Most people are aware that homosexuality as a cultural concept has fallen far from its place in antiquity. Even a century ago, certain communities received homosexuality with more acceptance than modern-day Americans often do.

Everyone knows about the homosexual proclivities of ancient Greece, but far fewer consider the leaders that were probably included in this and what that meant in the territories they conquered. Known to most as one of the Ancient world’s greatest conquerors, it is also likely that Alexander the Great was also the ancient world’s most widely traveled homosexual. As his campaign left Macedonia, Alexander took with him his classmate, confidant, and second-in-command Hephaestion, with whom he shared a deep and abiding affection. It is unknown whether the two were lovers or not, but at a shrine to the heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Hephaestion is said to have likened his love for Alexander to that Patroclus had for Achilles. When Hephaestion died, Alexander mourned him for days and finally sent a note to a group of priests who had declared Alexander divinity, and Hephaestion was made into a divinely inspired hero.

Typically, the early 1900s are considered a straitlaced, straight-faced period. Especially in Germany, where the nation focused on industrial advancement and culture was heavily influenced by religion and community status. But before the rise of the Nazi Party and their subsequent mistreatment at its hands, homosexuals in 1900s Germany were actually relatively well-received. They had bars and even planned social events to relax (as much as anyone in Germany during the 1900s can be said to relax). A prominent gay politician made great strides in their acceptance in the face of the (generally) inflexible intolerance’s of the Lutheran and Catholic influences on the area.

One hundred years saw all a lot of social reforms roll back again, though recent advancement has been made in America with the pinch-hitting help of Ken Mehlman. The Gay Rights movement is succeeding again, in our time. It has been done before, after all.

Be Sociable, Share!