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Gay Icon

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:49 am
by jasonxx
If one looks and brouses through particular sites etc. Somewhere you will find that Alexander has been adopted as a gay Icon.

Can[we] really say this.And what actual evidence is there to support this even though we know Ancient Greece was prevelent in Bisexual and Homosexual practices.

Was our boy really a gender bender.As we know Achilles was.


Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:20 am
by aleksandros
From where do we know that Achilles was?

As for Alexander i dare anyone of these folks to show me one historical source which claims that Alexander was gay or bisexual.

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:34 pm
by dean
I suppose that as far as homosexuality and Alexander the great is concerned we can say that people project a lot of their own agendas onto idols/famous people/etc.

Bagoas and the "kiss in the theatre" after winning a dancing contest could be one of the few give away signs that he was bisexual- and why should we read about a eunuch in the tale of the conqueror if there wasn't some kind of relationship.
His famous lack of sexual appetite is certainly curious- his mother trying to force a hetaira on him at an early age is an indication that his lack of interest in girls was worrying- leaving no heir and all if worst was to come to the worst.

As far as Achilles is concerened ^this again is supposition- we have him bandaging Patroclus on a famous image or vase can't remember which, which some have thought to contain sexual overtones.
This was recorded by Plutarch of Philip of Macedon
""It is not only the most warlike peoples, the Boeotians, Spartans, and Cretans, who are the most susceptible to this kind of love but also the greatest heroes of old: Meleager, Achilles, Aristomenes, Cimon, and Epaminondas."
Best regards,

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:52 pm
by Taphoi
alexanthros wrote:As for Alexander i dare anyone of these folks to show me one historical source which claims that Alexander was gay or bisexual.
"Some add that Alexander himself for a time drove the car in which the body [of Hephaistion] was borne... Yet others tell us that he ordered the temple of Asclepius at Ecbatana to be razed to the ground..."
Arrian, Anabasis Alexandrou 7.14.5

"Alexander ordered the temples of Asclepius to be burned, when his eromenos died."
Arrian, Discourses of Epictetus 2.22.17



Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:18 pm
by aleksandros
And Plutarch wrote:

When Philoxenus, the leader of the seashore, wrote to Alexander that there was a youth in Ionia whose beauty has yet to be seen and asked him in a letter if he (Alexander) would like him (the boy) to be sent over, he (Alexander) responded in a strict and disgusted manner: "You are the most hideous and malign of all men, have you ever seen me involved in such dirty work that you found the urge to flatter me with such hedonistic business?"

When Philoxenus, the commander of his forces on the sea-board, wrote that there was with him a certain Theodorus of Tarentum, who had two youths of surpassing beauty to sell, and enquired whether Alexander would buy them, Alexander was incensed, and cried out many times to his friends, asking them what shameful thing Philoxenus had ever seen in him that he should spend his time in making such disgraceful proposals.

No contemporary source states that Alexander and Hephaistion were lovers (wikipedia)

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:25 pm
by athenas owl
Seems that there is just enough "known" about Alexander to allow him to become the poster child for many things, depending on ones POV. That phrase "through a glass darkly" always comes to mind when I think of the real history of ATG.

I have some gay friends who would love to join the military, sadly not a viable possibility in the US, yet. The importance to them of ATG (and Hephaistion) is that the most famous warrior, general and conqueror loved a man is a kind of "proof" for them that gays should also be accepted. Don't get them started on the "Sacred Band of Thebes".

Was he? I'm waiting for some magical papyrus dump to be found somewhere that explains it all! :lol:

edit: alexanthros, is the other common factor in those two instances the fact that ATG did want his "love" to be bought or pimped, so to speak?

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:57 pm
by Taphoi
alexanthros wrote:No contemporary source states that Alexander and Hephaistion were lovers (wikipedia)
Diogenes of Sinope, Letter 24

"To Alexander, greetings

If you wish to become good and upright, throw aside the rag you have on your head and come to me. But you certainly cannot, for you are held fast by the thighs of Hephaistion."

(Wikipedia doesn't always get its facts right.)



Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:28 pm
by amyntoros
Any subject that involves people's need to believe one thing or the opposite about Alexander is bound to cause controversy and it becomes increasingly difficult for me to continue to give dispassionate responses (based on historical evidence) to emotionally-charged arguments. I admire those here who keep trying, :) but the best I can do is refer everyone back to the pages on Pothos listed under "Sex" (Homepage, click on Alexander the Great in lefthand sidebar; click on Sex) which are objective and invaluable where any debate on Alexander's sexuality is concerned. At the very least the articles (should) teach people why modern terms such as homosexuality and gay do not apply.

Best regards,

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:41 pm
by karen
There are no ancient references stating that Alexander was "gay or bisexual," because sex between males was so common and considered so normal that terms distinguishing it hadn't been invented yet.

However, examples are cited, emphases mine:

Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander, 6.5.23 (trans. Yardley): "...Bagoas, an exceptionally good-looking eunuch in the very flower of his youth. Darius had had a sexual relationship with him and presently Alexander did too."

Aelian on Hephaistion's offering at the grave of Patroklos as Alexander offered at Achilles' (Varia Historia 12.7): "He thus intimated that he was the object of Alexander's love, as Patroclus was of Achilles."

Deducing from sources: you don't go insane with grief the way Alexander did about Hephaistion, over a mere best friend and cavalry commander.

Thanks Andrew for the reference about Hephaistion's thighs, as I was having trouble scaring it up.

