Sodomy, an unnatural crime, consisting of the defilement of man with man, and thus differing from bestiality, which is the defilement of man with brutes. The name is derived from Sodom, in which city the crime was frequent. Sodomy was strictly forbidden in the Mosaic law, and was punishable with death (Le 20:13). Among the pagan nations of antiquity, as still in many heathen countries, this was a very common vice (Ro 1:27); the Greeks and Romans designated it by the term poederasty (see Wilcke, De Satyricis Romanis [Viteb. 1760]). In the early Church this was considered, not an ordinary, but a monster crime. The Council of Ancyra has two canons relating to this and similar crimes, imposing heavy ecclesiastical penalties upon offenders. St. Basil (Can. 62, 63) imposes the penalty of adultery, viz. twenty years' penance; and the Council of Eliberis refused communion, even at the last hour, to those guilty of this crime with boys. There was an old Roman law against it, called the Lex Scantinia, mentioned by Juvenal (Sat. 2, 44) and others; but it lay dormant until revived by Christian emperors. Constantius made it a capital offense, and ordered it to be punished with death by the sword; while Theodosius decreed that those found guilty should be burned alive. According to modern legislation, it is considered a very heinous crime, and severely punished. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 16, ch. 11, p. 9.