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  • #16539


    A lot of the sexuality episode dealt with cross-dressing and transgender issues. I'm curious if you have come across anything dealing with attitudes toward homosexuality. The Romans had very open and well-documented social rules around same-sex relationships. Did any of those social norms carry on into the middle ages? I guess what I'm asking is how did homosexuality go from a fairly normal thing in the Greco-Roman period to punishable by years of hard labor during the Victorian days?

  • #20536


    hi jesi,I'm not sure the Romans were as open and accepting as all that. I think Valerius discusses some cases of capital punishment for sodomy within the Legion at least into the late Republic. Many scholars just assume that Hadrian was a happily practicing homosexual, but whether it's the late Roman Empire or golden age of Greece I think there has always been a double standard for the rich and powerful to do what and who they want. Also so much of what we know about Roman sex lives seems to come the gossip columns or political enemies. Ciecero loved to accuse Anthony of playing a woman's role and cross dressing but I'm not sure that makes it true, they were literally in a fight to the death. I wonder what the archeo side of things would say, for example I don't remember any homosexual art in the brothels at Pompeii (maybe I missed it, I remember a lot of flying phalluses, group sex, even some bestiality and satyr action) not to say there wouldn't have been separate homosexual brothels, but if they were hidden or at least didn't advertise they must not have been as socially acceptable?? Makes me want to go to the Naples National museum again, they a have a great adults only section. I recall a funny statute of a satyr being horrified to discover that young lady he'd been molesting was a man.Does anyone know more about homosexuality documented in contemporary artifacts or archeological sites?

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