Were There Any Other Ancient Cultures That Tolerated Homosexuality?

You also might want to check out “Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Rennaisance Florence”, by Michael Rocke. Rocke looks at surviving records of “The Office of the Night”, a special court set up in Florence between 1432-1502 specifically to try sodomy cases, and finds that in the 70 years it existed, 17,000 men were investigated for sodomy. When you consider that Florence at that time only had a total population of 40,000, that gives you some idea how common homosexuality was in Florence at the time.

At least some Native American cultures had a place for “two-spirited people.”

A character of this nature was portrayed in the 1970 film Little Big Man.


There is some indication (in Greek sources) that the ancient Persians might have tolerate a man having sex at least with a eunuch. Alexander the Great’s eromenos was a Persian eunuch called Bagoas, who according to Curtius had previously been loved by Darius, the Great King of Persia.

By the way, you can read about the Sambia at <http://icarus.ubetc.buffalo.edu/users/apy106/cultures/sambia.html>. Although anal and transdermal ‘inseminations’ (and even inseminations per os) of boys are reported as features of certain cultures in the highlands of New Guinea, the sources only seem to mention fellatio among the Sambia specifically. And although these inseminations were indeed supposed to make boys into men, they seem to have been performed over a period of years, not concentrated into a rite of passage.


Oy. Seems like there are truths to some stereotypes, even way far back as Ancient Egypt!