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  #1  
Old 10-15-2009, 06:52 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Homosexual kings and royalty

How many gay kings have there been in history? Here are some off the top of my head. Some are relatively undisputed, while others are uncertain, but even allegedly gay kings are still noteworthy.

Edward II of England

James I of England

William III of England (alleged)

Louis XIII of France (possibly bisexual)

Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Emperor (alleged)

Frederick the Great of Prussia (alleged)

Are there any others? And have there ever been any lesbian queens?
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  #2  
Old 10-15-2009, 07:07 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Well Alexander the Great obviously.

In the possible column there Richard the Lionhead

If Emperors count then you can add Hadrian, and there were rumors about Julius Ceasar.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:32 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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In the possible column there Richard the Lionhead
Hmmm freudian slip maybe ? I mean Richard the Lionheart of course.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:07 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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The problem with the terms homosexual or gay as used in the modern parlance, is that it is awful hard to tease out primary attraction for many of these folks, let alone sole attraction ( i.e. they slept with wives only as a chore ). For example that Alexander the Great's greatest love was a guy is near-certain. But he also had a politically unimportant affair with a woman that produced a bastard son, so he probably wasn't a Kinsey 6.

But just to throw out another English example, William II Rufus is a better attested than Richard I. Whether bisexual or truly gay is hard to figure, as above. But that he slept with guys seems pretty likely based on contemporary criticism and that he died at age 40 unmarried and without bastards is fact. By contrast his younger brother ( Henry I ) was just the opposite - a true monarch among bastard-producers.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-15-2009 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:13 PM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
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The problem with the terms homosexual or gay as used in the modern parlance, is that it is awful hard to tease out primary attraction for many of these folks, let alone sole attraction ( i.e. they slept with wives only as a chore ). For example that Alexander the Great's greatest love was a guy is near-certain. But he also had a politically unimportant affair with a woman that produced a bastard son, so he probably wasn't a Kinsey 6.

But just to throw out another English example, William II Rufus is a better attested than Richard I. Whether bisexual or truly gay is hard to figure, as above. But that he slept with guys seems pretty likely based on contemporary criticism and that he died at age 40 unmarried and without bastards is fact. By contrast his younger brother ( Henry I ) was just the opposite - a true monarch among bastard-producers.
Yup. Gay = men only, no women is a somewhat modern invention. They weren't so much gay as free-wheeling... or something.
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  #6  
Old 10-15-2009, 08:19 PM
Malleus, Incus, Stapes! Malleus, Incus, Stapes! is offline
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And have there ever been any lesbian queens?
No, "queens" are gay men.

Somebody had to say it.
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  #7  
Old 10-15-2009, 08:36 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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It seems to me, and I may be mistaken, that homosexual behavior back then was not considered the defining identity of somebody the way it is now. By which I mean, a man who had homosexual affairs with other men would be thought of not as "a homosexual" but as a libertine and deviant whose sexual acts were just one of his many dalliances. It was considered what we might now call a "kink," and not an "orientation."
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:40 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Ludwig II of Bavaria.
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:14 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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...Are there any others? And have there ever been any lesbian queens?
Kristina of Sweden may have been transgender.
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  #10  
Old 10-15-2009, 09:36 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Here's the thing- back then, men & women were not considered equals. Thus, Men often had a real close male friend- that they even professed love for- much like today you'd profess love for a brother.

That wasn't considered "gay" or even unusual back then. Actually, people considering "love" for a close friend of the same sex= homosexual is what is abnormal to me.

So those letters and what not of Kings and etc professing "love" for their "favorite" is not at all evidence of homosexuality.

