Saturday, 14 May 2005

Julius Caesar's Bisexuality

"Every woman's husband and every man's wife". Thus is Julius Caesar characterized by Curio, according to Suetonius.

Julius Caesar was a man of great intensity. He openly enjoyed the "company" of both men and women and there were many scandals to go with this. He never hesitated to "borrow" other noblemen's wives and also "lend" his own wife Pompeia. He was notorious for this and a typical ditty of the time, after his triumph in Gaul, says:

"Look to your wives, ye citizens, a lecher bald we bring,
In Gaul adultery cost thee gold, here 'tis but borrowing."

Yes, he was bald and although this did not deter him from his conquests, it was a source of constant bother to him as he was often ridiculed for his baldness, by his enemies. Actually, with all the "borrowing" he got up to no-wonder he made so many enemies. Amongst the ladies he "borrowed" were Postumia, the wife of Servius Sulipcius, Lollia, the wife of Aulus Gabinius, Tertulla, the wife of Marcus Crassus and Mucia, the wife of Pompey, to name but a few.
He married a woman he did not love for the sole purpose of furthering his career. The woman who was closest to him was a certain Servilia, the mother of Marcus Brutus. He spent lavishly on her; he once bought her a pearl which cost him six milion sesterces, which was a great deal of money. It is said that he even had a fling with Servilia's daughter Tertia.

Amongst his male lovers, the most well known was Nimomedes of Bithynia, who inspired the following ditty:

"Whatever Bithynia and her lord possesed
Her lord who Caesar in his lust caressed"


Anonymous said...

Meh; I think a lot of what get termed sexual slurs on Caeser stem from jealousy, and perhaps a certain amount of sour grapes.

Here was a man who knew how to use sex as a political tool (no pun intended...). He used it to advance his aims, and did so to such a degree that the supposedly staid (and, I suspect, somewhat hypocritical) Romans were shocked by his brazenness. As such, they took the proverbial out of him for it. Yet when all is said and done, his use of sex gained him more power. So he had the last laugh (or he would've done had he not been stabbed to death for amassing too much power...)

Anna said...

Personally I tend to think there is nothing wrong with being bisexual.

Julius Caesar was also an extremely clever person and his gaining power was more to do with that than his sexuality.


Anonymous said...

Oh God yeah, absolutely. But part of his being so clever was that he realised what all the tools at his disposal were, and he used 'em.

This principle can be seen today by Blair's willingness to take a shot in the mouth from Bush...

Anna said...

I had no idea Mr. Blair was taking anything of Mr. Bush's in his mouth, but I really wouldn't be suprised I suppose...


Anonymous said...

Well, whatever it is it still hasn't wiped the stupid grin off his face.

Prufrock said...

"Amongst his male lovers..." implies he had a few. Who else was there?

Caesar may have been bisexual but it's just as likely (probably more so, in fact) that the Nicomedes jibe was just that - a jibe.