Famous homosexual ancient Greeks and Romans

Jan 2015
3,357
Australia
#42
I want to emphasise, that if an ancient figure was homosexual I’m all good with saying so. Sulla probably was bisexual at the least, given the evidence, and he was one of Rome’s best military minds. Hadrian, a fine emperor, was certainly gay. The stuff about Caesar just isn’t credible, and belongs up there with the “Caesar might have had epilepsy” and “Caesar had incestuous dreams about his mother” gossiping. Looking past the “this is an obvious slur by his enemies thing”, and “he seems to have been a womaniser, etc”, let’s just look at King Nicomedes IV, Caesar’s supposed daddy. Now we don’t know his exact age, but we can infer from his family and their history this; he was probably very old by the time he met Caesar. Like, really old. Generally as a King/successor in these times/parts you got married young, to sort out the succession and protect the Kingdom. So at the latest you usually had your first kid by age 20, assuming your wife was fertile and you weren’t sterile. Nicomedes great-grandfather was born in 220BC, and reigned until 149BC. Based on the source material he probably had his first kid by 200BC, who was Nicomedes II. The guy was sent to Rome as an ambassador prior to assuming the throne in 149BC (via coup), so he was clearly a statesman by that point (indeed, his father had new kids with his young hot wife, and actually wanted him assassinated in Rome; but I digress). His grandfather Nicomedes II reigned 22 years. He was succeeded by his first and oldest son, Nicomedes III, who reigned 33 years. We’re explicitly told Nicomedes IV was the oldest son of his first wife (who died 9 months into the marriage). So if we assume each ruler had their first child at age 20 (a conservative number to be frank), Nicomedes IV would have been 80 years old by the time he met Caesar. He died 5-6 years later, apparently of old age. I doubt he was in any position to be involved in any sex play of any kind with Caesar.
 
Jan 2015
3,357
Australia
#43
Also just think about it logically. If the King was still old enough to have sex in this way, why had he not gotten remarried and sired a new heir? He was literally forced to leave the Kingdom to Rome in his will, in order to avoid Pontus gobbling it up, because he had no heirs left (except his daughter, so we know he was sufficiently bisexual to bear children). I find it hard to believe the guy was still sexually active by 80BC.
 
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Mar 2012
2,298
#44
If you want to read the real sources, I recommend that you actually read the Latin or Greek. There is no word kainaidos in any lexicon that I know of. "Catamite" and "homosexual indecency" are English words, not Latin.
I mis-spelled it. You can find the word kinaidos with a quick google search. Catamitus is Latin.

You have completely dodged all main points. I will take it that you understand that you were incorrect.
 
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Mar 2012
2,298
#45
It is Curtius Rufus work, where you find information on Bagoas and Alexander loving him. However, Plutarch also mentions Bagoas and that Alexander kissed him in lips during one of parties.
It was common for men to kiss each other then just as it is in Mediterranean countries now. Plutarch strongly implies that Alexander despised homosexuality and goes so far as to imply that he was too manic and distracted to have a healthy interest in any sexual relationships.

Achilles wasn't driven by love of the woman in Iliad. He got upset at Agamemnon, because he took his spoil of war. It was blow to Achilles ego and status. That's why he than wanted Greeks to lose against Trojans. It's in movie ,, Troy '' he loves Briseis. But in Iliad, it's clear that he viewed such incident as act of disrespect by Agamemnon and got angry. Not because he loved her.
Flat out incorrect. He clearly refers to Briseis as "the woman I love."

Also, while in Iliad there isn't clear homosexuality between Patroclus and Achilles, in later works on Trojan war they were very often depicted as a couple and being in love.
You said it exactly right: "later works." In later works, Spider Man is Puerto Rican, Godzilla is female, etc. New authors will always re-interpret old material. It isn't cannon.

Because of that, some scholars believe that Alexander and Hephaestion had an affair. Since in our sources, there is bit where both of them go to visit Achilles grave and Alexander proclaims Hephaestion to be his Partoclus.
The authors can believe as they like, but there is no evidence in the Illiad of them being homosexual and that would be some vanishingly thin evidence of anything.

However, Alexander had relationship with Barsine and Roxanne. Barsine even gave birth to his child Heracles, who later on was killed during Diadochi wars. Roxanne gave birth to Alexander IV. Diodorus also mentions in his writing, that Alexander inherited huge harem from Darius and had different woman every night.
This is correct. Rufus also mentions a loose woman he cavorted with, but I can't remember her name.

Seems Alexander was primarily heterosexual. He might have been into boys somewhat....it was common enough in its day. I stick with my contention that no source says that he and Hephaestion were lovers.
 
Sep 2016
751
Georgia
#46
Flat out incorrect. He clearly refers to Briseis as "the woman I love."
As I understand, Achilles uses word ,, love '' more for describing her as the woman that he shares bed with at night, sexual partner - making love with her. Not necessarily as someone that is very dear to him as a person. Because of that, he got mad at Agamemnon since his ego got hurt and he would be able to find another woman if he wished so, but wounded pride, especially in front of others, wouldn't let him do it.
I need to remind you, that Agamemnon later on agreed to return Briseis and give bunch of other stuff to Achilles, if he joins the battle. However, Achilles refused to join the Greeks despite all of that. This clearly tells us that it was matter of pride and honor for Achilles, not love for Briseis. Patroclus actually tries to make Achilles change his mind and urges him to help Greeks. Achilles than lets Patroclus to join the battle with his armor when Trojans were near ships , trying to burn them and actually managed to do it with few ones.