Of course, some Royals were homosexuals, but almost none are KNOWN to be. The list of the OP is highly suspect, at least for the English/British Kings.
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:40 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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There's some letter by King James where he calls the Duke of Buckingham his "sweet child and wife" and himself "dear dad and husband." That sounds a little extreme even for a "favourite" relationship. And his contemporaries joked about his sexuality; one wag remarked that "we had a King Elizabeth and now we have a Queen James" and another that "it is well known that the King of England fucks the Duke of Buckingham." It's true that close relationships between men were not necessarily sexualized back then, BUT considering what people said about him during his own time, there was probably something more.
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:50 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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There's some letter by King James where he calls the Duke of Buckingham his "sweet child and wife" and himself "dear dad and husband." That sounds a little extreme even for a "favourite" relationship. And his contemporaries joked about his sexuality; one wag remarked that "we had a King Elizabeth and now we have a Queen James" and another that "it is well known that the King of England fucks the Duke of Buckingham." It's true that close relationships between men were not necessarily sexualized back then, BUT considering what people said about him during his own time, there was probably something more.
Standard libel. Not worth a nickle.
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  #13  
Old 10-15-2009, 11:56 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Kristina of Sweden may have been transgender.
There's no evidence for that at all. There is evidence that she had lesbian relationships, but none that she in any way saw herself as a man.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:16 AM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
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There's no evidence for that at all. There is evidence that she had lesbian relationships, but none that she in any way saw herself as a man.
Did you see her portrait? Who needs anything else.
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:42 AM
PlainJain PlainJain is offline
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Sorry to stop this thread in its pursuit of truth, but where does one acquire this lion head? I could use some!
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  #16  
Old 10-16-2009, 05:10 AM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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You do not want head from a lion. Trust me on this.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:42 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Of course, it all can be disputed, since, as others pointed out, sexuality was looked at differently back then.

Two other possibilities:

Henry III of France. Back in college, the belief was that his mother worked to make him more effeminate so that he wouldn't be a threat to his older brother on the throne. He actually left France to rule Poland for a few years, but returned when his brother died.

Richard II of England, whose friendship with Robert de Vere seemed to go beyond friendship.
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Last edited by RealityChuck; 10-16-2009 at 07:43 AM..
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:13 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Richard II of England, whose friendship with Robert de Vere seemed to go beyond friendship.
In this case, at least one of his modern biographers largely dismisses the idea:

So close did the association between the two become that in circles hostile to them it gave rise to allegations of homosexuality. Almost certainly these allegations were baseless. De Vere was in reality something of a womanizer, and in 1387 abandoned his wife, a woman of royal birth, in favour of Agnes Lancecrona, a lady-in-waiting of the queen. His relationship with the king is most likely to have been one of close friendship and no more.

From Richard II by Nigel Saul ( 1997, Yale University Press ). He also cites a 1984 paper by G.B. Stow on the topic.

It is certain that Richard II was unusually ( for a medieval arranged marriage ) devoted to his first wife and was devastated by her death. It has been argued that his lack of the normal run of royal bastards was based in part on his unflagging loyalty to her, though I suppose one could always argue it was merely close friendship and she functioned as a beard. They certainly never conceived. However she reportedly never took outside lovers ( that we know about ) either.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-16-2009 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:46 AM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
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Almost certainly these allegations were baseless. De Vere was in reality something of a womanizer.
And again... nothing precludes someone from being both a womanizer and a... manizer?
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:16 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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And again... nothing precludes someone from being both a womanizer and a... manizer?
Quite true. I don't accept Saul's ( or Stow's, one presumes ) take as the last word. It's just another data point. But it shows, once again, just how difficult it is to figure out how much truth there is in such rumors.

