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social sciences

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Caesar, Julius (ca. 100-44 B.C.E.)  
page: 1  2  

After other military campaigns, Caesar finally returned to Rome where he had been named dictator. He embarked on an ambitious scheme of public works, vastly extended citizenship, and began to reorganize the government. He was extremely generous in forgiving his enemies, who, fearing that he would seize power for himself and overthrow the Republic, assassinated him on the Ides of March of 44 B.C.E.

References to His Same-Sex Sexual Relationships

Although Caesar married three times and had numerous adulterous relationships with women, he never denied or repudiated his relationship with Nicomedes. He even intervened on his behalf in the Senate, and suffered a rebuke by Cicero who alluded to their affair (Cicero would also write of it in several letters).

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Caesar was addressed publicly as "Queen" or as "woman" on numerous occasions. He only once answered, in a surprising way, by saying that Queen Semiramis and the Amazons had once ruled large kingdoms. His enemies circulated many other anecdotes and satirical verses, the better known of which is Curio the Elder's statement that Caesar was "Every wife's husband and every husband's wife." Even his faithful soldiers sang ribald songs about Caesar and Nicomedes during the celebration of his Gallic triumph.

Two other accusations of homosexuality exist. The first was by the poet Catullus, whose father was a friend of Caesar's. He accused him of being a cinaedus or passive homosexual and implied a relationship with his adjutant Mamurra (in poems 29 and 57). After an apology, Caesar forgave the blemish it would bring to his name and invited the poet to dinner on the very same day.

The other, less believable accusation, is that his favorite nephew, Octavius, his heir who would later rule under the name of Augustus, had been adopted on condition that he submit to a sexual relationship.

However little or large a part same-sex love actually played in Caesar's life, his name would always be added to lists of famous homosexuals. Famous homosexual generals, such as the mignons of the court of Henry III, the Prince de Condé, Prince Eugene, and Frederick the Great, would often be compared to Caesar to excuse or to mock their proclivities. Eighteenth-century erotica, such as the Monumens de la vie privée des douze Césars (1780), would even provide illustrations of Julius Caesar's homosexual adventures.

Louis Godbout

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social sciences >> Overview:  Greece: Ancient

The institution of pederasty (paiderastia) was a conspicuous feature of ancient Greek public and private life, but other forms of male-male sexual relations flourished in the Greco-Roman cosmopolis of the second and third centuries C.E.

social sciences >> Overview:  Outing

First used by homophobes and then by glbtq activists, outing is the public revelation of a person's sexuality without the consent of that person.

social sciences >> Overview:  Rome: Ancient

Ancient Rome's attitude toward same-sex sexual activity was remarkably various, with role, age, and status as important as gender in the regulation of sexual relations.

social sciences >> Alexander the Great

One of the most fascinating men of all times, Alexander the Great was not only a great soldier and conqueror, he was also renowned for his love of Hephaestion.

literature >> Catullus

The Roman poet Catullus incorporated homoerotic themes in his verse, both reflecting the passionate character of same-sex friendships and describing several of his own homosexual adventures.

social sciences >> Frederick the Great

The homosexuality of Frederick the Great of Prussia was an open secret during his reign, yet some historians have attempted to deny it or to diminish its significance.


Meier, Christian. Caesar. New York: BasicBooks/HarperCollins, 1995.

Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989.

Plutarch. The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. New York: Modern Library, 1957.


    Citation Information
    Author: Godbout, Louis  
    Entry Title: Caesar, Julius  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated February 26, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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