Title: (S)He-Men of Ancient Rome! Credit: Craig Young Features Sunday 24th April 2005 - 12:00pm1114300800 Article: 710 Rights
Cleopatra VII of Egypt wasn't the only queen known to the dying days of the Roman Republic, shortly before Augustus established the Roman Empire. According to Tom Holland's recent book about the Roman Republic, several luminaries of the Roman Republic either consorted with drag queens, donned wigs, mascara and skirts themselves, or did 'it' with males of equal social status. Lucius Cornelius Sulla was a consul and reknowned party animal with the common touch. He had a warm and affectionate relationship with Metrobius, an elderly drag queen, who reciprocated his courtly devotion toward the male matron in question. Metrobius even went into exile with Sulla when the machinations of the Republic took one of their frequent downward turns, along with his political ambitions. Julius Caesar went one better, though. He embarked on his legendary diplomatic and military career in Bithynia, where this fashionable figure caught the eye of Nicomedes, King of Bithynia. This delighted both Caesar's political opponents, and his earthy, ribald troops, who didn't seem to mind that Julius and Nicomedes were at it, or even that Caesar reportedly did drag. Rome's last dictator wasn't the only one interested in women's clothing, other men and a military career. His friend Mark Anthony may have been built like the proverbial brick ablutionary convenience, but he also enjoyed doing drag, and bedded Curio, another Roman consul, on occassion. Oddly enough, Caesar and Anthony's respective military subordinates did think it 'effeminate' when both of them took up with Cleopatra VII, for at least Nicomedes and Curio were rowdy and masculine types. Unlike the Classical Greeks, they didn't seem to mind if Caesar and Anthony were bottoms, as long as they were butch bottoms. When the Roman Republic eventually did fall off its constitutional pedestal, was it actually pushed off high heels...? Recommended Reading: Tom Holland: Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic: Little and Brown: London: 2003. Craig Young - 24th April 2005    
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