Dr. Flamingo Jones And The Queen Of Rome
I’m very happy to present today’s Guest Slap. The author, Dr. Flamingo Jones, is a world-renowned archaeologist and researcher at the University of Oxbridgeshire. While I know little about his reclusive past and current whereabouts, he has kindly agreed to share with us, occasionally, his knowledge, discoveries, and insights.
Salutations ladies, gentlemen, and those who do not wish to confine yourselves to such limiting terminology. Today, I, Dr. Flamingo Jones, will discuss a controversy surrounding a famous historical leader that has been hotly debated amongst many of my colleagues in the field of Queer Archaeology.
Julius CÃ¦sar, one of the ancient world’s most powerful figures, is best known for expanding the power of Rome and consolidating that power for himself by transitioning Rome from a republic to a dictatorship. In fact, the word “CÃ¦sar” carried on after his assassination to become a synonym for “emperor.”
There is also evidence suggesting that he may have been gay.
In 80BC, when Julius CÃ¦sar was just 20 years old, he was assigned as the ambassador to Nicomedes IV, the king of the nearby land of Bithynia (near modern Istanbul). He was sent to convince Nicomedes to use the resources of Bithynia to build a fleet for Rome—a brief task—but spent such a long time there that rumors began to surface that CÃ¦sar may have been interested in more than just Nicomedes’ ships.
There are many pieces of evidence that CÃ¦sar had been involved in a sexual relationship with Nicomedes. Bithynians referred to CÃ¦sar as “the queen’s rival,” and “the inner partner of the royal couch.” One day, while CÃ¦sar was lecturing the Roman senate on the country’s obligations to Nicomedes, Cicero Marcus Tullius interrupted: “No more of that, pray, for it is well known what he gave you, and what you gave him in turn.” Later in his career when Julius CÃ¦sar was responsible for subduing Gaul (modern-day France), CÃ¦sar’s own soldiers chanted a victory song that poked fun at him, including lines like “CÃ¦sar may have conquered the Gauls, but Nicomedes conquered CÃ¦sar.”
When Nicomedes died in 74BC, he actually bequeathed his entire kingdom of Bithynia to Rome. All of this resulted in Julius CÃ¦sar being nicknamed as “The Queen of Bithynia,” but it wasn’t the only time CÃ¦sar was accused of homosexuality. There is a weaker suggestion in a couple of poems by Callus, one of CÃ¦sar’s political rivals, in which he claims that Julius CÃ¦sar had a homosexual relationship with Mammus, an equestrian who benefitted from great wealth and patronage from CÃ¦sar.
I must point out that in ancient Rome, Julius CÃ¦sar made many enemies, and one popular form of character assassination was to create rumors that described someone as living an old-fashioned, Helenistic lifestyle full of luxury and homosexuality—that is, those naughty, naughty Greeks. So, it is still unclear as to whether these rumors were based on Julius CÃ¦sar’s real relationships, or just false political attacks. But the large amount of evidence in the case of CÃ¦sar and Nicomedes certainly implies that this emperor may have been a little bit of a queen too.