I mentioned William Rufus, for whom we have a fair bit of circumstantial evidence. But the strongest and most direct of these rests with the comments by three chroniclers - Eadmer of Canterbury, William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis. All pious and celibate churchmen and all three quite hostile in their own way to William. But their charges re:William's own behavior ( as opposed to the court in general, where they were very loud in their condemnation of purportedly widespread sodomy and effeminate manners ) is deliberately vague. They charge debauchery in general and insinuate, rather than directly accuse. And William is nowhere identified with any particular favorites that could reasonably be correlated with lovers ( Frank Barlow notes his closest associate Ranulf Flambard, often associated with William in these general charges, was apparently strictly heterosexual ). All in all, summing up all the available evidence, Barlow concluded that WR was probably at least bisexual and I think he makes a good case. But it is still, at the end of the day, circumstantial.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-16-2009 at 12:19 PM..
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  #21  
Old 10-16-2009, 01:45 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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I believe Queen Anne of Great Britain was rumored to have had a few female lovers after the death of her husband.
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:43 PM
JR Brown JR Brown is offline
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Are you only interested in European royalty? Because I'm reading a history of medieval Japan, and it looks like every other shogun and half his lords were keeping a pet boy or ten along with the concubines.
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  #23  
Old 10-16-2009, 04:09 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Standard libel. Not worth a nickle.
Or "Primary sources" as they are known in historical circles. The points about changes in attitudes toward sexuality are good ones. But in cases like James I its pretty much impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was at least bi-sexual.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:04 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Or "Primary sources" as they are known in historical circles. The points about changes in attitudes toward sexuality are good ones. But in cases like James I its pretty much impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was at least bi-sexual.
Not at all. Note that "effeminate" is not the same as homosexual. There are some very butch males in SF who are openly gay as hell, and I know dudes who are effeminate who are straigh as an arrow.

Jame had at least seven kids. Ed II had at least 5.

There is just no evidence that either was gay or even bi-sexual.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:22 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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See here.

Excerpt: "Throughout most of his reign there was a good deal of criticism of the king. Some argued that the real power in the state lay with the king's favourites, the young men of his inner entourage for whom he had written plays and with whom he played games and organised clubs and societies. Some, like King Chulalongkorn before his death and Queen Saowapha, his mother, frowned on the king's personal life and his almost total lack of interest in the opposite sex. It was commonly known, but never spoken of, that the King was in fact an 'erratic homosexual'. He would in fact usually have been passed over had his father not introduced succession-by-legal-primogeniture."

That's probably as much as it's safe for me to say.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:45 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Not at all. Note that "effeminate" is not the same as homosexual. There are some very butch males in SF who are openly gay as hell, and I know dudes who are effeminate who are straigh as an arrow.

Jame had at least seven kids. Ed II had at least 5.

There is just no evidence that either was gay or even bi-sexual.
PLENTY of homosexuals have children. As for Edward II, there is QUITE a bit of evidence! Look up Piers Gaveston.

Keep in mind, it was a monarch's duty to sire heirs. So the whole, "think of England" would probably apply here.

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Old 10-16-2009, 11:31 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Are you only interested in European royalty? Because I'm reading a history of medieval Japan, and it looks like every other shogun and half his lords were keeping a pet boy or ten along with the concubines.
I get the impression it was not as big a deal in the East because they didn't have a religion like Christianity which explicitly forbid homosexual acts.
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  #28  
Old 10-17-2009, 01:31 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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PLENTY of homosexuals have children. As for Edward II, there is QUITE a bit of evidence! Look up Piers Gaveston. .
Here's a wiki quote back at you "Although the relationship that developed between the two young men was certainly very close, its exact nature is impossible to determine. The relationship may have had a sexual element, though the evidence for this is not conclusive. Both Edward and Gaveston married early in the reign. There were children from both marriages - Edward also had an illegitimate son, Adam. While some of the chroniclers' remarks can be interpreted simply as homosexuality or bisexuality, too many of them are either much later in date or the product of hostility. It has also been plausibly argued that the two men may have entered into a bond of adoptive brotherhood.[5]"
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Old 10-17-2009, 02:22 AM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Not at all. Note that "effeminate" is not the same as homosexual. There are some very butch males in SF who are openly gay as hell, and I know dudes who are effeminate who are straigh as an arrow.

Jame had at least seven kids. Ed II had at least 5.

