Was Emperor Elagabalus a Transgender?

Feb 2019
814
Serbia
#21
Is it fair to apply the modern notion of a ''transgender'' person to a Roman Emperor that lived almost 2.000 years ago? I don't think that we can paint Elagabalus by that standard and just slap ''he's transgender!'' like that so quickly. In addition to what @DiocletianIsBetterThanYou said about Cassius Dio's record I think that it is well possible that the Roman historians either exaggerated or maybe even fabricated some things, it wouldn't be unusual for them to slander an emperor. Furthermore considering that Elagabalus was very much insane trying to profile him as a ''transgender'' in such a simple manner doesn't work. If this is some strange attempt to appropriate a Roman Emperor into some modern role model for transgenderism it's not a good idea for the same reason of him being insane.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2019
792
Pennsylvania, US
#22
Is it fair to apply the modern notion of a ''transgender'' person to a Roman Emperor that lived almost 2.000 years ago? I don't think that we can paint Elagabalus by that standard and just slap ''he's transgender!'' like that so quickly. In addition to what @DiocletianIsBetterThanYou said about Cassius Dio's record I think that it is well possible that the Roman historians either exaggerated or maybe even fabricated some things, it wouldn't be unusual for the to slander an emperor. Furthermore considering that Elagabalus was very much insane trying to profile him as a ''transgender'' in such a simple manner doesn't work. If this is some strange attempt to appropriate a Roman Emperor into some modern role model for transgenderism it's not a good idea for the same reason of him being insane.
I think that there is a push to identify and appropriate individuals in history into a certain category of gender identity or sexual orientation... I think that the motivation in trying to evaluate the true nature of someone's person (whether that be their inner psychological landscape, their preferences, their manner of understanding themselves) is not necessarily wrong in and of itself. It can be rather interesting... as long as you work to solve something, knowing that it is "in theory". You mention insanity - that is something of a blanket term for a number of things... there are people who take interest in discerning whether 'insanity" meant schizophrenia or, say, major depressive disorder. Both may cause someone to try to take their own life, but they are very different states of mind. It may help expand the understanding of an individual to be able to ascertain the difference. I think this is the same rationale for asking about someone's perceived gender.
 
#23
On Elagabalus' 'insanity', I'm not sure that it is correct to consider him insane. Much of what I have read speaks to a teenaged and privileged mindset, a boy born into the Severan dynasty and made emperor at a young age, who enjoyed sex with fellow young men and, crucially, whose life before becoming emperor consisted of him being a well-known priest of the Syrian god Elagabal at Emesa. His religious efforts, dubbed by senators of his time as un-Roman and offensive, appear to be traceable to the fact that he was an priest of this particular god, and was trying to dominate the state religion with this god and associated Emesene rites. He was thus an eccentric emperor in certain emperor, and could be condemned by fuddy-duddy senators as lacking in moderation, and may well have had views about his gender identity that, if he lived today, would be dubbed as being, well, not cis-gender. But insanity is not necessary to explain any of this.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,711
Australia
#24
This thread is a classic example of rewriting history to push an agenda. There were a number of Roman Emperors and other historical figures who were not fussy about the sex of their partners, but to attempt to class them as 'transgender' is pointless revisionism.
 
Dec 2015
3,747
USA
#25
This thread is a classic example of rewriting history to push an agenda. There were a number of Roman Emperors and other historical figures who were not fussy about the sex of their partners, but to attempt to class them as 'transgender' is pointless revisionism.
This thread is a classic example of rewriting history to push an agenda. There were a number of Roman Emperors and other historical figures who were not fussy about the sex of their partners, but to attempt to class them as 'transgender' is pointless revisionism.
That’s wrong to assume how people think
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,895
#27
This thread is a classic example of rewriting history to push an agenda. There were a number of Roman Emperors and other historical figures who were not fussy about the sex of their partners, but to attempt to class them as 'transgender' is pointless revisionism.
How is it rewriting history? It’s been in texts literally since the time of his reign in the early third century.
 
Likes: JoanOfArc007
Dec 2015
3,747
USA
#28
On Elagabalus' 'insanity', I'm not sure that it is correct to consider him insane. Much of what I have read speaks to a teenaged and privileged mindset, a boy born into the Severan dynasty and made emperor at a young age, who enjoyed sex with fellow young men and, crucially, whose life before becoming emperor consisted of him being a well-known priest of the Syrian god Elagabal at Emesa. His religious efforts, dubbed by senators of his time as un-Roman and offensive, appear to be traceable to the fact that he was an priest of this particular god, and was trying to dominate the state religion with this god and associated Emesene rites. He was thus an eccentric emperor in certain emperor, and could be condemned by fuddy-duddy senators as lacking in moderation, and may well have had views about his gender identity that, if he lived today, would be dubbed as being, well, not cis-gender. But insanity is not necessary to explain any of this.
You certainly know a lot about this topic I appreciate that. Do you have any links that show us what contemporary writers were providing about the life of Elagabalus? I know that you brought up one contemporary writer of the time. But I was curious if there are any links which perhaps in bullet points or in a summary form provide us what the contemporary writers of the time thought of Elagabulus?
 
#29
You certainly know a lot about this topic I appreciate that. Do you have any links that show us what contemporary writers were providing about the life of Elagabalus? I know that you brought up one contemporary writer of the time. But I was curious if there are any links which perhaps in bullet points or in a summary form provide us what the contemporary writers of the time thought of Elagabulus?
Unfortunately I know of no such summary, but I'll include links to the three main accounts:

Cassius Dio: Cassius Dio — Epitome of Book 79

Cassius Dio — Epitome of Book 80

Herodian: Herodian 5.1 - Livius

Herodian 5.2 - Livius

Herodian 5.3 - Livius

Herodian 5.4 - Livius

Herodian 5.5 - Livius

Herodian 5.6 - Livius

Herodian 5.7 - Livius

Herodian 5.8 - Livius

The Historia Augusta (to be used with extra caution): Historia Augusta • Life of Elagabalus (Part 1 of 2)

Historia Augusta • Life of Elagabalus (Part 2 of 2)
 
Likes: JoanOfArc007
Dec 2015
3,747
USA
#30
One thing I have yet to find is how did Elagabulus Treat Christians? I would imagine it would have been negative but perhaps there’s more to the picture than meets the eye .

What is interesting about this topic is that A mere 20 years after the rule of Elagabulus We had the emperor known as Philip the Arab who was also a Syrian but who is said to have been sympathetic to Christians. That is two Syrian emperors of Rome in a one century period That I know of perhaps there were others?

It’s clear that there are historians in this thread such as the poster above me and others... I’m not one of them. So I respect the folks in this thread that have apparently been able to Memorize numerous names and time periods Associated with the Roman empires.

I’m not a historian but I take a tremendous interest into history so I’m hoping some of the scholars itt can comment on these issues and questions that I have


Forgive any typos as this message was provided via speaking into my iPhone
 
Last edited: