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In ancient Rome homosexuality was tolerated

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman fresco showing sex
Roman fresco showing sex

In ancient Rome, homosexuality was tolerated, but while in Greece it had a certain exclusive character and was allowed only among free people, it was the other way around here – it was not proper to indulge in a Roman citizen.

If a Roman citizen was caught being penetrated or practising fellatio he was usually mocked and mocked – at best. It was not fitting for a Roman to become a submissive party as a warrior and conqueror. We know, for example, the message that young Julius Caesar was accused of having sex with the king of Bithynia during his exile. Throughout his career, the great leader had to come across terms like “queen”.

Roman legions were particularly negative about homosexuality. The military authority realized that the army was particularly vulnerable to pederasty. For this, any manifestation of “love” was severely punished. Apparently, at the turn of the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE there was a major scandal in the Roman army led by Gaius Marius. The chief’s nephew, known for his homosexual inclinations, tried at all costs to seduce his subordinate, a certain Trebonian. When the urging failed, he decided to rape a Roman soldier. In self-defence, he killed the superior. Marius personally judged the matter, awarding the legionary with the award and condemning the attitude of his nephew.

However, homosexuality in ancient Rome was common and generally accepted. Most often, Roman citizens used their slaves and servants. Lupanars were also attended, where beautiful boys were used. The emperors themselves had their favourites and this did not offend the public to a greater extent.

  • Koper Sławomir, Miłość i polityka. Kobiety świata antycznego, Warszawa 1997

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