LGBTQ+ Relationships in the Ancient World

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Joshua J. Mark
by
published on 14 February 2024

Evidence of what is now defined as LGBTQ+ relationships goes back to over 4,000 years of recorded history to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia but was not regarded as anything special since, generally speaking, gay relationships and those now known as “transgenders” were not seen as anything very remarkable. Same-sex relationships were simply “relationships” and nothing more.

This collection celebrates same-sex relationships of the ancient world through articles on the well-established history of human sexuality and gender orientation.

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Questions & Answers

What is the earliest evidence of a same-sex couple?

The earliest evidence of a same-sex couple comes from ancient Egypt c. 2400 BCE as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum are thought to have been lovers.

How were gay people regarded in the ancient world?

There was no distinction between "gay" and "straight" in the ancient world as the concept of "homosexuality" did not exist.

Was Alexander the Great gay?

Evidence strongly suggests that Alexander the Great and his friend Hephaistion were lovers.

Was Hadrian gay?

Emperor Hadrian was either gay or bisexual, depending on the sources.
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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