Fall of Roman Empire caused by rampant homosexuality

Aug 2014
512
Byzantium
#31
The Romans didnt have the same Gods and Myths with the ancient Greeks? So why the Romans were less homosexual from the Greeks? In fact in italy we have seen Etruscan representations with such practices. And there were even Roman emperors who were homosexuals.
 
Jun 2013
205
Britain
#33
This makes so little sense for so many reasons. If lead poisoning was any kind of factor, why did it take so long? If the answer is accumulation of brain damage, then what scientific evidence supports this theory (e.g., comparison of lead poisoning levels in Romans from the late Empire vice early Empire)?
It sounds like an urban legend that won't die when a fair few Roman era aqueducts were in use many, many centuries after the regime fell (aqueducts of Segovia and Gard, etc) with no obvious detriment to the populace using them.
 
Apr 2019
27
Brazil
#34
Conversely, the emperors and great men that are well liked- Augustus, Claudius, Scipio Africanus- are portrayed as having strong sexual appetites for women.
Laughable post. Scipio Africanus lived 200 years before the empire: how could he have been emperor? As for Claudius, he was not well liked, and Augustus had a delicia, ie, a slave boytoy, called Sarmentus. And when Suetonius mentions Augustus' heterosexual depravity, his words reflect horribly upon his character. He was abusing his power to make Roman matrons and freeborn girls serve him sexually: how could any Roman think highly of this?

And, of course, there is the case of Trajan, who had a reputation for exclusive homosexuality and was elected the best of the Caesars, and therefore completely refutes your little argument. I'm not aware of Hadrian being unpopular, either.

Again, laughable post.
 
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Feb 2016
4,255
Japan
#35
Being human like us, I see no reason why they would have more or less instances of it.
The number of practicing gays was probably similar to ours.

How tolerant they were of it fluctuates over time. Though it’s seems well supported that .... enjoying... your slaves was not considered bad..., being on the receiving end was something of a shame though and it was stigmatising enough to be thrown about as a public insult.... most likely with little foundation... but it shows that in some circumstances the behavior was undesirable.
 
Apr 2019
27
Brazil
#37
[I'm posting this again because the original post got caught in the moderator's net. I'm removing what I think were the offending phrases.]

I have never bought that there was a great deal of homosexuality in Rome. I have read now 20 books of Livy, all of the works of Tacitus, works by Suetonius, Josephus, Arrian, Precopius, Plutarch, Cicero, Caesar and others, and have not found a single positive or even neutral references to homosexuality.
How does one read the biography that Suetonius wrote of Virgil, and comes out thinking that there aren't even NEUTRAL descriptions of homosexuality? Certainly it is much more positive than the description he makes of Horace's sex life and his use of female prostitutes.

Roman biographers such as Suetonius and legalistic writers like Cicero emphasize unusual or problematic behavior, so it is normal for their articles to give hostile treatment to the matters they discuss.

The same holds true when heterosexual behavior is described. If in your view Suetonius's discussion of Augustus' heterosexual practices is neutral or positive, you must be a bad reader.

As for Cicero, the Romans themselves knew that he had an affair with his slave, Tiro. At least that's what Pliny the Elder says, and his nephew, Pliny the Younger, claims he read an erotic poem by Cicero about Tiro and he himself wrote one such poem under Cicero's inspiration. And it has been noted that the letters Cicero wrote to Tiro were much more affectionate than those he sent to his wife. It is, therefore, very unlikely that Cicero was personally hostile to homosexuality, and in fact he himself makes it clear in his tirade against Antony that homosexual affairs with slaves were socially condoned; what Roman society disapproved of, and what he used in his political attacks, was homosexuality involving freeborn Romans.

But outside the Senate, even Cicero himself tolerated such practices. When the son of one of his friends moved into the house of another man, to live quite in the manner of a modern gay couple, Cicero advised his friend not to abandon his son financially.

There is no way a society supposedly so hostile to homosexuality as you imagine it is, to be so receptive to the worship of homosexual deities as Bacchus or the deified Antinous. Antinous, in fact, was much more popular in the imperial cult than any of the deified empresses. That says much of what the Romans thought of the homosexuality of their emperors.