Also, since when Iliad became the only canon of Trojan war mythology ? Historians argue that story existed and carried on through generations before Iliad was written. Also, that elements of the story changed with times. Iliad also doesn't tell us about years preceding the events and majority of war. It starts at 9th year of war and covers only brief period of time, concerning Achilles rage. We learn some more details in Odyssey about the fall and aftermath.
 
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Sep 2014
709
Texas
#47
It is Curtius Rufus work, where you find information on Bagoas and Alexander loving him. However, Plutarch also mentions Bagoas and that Alexander kissed him in lips during one of parties.

Achilles wasn't driven by love of the woman in Iliad. He got upset at Agamemnon, because he took his spoil of war. It was blow to Achilles ego and status. That's why he than wanted Greeks to lose against Trojans. It's in movie ,, Troy '' he loves Briseis. But in Iliad, it's clear that he viewed such incident as act of disrespect by Agamemnon and got angry. Not because he loved her.

Also, while in Iliad there isn't clear homosexuality between Patroclus and Achilles, in later works on Trojan war they were very often depicted as a couple and being in love.

Because of that, some scholars believe that Alexander and Hephaestion had an affair. Since in our sources, there is bit where both of them go to visit Achilles grave and Alexander proclaims Hephaestion to be his Partoclus.

However, Alexander had relationship with Barsine and Roxanne. Barsine even gave birth to his child Heracles, who later on was killed during Diadochi wars. Roxanne gave birth to Alexander IV. Diodorus also mentions in his writing, that Alexander inherited huge harem from Darius and had different woman every night.
You think he looked at Briseis as only a spoil of war? That is truely the best example of 'gay' history versus history. He would probably get upset if Agememnon had kicked his dog. A gay man would have gotten over this pretty quickly, after all gay men see women in the same light as they see other neccessary animals. When I read the Iliad, it was clear to me that he loved her. If he were gay, Agememnon would have known this and traded a pretty young boy to him. He would have apologized and offered the boy.

And I am often intrigued that Alexander's first mistress, the mother of a child, is never included in these discussions.
 
Aug 2010
15,117
Welsh Marches
#48
As I understand, Achilles uses word ,, love '' more for describing her as the woman that he shares bed with at night, sexual partner - making love with her. Not necessarily as someone that is very dear to him as a person. Because of that, he got mad at Agamemnon since his ego got hurt and he would be able to find another woman if he wished so, but wounded pride, especially in front of others, wouldn't let him do it.
I need to remind you, that Agamemnon later on agreed to return Briseis and give bunch of other stuff to Achilles, if he joins the battle. However, Achilles refused to join the Greeks despite all of that. This clearly tells us that it was matter of pride and honor for Achilles, not love for Briseis. Patroclus actually tries to make Achilles change his mind and urges him to help Greeks. Achilles than lets Patroclus to join the battle with his armor when Trojans were near ships , trying to burn them and actually managed to do it with few ones.

Also, since when Iliad became the only canon of Trojan war mythology ? Historians argue that story existed and carried on through generations before Iliad was written. Also, that elements of the story changed with times. Iliad also doesn't tell us about years preceding the events and majority of war. It starts at 9th year of war and covers only brief period of time, concerning Achilles rage. We learn some more details in Odyssey about the fall and aftermath.
To be sure, Achilles' response is motivated primarily by offended honour (honour being the most essential value for a Greek warrior), but there is no contradiction between that and the idea that he loves Briseis; in point of fact, if he loves Briseis, the offence to his honour in having her taken away from him would be all the worse. Since he talks of her as being like a wife to him, and he talks of their relationship being like that between Paris and Helen, I think it is fairly clear that we are supposed to think of him as valuing her as much more than a mere concubine.
 
Likes: Gvelion
Sep 2016
751
Georgia
#49
You think he looked at Briseis as only a spoil of war? That is truely the best example of 'gay' history versus history. He would probably get upset if Agememnon had kicked his dog. A gay man would have gotten over this pretty quickly, after all gay men see women in the same light as they see other neccessary animals. When I read the Iliad, it was clear to me that he loved her. If he were gay, Agememnon would have known this and traded a pretty young boy to him. He would have apologized and offered the boy.
All gay men see women in the same light as necessary animals ? Where did you get that from ? Gay men see women as other human beings and treat them like that. At least, majority does.
 
Sep 2014
709
Texas
#50
I know homosexuality was tolerated among pre-Christian Greco-Roman cultures and I want to know the famous individuals who were crypto or open gay/Lesbian in ancient Rome/Greece.

I can recall this names

1. Achilles and Patroclus
2. Alexander and Hephaestion
3. Theban band
4. Sappho
5. Julius Ceaser
6. Cicero
7. Hadrian and Antinous Pius
8. Virgil

How many people can you name?
Julius Caesar? Nah, slander after he died doesn't count. And Hadrian murdered eighteen year old Antonous at a shrine to an Egyptian god of virility. The boy's replacement was already there. Hadrian put up those statues to appease the kid's ghost. Antonous probably made the mistake of letting Hadrian see him talking to a girl.

I'm going to throw out some names that I bet no one else has ever considered,
Pleistarchus

the son of Leonidas and Gorgo. He ruled from 480 BC to 458 BC and we know nothing about him. The Spartans were notoriously homophobic and erased his history from their memories.

Nicias -
the general who lost the Athenian fleet at Syracuse. He was a wealthy partier who never married. And he was pissing blood from a terrible e-coli infection. I will let you decide how he got it. He was a nice enough man and Gylippus tried to save him, but the Syracusians wanted him dead.
 

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