There is just no evidence that either was gay or even bi-sexual.
Other than contemporary poems about him f*cking the Duke of Buckingham, and his heart-felt protestations of love for other men that is.

Actually I don't think James I was considered particularly effeminate (he was widely admired North of the border as a hard drinking life-loving scot, unlike his son)

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Old 10-17-2009, 06:10 AM
Chez Guevara Chez Guevara is offline
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Moving forward to the 20th century, Prince George, Duke of Kent was a bit of a goer.

Fourth in line to the throne when he died in 1942, the monarchy would certainly have taken on a different hue with George in the hot seat.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:41 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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I get the impression it was not as big a deal in the East because they didn't have a religion like Christianity which explicitly forbid homosexual acts.
Actually, in Japan, the situation was much more like DrDeth describes than in Europe, with the idea of female inferiority and such, and there's a tendency in misogynistic warrior cultures, of which feudal Japan was one, for pederastic relationships to occur and be accepted.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:07 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Other than contemporary poems about him f*cking the Duke of Buckingham, and his heart-felt protestations of love for other men that is.
Again the poems were simply libel and in those days men felt no shame in professing their love for a close friend. Do you think feeling love for your brother is "gay"? Then why do you think feeling love for a close friend of the same sex is gay?

Note that "Kings Favorites" were only favorites of the King. The other nobles and powerful dudes resented the fact that the "favorite" had such unlimited access. Of course they spread rumors and libel.
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:39 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Again the poems were simply libel and in those days men felt no shame in professing their love for a close friend. Do you think feeling love for your brother is "gay"? Then why do you think feeling love for a close friend of the same sex is gay?
But when you start referring to him as your "wife", have a secret passage installed from his bedroom to yours, and your contemporaries openly refer to the relationship as a homosexual one, then yeah its a bit gay.

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Note that "Kings Favorites" were only favorites of the King. The other nobles and powerful dudes resented the fact that the "favorite" had such unlimited access. Of course they spread rumors and libel.
However in many cases the term is clearly used as euphemism for "gay lover".

Last edited by griffin1977; 10-17-2009 at 12:40 PM..
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  #34  
Old 10-17-2009, 07:44 PM
Jerseyman Jerseyman is offline
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You can probably add 'mad' King Ludwig II of Bavaria, designer of (among others) Schloss Neuschwanstein, better known as Snow White's Castle - yes folks, it really does exist. And contains a grotto specially constructed for performance of Richard Wagner's (whom he was devoted to, even allowing for the flowery language of the time) more lyrical operas. Wagner's career owes a lot to his patronage. Ludwig (aka Louis) might have had some kind of high-functioning autism, less 'mad' than in a fairytale world of his own.

But basically I'm with Tamerlane (and Gore Vidal): 'Homosexual' is an ambiguous term that applies both in the sense of acts regardless of heterosexual acts and in a contradictory sense implying rejection of the other sex in any romantic sense. Other times and places have just never looked on it that way and considering the variety of sexual and emotional 'relationships', legal or illegal, as part of the same thing or totally different, that occur, as well as personal development if nobody intervenes to stipulate "you did that, you cannot be heterosexual - ever" so creating a self-fulfilling prophesy I think they were right and we are wrong.

It is in some ways clearer with women. It is quite ridiculous to think of some ideal Victorian virgin terrified and disgusted with 'doing her duty' for her husband who would be appalled to think her immoral enough to enjoy it (though I bet many did!) whose emotional relationship is more that of benevolent pet owner, while both share their deepest emotions only with a non-sexual 'closest friend' of their own sex as truly 'heterosexual'.

At the same time, while Oscar Wilde was openly gay and convicted of sex with under-age boys his relationship with Constance has been remarked on as much more 'modern', equal and loving than was respectable for the time - in fact his equality with her was taken as evidence of his 'unmanliness', which can still be the case even now - think the gunshop scene in 'Falling Down' where a pretty toy for the anti-hero's daughter gets the owner calling him a 'faggot', (and I suspect lies behind some peoples' suspicion of men too involved with their children like women: they are still seen as 'perverts' but now that 'gay' is no longer 'perversion', 'pedo' has taken its place).

