The Ancient Romans We’re All “Tops”.

9 Oct
Did you know that Romans had a vastly different conception of sexuality?
 
It was socially acceptable if you were a man, to be the active, penetrative member in sex with both men and women, but If you we’re the receptive partner, you were likened to a woman, and would suffer an accompanying loss of status. Although, the non-penetrative forms of sex may not have abided the same rules.
 
In their virile Roman bravado, our ancients loved to brag about their sexploits with graffiti carved into the walls: “I butt-fucked Nisus 10 times”
 
Scipio Aemelianus (a censor & consul) issued this attack on P. Sulpicius Galus for his effeminate, bottom-y behavior:
 
“For the kind of man who adorns himself daily in front of a mirror, wearing perfume; whose eyebrows are shaved off; who walks around with plucked beard and thighs; who when he was a young man reclined at banquets next to his lover, wearing a long-sleeved tunic; who is as fond of men as he is of wine: can anyone doubt that he has done what cinaedi (*bottoms) are in the habit of doing?”
 
If you were hairless, beardless and boyish (age 12 to 20) you were a boy, and could be penetrated freely by the master of the house. If you were a slave, or male prostitute, you had lower status in citizenship, and it wouldn’t be an affront to be “plowed”, because your masculinity doesn’t matter. (the “plowing a field” metaphor being employed by our ancients, as eagerly as we do today, from the play Truculentus by Plautus: “If you yearn to plow, it’s better to go to the ones who are ussually plowed: boys”)
 
Roman Homosexuality : Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity By Craig A. Williams (Assistant Professor of Classics Brooklyn College)
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