Was Emperor Elagabalus a Transgender?

JoanOfArc007

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Dec 2015
3,800
USA
Was Emperor Elagabalus a Transgender perhaps making him the first and only such Emperor of Rome?

Elagabalus

Many Roman emperors led notorious lifestyles, but Emperor Elagabalus was one who appears to be transgender. Born in Emesa in Syria, Varius Avitus Bassianus as Elagabalus was initially known, reigned from 218 until 222 AD. While in power, the teenage emperor enjoyed bisexual relationships and cross-dressing. Sources also hint that he may not have been comfortable with his birth gender.

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Oct 2018
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Cassius Dio reports not that he wanted exclusively female genitalia, but rather appears to claim that he wanted both (80.17.1, fragment of Dio in the Epitome of Xiphilinus): 'Avitus (Elagabalus), according to Dio, besought his physician to employ his skill to make him of two natures by means of an anterior incision.' ( Ἄβιτος, ὥς φησι Δίων, τὸν ἰατρὸν ἠντιβόλει διφυῆ αὐτὸν διὰ τομῆς ἐμπροσθίου τῇ τέχνῃ ποιεῖσθαι.). Unfortunately, the other major accounts, of Herodian and the Historia Augusta, do not mention this and thus provide no clarification.
 

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,800
USA
What kind of a leader was Emperor Elagabalus? We know the emperor died very young but that said was Elagabalus an effective ruler , are there are scholars that have praised Elagabalus ? From I have seen so far the commentary has been negative with regards to Elagabalus

And biggest of all how remarkable it is that an emperor of Rome has various reports surrounding his possible life as a transgender Person. Not just bisexual what we are talking about here is the claim of being transgender that although Elagabalus was born a man he felt that he was a woman and apparently sought out a sex change operation All these centuries ago.
 
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JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,800
USA
Cassius Dio reports not that he wanted exclusively female genitalia, but rather appears to claim that he wanted both (80.17.1, fragment of Dio in the Epitome of Xiphilinus): 'Avitus (Elagabalus), according to Dio, besought his physician to employ his skill to make him of two natures by means of an anterior incision.' ( Ἄβιτος, ὥς φησι Δίων, τὸν ἰατρὸν ἠντιβόλει διφυῆ αὐτὸν διὰ τομῆς ἐμπροσθίου τῇ τέχνῃ ποιεῖσθαι.). Unfortunately, the other major accounts, of Herodian and the Historia Augusta, do not mention this and thus provide no clarification.
That’s very interesting and a worthy post

Do you know of any scholars that have provided a positive description of the life of Elagabalus. And how the Roman people viewed the sexual lifestyle and just lifestyle in general of this emperor who is said to have been a transgender person.
 

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,800
USA
Elagabulus is not the sort of fellow transgender people will want as their avatar.
Could you further elaborate? Are you saying that you don’t like the way the emperor looks or are you saying you don’t like his reported lifestyle?

A number of the emperors of Rome have been criticized throughout the years not just Elagabulus.

What stands out to me my friend is this incredible report of Elagabulus seeking out a sex change . Wiki and further legit sources suggest Elagabulus was uncomfortable being born a man and possibly he wanted a sex change. All the more reason that I ask folks itt for any information they can provide on Elagabulus ?
 
Jul 2019
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New Jersey
Could you further elaborate? Are you saying that you don’t like the way the emperor looks or are you saying you don’t like his reported lifestyle?

A number of the emperors of Rome have been criticized throughout the years not just Elagabulus.

What stands out to me my friend is this incredible report of Elagabulus seeking out a sex change . Wiki and further legit sources suggest Elagabulus was uncomfortable being born a man and possibly he wanted a sex change. All the more reason that I ask folks itt for any information they can provide on Elagabulus ?
From what I've read he was pretty much a Caligula-tier lunatic. He believed that if he married a vestal virgin his children would be gods, and he identified himself with the Sun god. He was one of the most reviled emperors in all Roman history - which of course his transgenderism didn't help.
 
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JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,800
USA
From what I've read he was pretty much a Caligula-tier lunatic. He believed that if he married a vestal virgin his children would be gods, and he identified himself with the Sun god. He was one of the most reviled emperors in all Roman history - which of course his transgenderism didn't help.
Well here is the Wikipedia article on Elagablaus.

Elagabalus - Wikipedia

Another issue btw is how should we label Elagabalus? If the reports are true that Elagabalus wanted a sex change and was uncomfortable with his sex at birth, well then he should be a she. And based on the following site Im going to consider identifying Elagabalus as Empress not Emperor.

Elagabalus died at eighteen, after ruling for only four years. After her death, the Roman Senate had her erased from the history of Rome, which is a part of why information about her is so scarce and often so unreliable. What we know is that Elagabalus wasn’t a good leader, and probably not that great of a person either. But we also know she was a teenager.

Having both facts in mind, it becomes difficult to pin down exactly how we should remember Elagabalus. Though she was undoubtedly worth remembering, she may also be one of the people in the queer community’s history that isn’t deserving of any reverence. She was queer, and she was also a very violent and justifiably hated person, but her bad behaviour was not because of her queerness. It is far more likely that her age played the biggest part in her terrible decisions.



Elagabalus, the Empress

We should consider the young age of Elagabalus when commenting on the quality of the rule of Elagabalus. Its a interesting discussion certainly and your contributions are appreciated.