We can trace it back to a religious 'down' on sexual pleasure in general mitigated by belief that God requires reproduction (as long as nobody enjoys it - then they can quote St. Paul out of context that actually enjoying it with one's wife is 'adultery'). Add to that rape-as-humiliation, general contempt for anything considered to be 'feminine' (as prevalent among many feminists as 'male chauvinists') and the result is a complete contradictory mish-mash, where 'heterosexual' might mean loathing the other sex so much that the only relationship with them can be exploitative or genuinely sadistic sex (not the agreements of BDSM), while 'homosexual' can mean preferring them in every way, but that in itself 'desexing' the person in their eyes.

So what would a truly 'homosexual' king mean? Is it one who regarded women as barely human providers of sexual thrills he otherwise had no time for but gloried in his non-sexual deep emotional relationships with men? Is it one who was very close to women but did not always translate that into sexual terms if they did not want to? Is it one who had deep attachments to a very few individuals of either sex?

I will agree (in part) with the Roman attitude that a person is either sensual or not, and when his soldiers mocked Julius Caesar as "Every woman's husband", that naturally implied he must also be "Every man's wife".
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:33 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Ludwig (aka Louis) might have had some kind of high-functioning autism, less 'mad' than in a fairytale world of his own.
It may have run in the family. His brother Otto was crazy enough to be kept locked up:

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He wrote to his beloved childhood governess " Otto did not take his boots off for eight weeks, he behaves like a mad man, makes terrible faces and barks like a dog. At times he says the most indecorous things; and then again he is quite normal for awhile. Gietl and Solbrig examined him and if he does not follow their advice, soon it will be forever too late." Otto’s mental health was rapidly deteriorating.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:13 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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But when you start referring to him as your "wife", have a secret passage installed from his bedroom to yours, and your contemporaries openly refer to the relationship as a homosexual one, then yeah its a bit gay.



However in many cases the term is clearly used as euphemism for "gay lover".
You're reading into 13 century mores from a 20th century perspective.

Clearly? Find me one undisputed case among English/British Royalty.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:43 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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You're reading into 13 century mores from a 20th century perspective.
You mean 17th century mores.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:35 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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I will agree (in part) with the Roman attitude that a person is either sensual or not, and when his soldiers mocked Julius Caesar as "Every woman's husband", that naturally implied he must also be "Every man's wife".
I've read that Julius Caesar's supposed homosexuality was an Urban Legend. That the sole contemporary reference to that was made by a personal enemy who was probably just being snarky.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:58 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Most of the Julius Caesar homosexuality thing (and it wasn't sole homosexuality...he was a notorious womanizer) comes from Suetonius, and refers to an incident when Caesar, as a young man, slept with King Nicomedes of Bithynia. From his "The Twelve Caesars":

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The only stain on [Caesar's] chastity was his having cohabited with Nicomedes; and that indeed stuck to him all the days of his life, and exposed him to much bitter raillery. I will not dwell on those well-known berses of Calvus Licinius:

Whatever Bithynia and her lord possess'd
Her lord who Caesar in his lust caress'd

