/Archaeological Museum Paestum/Dagli Orti

A bearded man (erastes) and his youthful companion (eromenos) exchange amorous gazes in this early-fifth-century B.C. wall painting from Paestum, Italy—the only surviving Greek wall painting from this period.

The Greeks often painted erotic scenes of men with youths on vases and drinking vessels. Such relationships were a normal part of (upper class) Greek life. Men would assist in the education and training of their youthful partners, bringing them to the famous symposia, or drinking banquets, where the youths would be introduced to other influential men.