LGBT themes in classical mythology

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Greco-Roman mythology features male homosexuality in many of the constituent myths. In addition, there are instances of cross-dressing, and of androgyny which in post-1990s gender terminology has been grouped[according to whom?] under the acronym LGBT.

These myths have been described as being crucially influential on Western LGBT literature, with the original myths being constantly re-published and re-written, and the relationships and characters serving as icons.[1] In comparison, lesbianism is rarely found in classical myths.[2]

Dionysus, a god gestated in the thigh of his father Zeus, after his mother died from being overwhelmed by Zeus's true form, has been dubbed "a patron god of hermaphrodites and transvestites" by Roberto C. Ferrari in the 2002 Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture.[3] Other gods are sometimes considered patrons of homosexual love between males, such as the love goddess Aphrodite and gods in her retinue, such as the Erotes: Eros, Himeros and Pothos.[4][5] Eros is also part of a trinity of gods that played roles in homoerotic relationships, along with Heracles and Hermes, who bestowed qualities of Beauty (and Loyalty), strength, and eloquence, respectively, onto male lovers.[6] In the poetry of Sappho, Aphrodite is identified as the patron of lesbians.[4] Aphroditus was an androgynous Aphrodite from Cyprus, in later mythology became known as Hermaphroditus the son of Hermes and Aphrodite.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pequigney, Joseph (2002). "Classical Mythology". p. 1. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ Compton, p. 97, "Rome and Greece: Lesbianism"
  3. ^ Ferrari, Roberto C. (September 19, 2002). "Subjects in the Visual Arts: Dionysus". Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Conner & Sparks (1998), p. 64, "Aphrodite"
  5. ^ Conner & Sparks (1998), p. 133, "Erotes"
  6. ^ Conner & Sparks (1998), p. 132, "Eros"
  7. ^ a b Pequigney (2002), p.5
  8. ^ Penczak (2003), p. 17
  9. ^ Conon, 33
  10. ^ a b c Pequigney (2002), p.2
  11. ^ Virgil, Aeneid, 391-394
  12. ^ a b c d Pequigney (2002), p.4
  13. ^ a b c Pequigney (2002), p.3
  14. ^ The seduction of the Mediterranean: writing, art, and homosexual fantasy - Page 231 by Robert Aldrich
  15. ^ Madness unchained By Lee Fratantuono; p.139
  16. ^ Classical mythology By Helen Morales; p.93
  17. ^ Aelian, On Animals, 14. 28
  18. ^ Sotades By Herbert Hoffmann, p.16
  19. ^ The Vatican Mythographers By Ronald E. Pepin; p.17
  20. ^ Downing, p.198