I pass over the speeches of Dolabella, and Curio, the father, in which the former calls him "the queen's rival, and the inner side of the royal couch," and the latter, "the brothel of Nicomedes, and the Bithynian stew." I would likewise say nothing of the edicts of Bibulus, in which he proclaimed his colleague under the name of "the queen of Bithynia;" adding, that "he had formerly been in love with a king, but now coveted a kingdom." At which time, as Marcus Brutus relates, one Octavius, a man of a crazy brain, and therefore the more free in his raillery, after he had in a crowded assembly asluted Pompey by the title of king, addressed Caesar by that of queen. Caius Memmius likewise upbraided him with serving the king at table, among the rest of his catamites, in the prsence of a large company, in which there were some merchants from Rome, the names of whom he mentions. But Cicero was not content with writing in some of his letters, that he was conducted by the royal attendants into the king's bed-chamber, lay upon a bed of gold with a covering of purple, and that the youthful bloom of this scion of Venus had been tainted in Bithynia- but upon Caesar's pleading the cause of Nysa, the daughter of Nicomedes before the senate, and recounting the king's kindnesses to him, replied, "Pray, tell us no more of that; for it is well known what he gave you and you gave him." To conclude, his soldiers in the Gallic triumph, amongst other verses, such as they jocularly sung on those occasions, following the general's chariot, recided these, which since that time have become extremely common:

The Gauls to Caesar yield, Caesar to Nicomede
Lo! Caesar triumphs for his glorious deed,
But Caesar's conqueror gains no victor's meed.
I will add that I don't like the translation of that soldier's song. The translator went out of the way to make it rhyme. A more literal translation is, "Caesar subjugated Gaul, and Nicomedes subjugated Caesar. Look at Caesar triumph for subjugating Gaul. Nicomedes didn't triumph for subjugating Caesar."

Last edited by Captain Amazing; 10-17-2009 at 11:01 PM..
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  #40  
Old 10-17-2009, 11:28 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Well, DrDeth, his contemporaries certainly thought he was gay, and killed him in a manner they thought appropriate: it's widely believed that he was sodomized to death with a red hot poker.

There's plenty of debate on whether or not it's true, but the facts are that is PLENTY of evidence he was, at the very least, bisexual. I have no idea why you are so quick to wave this away.
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  #41  
Old 10-18-2009, 01:57 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
You're reading into 13 century mores from a 20th century perspective.
No, how he acted in, and described, his same-sex relationships was not just considered inappropriate from a 21st Century heterosexual perspective, it was considered inappropriate from a 17th century heterosexual perspective. Contemporary accounts made this abundantly clear.

The fact he married and had children (as well as not being exactly unheard of in similar situations in the 21st century), was not unusual if you consider the fact that it is only in the modern era that marriage and procreation considered to have much, if anything, to do with love and attraction. And this was doubly so for monarchs where who they married and how many children they produced was of critical importance for the future of the state (and its foreign policy), and necessary regardless of the sexual peccadilloes of monarch in question.

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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Clearly? Find me one undisputed case among English/British Royalty.
When term is used by about the favorites of the like of James I and Edward II, it is CLEARLY meant to describe them as homosexual lovers. To say otherwise requires historians to simply ignore the wealth of primary sources that are quite clear about it.

Last edited by griffin1977; 10-18-2009 at 01:58 PM..
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  #42  
Old 10-18-2009, 08:42 PM
Helen's Eidolon Helen's Eidolon is offline
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Obviously we will never know whether or not Caesar really had a sexual relationship with Nicomedes of Bithynia, but it is very likely it was libel. Not because having sex with another man was necessarily shameful - it wasn't, in fact - but playing the receptive role in sex was.

Mark me down as another person having trouble with homosexuality as a category in pre-modern times. Royalty who may or may not have engaged in same-sex erotic relations, on the other hand, sounds like a fun thread.

Jerseyman, I'm not sure what you mean by that interpretation of Suetonius' 'every man's woman and every woman's man'. Can you explain a bit more?

I also have to agree, DrDeth, that there seems to be pretty compelling evidence it was possibly a homoerotic relationship. You're asking why people assume it is, and I'll ask you why you assume it isn't.
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  #43  
Old 10-18-2009, 08:56 PM
Helen's Eidolon Helen's Eidolon is offline
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A few Roman emperors certainly engaged in same-sex relations.