In both cases where Alexander angrily rejected offers, boys were being offered to him by third parties as if they were things, without their consent. I think he found that distasteful. You straight men, if someone offered to remove a girl from wherever she was just to send her to you for your sexual enjoyment, would you not find that distasteful, and want to discourage it very strongly? I HOPE so!

I see this over and over and over. What some of you refuse to accept is that a person can have sex with the same sex and still be strong... a hero... a military genius... a great leader... etc.

Most of all, you refuse to accept that a person can have sex with the same sex and still be admirable and a good person.

Without accepting this, you can't discuss Alexander's sexuality rationally. So deal with it.


"as we know Achilles was"

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:03 pm
by jan
:D Do we really know that about Achilles? Really, you only know what is said about Achilles. As I recall, it is the loss of his first love, a woman, that set him off. I have read all about Achilles and his poetry and his love of Patroclus too. I can think of two people in particular who have thigh problems...Some how or other, a comment on thighs does not make one having a homosexual experience...and since when does anyone ever take gossip seriously...does any one truly believe anything that Kitty Kelly says?

So think when you read...

unless you get it first person from the horses's mouth, it is all hearsay!

That is why I advocate gay liberation, so that the gay world can admit it honestly and openly, and the heterosexual world can know who to date to make a marriage/family possible.

When anyone can quote any of the above as having stated it upfront, then I will consider it as an admission. Until then, I think what I choose to think bsed upon my own insights and reasons.

I believe that Alexander likes women period, and has male friends as trusted companions. So the gay world will get no satisfaction from me in my judgment call. :wink:

Re: Gay Icon

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:04 pm
by marcus
Curse you for starting this thread, Kenny.

Re: Gay Icon

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:01 pm
by amyntoros
marcus wrote:Curse you for starting this thread, Kenny.
You said what I only dared to think. :) To drive home my frustration with this topic I did a search of the forum using the (incredibly obvious) keyword “homosexuality.” Disregarding the fifty or more threads that started out on a different topic and then detoured into the subject of Alexander’s sexuality, we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen threads specifically on this subject.

I think I’ll keep adding to this list (because I KNOW the subject will arise again) and post it every time a similar thread is started. If anyone thinks they have a unique perspective after pouring through the above, well … go for it. Until then …

Best regards,

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:11 am
by Taphoi
Hi Amyntoros,

I fear you may be doing a bit of a Queen Canute on this one!

If Alexander's history continues to have meaning and relevance, it is because we see in his life and behaviour a mirror for our modern struggles and controversies. In our own times, this is especially true of his personal relationships. And besides, you cannot have a rounded view of Alexander's personality without debating his private life. It was Tarn's fatal error to embrace the rather sterile portrait contrived by Arrian as the only determinant of truth. Would you too throw away the so-called Vulgate so as to create an icon of dispassionate purity and magisterial austerity?

I think that would be a rather boring Alexander - quite unlike the reality :!:

Best wishes,


Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:24 am
by athenas owl
Taphoi, what a wonderful line:
Would you too throw away the so-called Vulgate so as to create an icon of dispassionate purity and magisterial austerity?
To Karen, and anyone...I am very sympathetic to the idea that the gay community would have ATG as an icon. I hope my comment did not seemt disparaging.

I do believe that he had male lovers. The circumstantial evidence alone is enough for me. As someone once posted somewhere something to the effect.."Sure, you'd mourn your friend, but would you deify him?".

It shouldn't matter towards today's political/religious landscape, but it does. For myself, it is just part of a person and period I am very interested in. The thing about the sources..and here I do agree with Mary Renault, Hephaistion was not alive to tell his tale, and ATG did not survive long enough to see Hephaistion's legacy was written down. Ptolemy and other may very well have "pared to the bone" Hephaistion. Of course, they also might not have thought, any of them, remarking about whether ATG and Hephaistion had been lovers because it was not that remarkable in the first place.

I do love that wag Diogenes of Sinope, though... :lol:

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:18 am
by amyntoros
Taphoi wrote: And besides, you cannot have a rounded view of Alexander's personality without debating his private life. It was Tarn's fatal error to embrace the rather sterile portrait contrived by Arrian as the only determinant of truth. Would you too throw away the so-called Vulgate so as to create an icon of dispassionate purity and magisterial austerity?
Is there anything that I said that could lead you to believe that that I don’t have a “rounded” view of Alexander’s personality? Or that my opinion of Alexander is of an icon of dispassionate purity and magisterial austerity? Is there any member of this forum that believes that of me? If there is I would suggest that they’ve never actually read anything I’ve written. If you read my posts in previous threads you will see that I have interminably debated on Alexander's private life, often against people with obvious prejudice against the slightest suggestion of homoerotic inclination on Alexander's part. My frustration arises because of the repetitiveness of this argument – many of the same people proffer the same opinions time and time again. And I could probably copy and paste my own responses without ever having to compose a new sentence!

Talking about the sexuality threads in general – and I read through sixty-three of them today! - I do wonder whether some individuals even care what the responses are - sometimes they appear only to want to vent their own feelings. A couple of years ago I transcribed a 30 page Word file with every possible excerpt from the sources on Alexander’s relationships with both men and women, including any quote that could be vaguely interpreted as relating to Alexander’s sexuality. I freely offered on this forum (more than once) to send it as an email attachment, figuring that anyone truly inclined to assess the evidence for themselves would welcome the opportunity. Not a single Pothosian has taken me up on this offer except for those who were already engaged in personal correspondence with me. For the record, the offer still stands … (And, yes, Andrew, I know you don't need it because you've done your own research. :) )

Best regards,