As for the Torygraph article, suffice it to say the following: when the Roman Empire fell, Christianity had been the religion of the state for over a century and homosexuality had been made illegal for about the same time.

It was not the late, sickly empire that was too homosexual. On the contrary, it was the nascent empire. It was in the Republic and in the first centuries of the empire that the most important works of Latin homoeroticism were published: Virgil's Eclogues, Martial's epigrams, Petronius's novel, and so on. It was also in the early centuries that we find homosexual or bisexual emperors, such as Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, while the last emperors were all Christians. If anyone was still homosexual in the final times of the empire, no one would admit to it.

It makes much more sense to say that it was Christianity that destroyed the empire. This is what Nietzsche does in The Antichrist, and by his words it seems to me that this was a popular thesis among European historians of his day. Whether they are right, I do not know, but blaming Christianity instead of homosexuality is at least consistent with the chronology of the empire.
 
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Mar 2012
2,345
#38
[I'm posting this again because the original post got caught in the moderator's net. I'm removing what I think were the offending phrases.]



How does one read the biography that Suetonius wrote of Virgil, and comes out thinking that there aren't even NEUTRAL descriptions of homosexuality? Certainly it is much more positive than the description he makes of Horace's sex life and his use of female prostitutes.

Roman biographers such as Suetonius and legalistic writers like Cicero emphasize unusual or problematic behavior, so it is normal for their articles to give hostile treatment to the matters they discuss.

The same holds true when heterosexual behavior is described. If in your view Suetonius's discussion of Augustus' heterosexual practices is neutral or positive, you must be a bad reader.

As for Cicero, the Romans themselves knew that he had an affair with his slave, Tiro. At least that's what Pliny the Elder says, and his nephew, Pliny the Younger, claims he read an erotic poem by Cicero about Tiro and he himself wrote one such poem under Cicero's inspiration. And it has been noted that the letters Cicero wrote to Tiro were much more affectionate than those he sent to his wife. It is, therefore, very unlikely that Cicero was personally hostile to homosexuality, and in fact he himself makes it clear in his tirade against Antony that homosexual affairs with slaves were socially condoned; what Roman society disapproved of, and what he used in his political attacks, was homosexuality involving freeborn Romans.

But outside the Senate, even Cicero himself tolerated such practices. When the son of one of his friends moved into the house of another man, to live quite in the manner of a modern gay couple, Cicero advised his friend not to abandon his son financially.

There is no way a society supposedly so hostile to homosexuality as you imagine it is, to be so receptive to the worship of homosexual deities as Bacchus or the deified Antinous. Antinous, in fact, was much more popular in the imperial cult than any of the deified empresses. That says much of what the Romans thought of the homosexuality of their emperors.

As for the Torygraph article, suffice it to say the following: when the Roman Empire fell, Christianity had been the religion of the state for over a century and homosexuality had been made illegal for about the same time.

It was not the late, sickly empire that was too homosexual. On the contrary, it was the nascent empire. It was in the Republic and in the first centuries of the empire that the most important works of Latin homoeroticism were published: Virgil's Eclogues, Martial's epigrams, Petronius's novel, and so on. It was also in the early centuries that we find homosexual or bisexual emperors, such as Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, while the last emperors were all Christians. If anyone was still homosexual in the final times of the empire, no one would admit to it.

It makes much more sense to say that it was Christianity that destroyed the empire. This is what Nietzsche does in The Antichrist, and by his words it seems to me that this was a popular thesis among European historians of his day. Whether they are right, I do not know, but blaming Christianity instead of homosexuality is at least consistent with the chronology of the empire.
Guy, all you are showing is that you have not really read very many sources. Homosexuality was illegal in Rome, the penalty in the legions was death, every Roman villain was cast as a homosexual, and even even the good emperors who were thought to have engaged in it were apologized for.

