An interesting piece I came across on the net which, the critique on social constructionism notwithstanding, has some fascinating nuggets within it.
In the Latin language the word ‘sodomite’, sodomita, existed earlier than the word ‘sodomy’, sodomia. In linguistic terms the concept of the homosexual person preceded the concept of the homosexual act. The ecclesiastical phrases peccatum sodomitae or crimen sodomitae are usually translated as the sin or crime ‘of sodomy’, but it is more accurate to translate them as the sin or crime ‘of the Sodomites’: i.e. the sin or crime of a specific set of persons. Long before the term ‘sodomy’ became the word of choice, there were a large number of Latin-based words which relate to a generalized conception of homosexuality rather than to specific acts: for example, Saint Jerome employs the forms Sodoman, in Sodomis, Sodomorum, Sodomæ, Sodomitæ (Hallam 1993). Florio in an English-Italian dictionary of 1598 cites the following:
Sodomia, the naturall sin of Sodomie.
Sodomita, a sodomite, a buggrer.
Sodomitare, to commit the sinne of Sodomie,
Sodomitarie, sodomiticall tricks.
Sir Richard Burton in his famous essay on the Sotadic Zone cites several indigenous Hindu words for the active homosexual role in the 1840s, including Gánd-márá, anus-beater, and Gándú, anuser. The Albanian active homosexual or pederast is called the büthar, butt man. In Latin the pullus, chicken, was chased by the pullarius, kidnapper of boys, literally ‘poulterer’, the modern equivalent being ‘chicken hawk’. The ancient Greeks had other specialized, active, terms, such as philephebos, fond of young men, and philoboupais, fond of hunky young men, literally ‘bull-boys’. Although the majority of modern slang terms imply a receptive/effeminate sex/gender role, there nevertheless are many words for men taking the active role, e.g. arse-bandit, shitten prick (Irish), backgammoner, hock (Australian rhyming slang for cock). In French the word of choice for homosexual, pédérast, denotes the active partner. The English pederast is also the active partner, though today the term more narrowly means lover of boys. In French slang pédé, queer, can be either active or receptive. The bugger is the active partner; like sodomite, also active, it has a racial/geographical origin, derived from French bougre (and the sin of bougrerie), from the medieval Latin bulgarus in reference to the Albigensian/Cathar heresy of southern France in the early thirteenth century which is supposed to have been similar to the Bogomils in Bulgaria. The same word is the origin of the Spanish bujarrón, the Italian buggerone, and the German puseran(t), a word which survives in Eastern Europe. When Allen Ginsberg visited Prague in 1965 the Communist police called him a buzerant.
I’m not sure of the reliability of some of the claims. This, for instance:
Contrary to those who rely entirely on the OED, Emma Donoghue has established beyond doubt that throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the word ‘lesbian’ was used in the very same sense as today, and that lesbians were viewed as a distinct sexual and social group.
That’s way earlier than OED’s first cite for the sense. And the absence of cites makes it impossible to verify such terms as ingler (not in OED).
In England the ingle, a word documented from 1532 in a translation of Rabelais, occurring more frequently from the 1590s, was a catamite, or kept boy, from Latin inguen, groin. The ‘ingle’ formed part of a pair, for the keeper of such a boy was also given a separate term, the ingler, recorded from 1598.
Ingle is in the big dic and I see that it’s a variant of the utterly delightful ningle, often used in 17th century drama.