13 Famous Gay Couples in Ancient History

8. Bassianus and Hierocles

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Bassianus, also known as Elagabalus, was a Roman emperor who ruled the state for several years. He was married to a man called Hierocles. The latter was a charioteer in the army of Bassianus. But before becoming a charioteer, Hierocles was a slave. Bassianus considered Hierocles as his husband and went on to say, “[I am] delighted to be called the mistress, the wife, the queen of Hierocles.”

9. Nero and Sporus

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Nero was a famous Roman emperor who ruled from 54-68 AD. He was the last emperor from the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Sporus was a young boy. Nero developed a liking for Sporus and had him castrated to transform into a woman so that he could marry him, which he eventually did. All the usual formalities of a marriage settlement were observed. These included the rose-colored nuptial veil. Noblemen and aristocrats attended the wedding. After the ceremony, Nero took Sporus to his house and treated him like his wife, making them one of the most prominent couples in gay history.

10. Orestes and Pylades

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While many stories about gay couples are often mythical and variable, there are many that seem real enough. The story of Orestes and Pylades is one of them. They were, in fact, one of the better known gay couples in the history of homosexuality. Orestes was born to Agamemmon, the King of Argos or Mycenae, and Clytemnestra. Agamemmon was murdered by the adulterous Clytemnestra and her lover. She in turn was murdered by Orestes, when Clytemnestra objected to his homosexual relationship with Pylades, son of King Strophius of Phocis and of Anaxibia.

11. Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

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According to some historians, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were the first instance of homosexuality in ancient Egypt. They were royal servants and the nature of their relationship is based on the depiction of two men standing nose to nose and embracing each other. Niankhkhnum had a wife, depicted in a banquet scene, but was almost entirely erased later. Rather Khnumhotep occupied the position usually reserved for a wife. Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were officially “Overseers of the Manicurists of the Palace of the King.”

12. Euryalus and Nisus

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Euryalus and Nisus were lovers and served under Aeneas and depicted in Virgil’s Aeneid. Both men were fierce warriors. Virgil drew conventions of erotic poetry to suggest the romantic relationship between the two men. But their relationship ended in tragedy. In one of their military campaigns Euryalus acquired a prized Rutulian helmet that attracts attention, and the two died together and were buried in the same tomb. Virgil penned their death as a loss of exceptional valour and loyalty. The lovers also appear in book 5 of Aeneid during a funeral game where Virgil writes about their public display of affection.

Also Read: 15 Weird Facts about Sex in Ancient World

13. Hercules and Iolaus

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Considered an alpha-male for centuries, Hercules was allegedly involved in a homosexual relationship with Iolaus of Thebes, who incidentally was his nephew. Some classical historians described them among the most prominent gay couples in ancient Greece. The two used to visit a temple where gay couples used to pray and even get married. But whether the two actually got married is not clear from ancient accounts.