From Cicero condemning Caesar, Cataline and Clodius for homosexual practices (Cataline active and passive explicitly) in his speeches, to Polybius telling us that the penalty for homosexuality in the legions was death by beating, to Tactius telling us of formal charges being brought against Agrippina's son for homosexuality, for Dio recording that Octavian told his troops that Antony was weak because he had become a homosexual, to Dio apologizing for Trajan's pederasty, to the Augustine scribe talking about Hadrian's problematic homosexual relationships, to the long passage in Apuleius in which the main character is forced to watch homosexual acts and succeeds in getting a homosexual cult run out of town, to Amminus telling us of pederastic practices amongst the Germans which he considered vile, to Plutarch telling us about a soldier who honorably killed his officer (!) for homosexual advances, to Suetonius and Tacitus painting Caligula, Nero, Tiberius, Heliogalbus, and Commodus, the great villains of Roman history, as homosexual or bi-sexual, whereas deified Augustus and deified Claudius were said to be too much in love with their woman.


THIS IS REALITY. THIS IS FROM THE SOURCES.

If you do not know Cicero's PUBLIC hostility to homosexuality, it is because you have not read his speeches. Period. Please post the quote of Pliny the Elder about Cicero. Was it a public statement? If so, was it complimentary, or an insult? Yes, they gossiped about each other, and used homosexuality as an insult all of the time. That is the point.

If you think that they accepted homosexuality in their emperors then you simply have not read what was written about Caligula, Tiberius, Nero, Heliogalbus, Commodus, Vittelius, Trajan, and Hadrian. You just haven't read it.

My point about Augustus was not that heterosexual infidelity was not frowned on, it was that the deified and beloved emperors tended to be the ones that were remembered for their dalliance with women, such as Augustus and Claudius, whereas homosexuality was almost universally associated with the bad ones. But you are dramatically exaggerating the rebuke against Augustus, I think intentionally (or again, you haven't really read it). Suetonius makes an excuse for Augustus in that his affairs were part of his intelligence gathering. He also says that the really bad charges were slanders (he uses the word) from Antonius. So your point, even though it did not address mine, is worthless.

It just doesn't pay to try to rebuke someone who has actually read the sources when you have not. Again, I am not familiar with what you are saying about Pliny, so please post the quote so we can discuss the context.

Or let's try this, can you show me a piece of WRITING FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION that portrays homosexuality positively?
 
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Mar 2012
2,345
#39
Laughable post. Scipio Africanus lived 200 years before the empire: how could he have been emperor? As for Claudius, he was not well liked, and Augustus had a delicia, ie, a slave boytoy, called Sarmentus. And when Suetonius mentions Augustus' heterosexual depravity, his words reflect horribly upon his character. He was abusing his power to make Roman matrons and freeborn girls serve him sexually: how could any Roman think highly of this?

And, of course, there is the case of Trajan, who had a reputation for exclusive homosexuality and was elected the best of the Caesars, and therefore completely refutes your little argument. I'm not aware of Hadrian being unpopular, either.

Again, laughable post.

You can't even read. Did your eyes pass over where I said "emperors and great men?" You don't get that, since I am including Polybius, Cicero, and Caesar, I am discussing Roman values since the days of the Republic?

Was Augustus not deified? Do you not understand that this makes him one of the best by the standards of his own people?

Trajan was NOT thought of exclusively as homosexual, and his dalliances with boys were thought of as something that had to be apologized for:

"IT WAS A FAULT IN HIM THAT HE WAS A HEAVY DRINKER AND ALSO A PEDERAST..."

The only thing laughable here is that you are acting like you have read and understood the sources.

Again, can you show me a piece of writing FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION that shows homosexuality in a good light? I have shown you dozens that cast it as a perversion and demonstrated that it was illegal.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,112
#40
Well given the current adulation of everything LGBTQXYZ, this sort of assertion is as politically incorrect as can be....

Having said this, it is funny that people are still searching for the ONE CAUSE that led to the fall of Rome when it clearly is a combination of factors, some of which are simpler (like higher demography elsewhere similarly to what we see today - weak demography in Europe, high demography in africa and the m/e for example) others which are more complex (relative technological progress)
 

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