Ib Latin Internal Assessment

875 Words Apr 28th, 2013 4 Pages
B

“You’re gay,” a term now used so freely to not only insult peers but to take a stab at the homosexual community. But was this homosexual stigma always prevalent in history? Over two thousand years ago, the ancient Roman state ruled most of the known world. During those five hundred years, emperors rose to power and fell, a republic formed and was destroyed but what perhaps is one the most important aspects of Roman society is free love.
Homosexuality was not considered different nor was it considered an atrocity in the common roman man. In Rome, there was no special attention given to homosexuals or heterosexuals for that matter.[1]
“…Roman men were not encouraged by their cultural heritage to categorize, much less evaluate or
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However female homosexuality was never acceptable and was punishable by death. In contrast to the Roman views of female homosexuality, Ovid’s story about Iphis[3] suggests that he supported the behavior. According to Suetonius even the rulers of Rome had male preferences when it came to sexual activities, such as the case of Galba[4], who is the only individual male named to have stated male preferences. While Galba is the only named “homosexual,” evidence suggests that the great emperor Hadrian was in love with a young Greek man named Antinous. A short few lines written by Hadrian a few days before his death read, “Animula vagula blandula/ hospes comesque corporis/ quae nunc abibis in loca/ pallidula rigida nudula/ nec ut soles dabis iocos” [5]. Obviously if Roman Emperors could openly prefer males, the people themselves were able to and did follow suit as even poets such as Martial commented on the activity. Marcus Valerius Martialis, otherwise known as Martial, also had views on homosexuality. He once wrote “mentula cum doleat puero, tibi, Naeuole, culus, non sum diuinus, sed scio quid facias,”[6] which attacks Naevolus’