Nero acted as both the active and passive partner with different men. From Suetonius' Life:
Quote:
He castrated the boy Sporus and actually tried to make a woman of him; and he married him with all the usual ceremonies, including a dowry and a bridal veil, took him to his house attended by a great throng, and treated him as his wife. ...

his freedman Doryphorus; for he was even married to this man in the same way that he himself had married Sporus, going so far as to imitate the cries and lamentations of a maiden being deflowered.
Hadrian also had a well-known lover, Antinous, who Hadrian elevated to the status of a god after his favourite's death.
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  #44  
Old 10-18-2009, 09:50 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was most likely bisexual.

There were also rumors that Umberto II of Italy was homosexual.

And though not a monarch, there's Grand Duke Konstantine of Russia. His journal entries were full of self-loathing and shame. (Despite being married, his homosexual tendencies were quite strong and he was a frequent visitor to the bathhouses).
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  #45  
Old 10-18-2009, 10:46 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen's Eidolon View Post
Obviously we will never know whether or not Caesar really had a sexual relationship with Nicomedes of Bithynia, but it is very likely it was libel. Not because having sex with another man was necessarily shameful - it wasn't, in fact - but playing the receptive role in sex was.
Especially because Nicomedes was one of those "decadent Eastern potentates" that all good Romans were supposed to look down upon, and because, according to the rumors, he did it in exchange for Bithynia's fleet, which made him a whore.

Also, to add to your list of Roman emperors engaging in same sex relations, Cassius Dio claims that Elagabalus enjoyed dressing up as a woman and visiting brothels, where he'd prostitute himself to the male clients. He also, according to Cassius Dio, married and had sex with a lot of women, so he could learn how a woman could best please a man, after which he married a slave charioteer named Hierocles, and called himself Hierocles's "wife" This same Hierocles had been loved by the Emperor Gordian, but that carried no scandal, because Gordian had been the active partner.

He then committed "adultery" with other men, and then when Hierocles would catch him in this, often by Elagabalus's planning, Hierocles would beat him. But Elagabalus didn't reject him because of this, but loved him all the more, and wanted to make him Caesar. Cassius Dio also says that Elagabalus asked his physicians to surgically give him a vagina, and offered a large sum of money to anyone who could do so.
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  #46  
Old 10-19-2009, 09:40 AM
Helen's Eidolon Helen's Eidolon is offline
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I'm sure Elagabalus was a little freaky, but our only source for him is the Historia Augusta, which is way worse than Suetonius for gossipy fictions, and that's saying a lot. The HA needs to be taken with a whole truckload of salt.
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  #47  
Old 10-19-2009, 10:52 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen's Eidolon View Post
I'm sure Elagabalus was a little freaky, but our only source for him is the Historia Augusta, which is way worse than Suetonius for gossipy fictions, and that's saying a lot. The HA needs to be taken with a whole truckload of salt.
Not true. We also have Cassius Dio's "Roman History", which is where I took the above from (Book 80, Chapters 13-15). We also have Herodian, but he doesn't talk about any homosexuality.

Last edited by Captain Amazing; 10-19-2009 at 10:55 AM..
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  #48  
Old 10-19-2009, 10:56 AM
Helen's Eidolon Helen's Eidolon is offline
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Huh, you're quite right. Carry on!
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  #49  
Old 10-19-2009, 11:18 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Carrying on! Isn't the Historia Augusta fun, btw?

Oh, and in terms of emperors who may have had same sex relationships, there's the stuff that Tiberius was up to at Capri, although that's Suetonius, so....
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  #50  
Old 10-19-2009, 12:06 PM
Helen's Eidolon Helen's Eidolon is offline
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I'm a little bit obsessed with the Historia Augusta, actually. It's far cooler than anything in the later Empire has a right to be.

I suspect many of the Roman emperors had sexual relationships with other males. It probably was just not noteworthy enough if it was done discreetly and the emperor was the active, penetrating partner.

Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander's father, also had male lovers. The Spartan kings all did, too. I'm trying to think of what other Greek places had royalty...
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