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Sporus, beloved of Nero

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Sporus is an example of the tragic fate of a slave. He was a Roman slave who was adored by Emperor Nero because he reminded him of his dead wife Poppaa Sabina. Nero asked to subject the boy to castration and in the autumn of 66 CE during the emperor’s journey around Greece, he married him.

After castration, the eunuch received a female name, Sabina. He dressed himself like a woman, he had to do all the women’s activities, always surrounded by other women. Nero promised great honors and a monetary reward to anyone who could make a real woman from a boy. Sporus accompanied Nero to the end, but when the emperor demanded to commit suicide together, the boy escaped. No sources tell if Sporus reciprocated Nero’s feelings.

After the death of the ruler, the boy became a “wife” of praetorian Nymphidius Sabinus, and later the Emperor Otho. Vitellius, in turn, told him to play the title character of the performance “Rape on Persephone”. To avoid constant humiliation, he committed suicide.

  • Cassius Dio, Roman history
  • Mirosław Kocur, We władzy teatru
  • Suetonius, Nero

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