Was Alexander the Great homosexual? Documentary revives the debate


In the annals of history, few names resonate as majestically as that of Alexander the Great. His life is an epic of conquests, a story of audacity and vision that transcends generations. Now, Netflix gives us “Alexander the Great: The creation of a god“, a documentary series that delves into the depths of the soul of this colossus of antiquity. The documentary does not limit itself to narrating his military campaigns or his role in the expansion of the Macedonian Empire. It treads delicate ground by exploring an oft-debated aspect of Alejandro’s life: his sexuality.

Was Alexander the Great homosexual1

Was Alexander the Great homosexual? Through a story that interweaves the voices of historians and the drama of the reenactment, a narrative emerges that attempts to unravel the man behind the myth. To understand Alexander the Great, we must first delve into the depths of the society in which he was formed and emerged as a leader. Sexual practices in ancient Greece broke the molds that we could consider normative today.

“Homosexuality” in the times of Alexander the Great.

Intimacy between men was not a rarity, and even less so if it was intertwined with power dynamics, whether hierarchical, generational or economic. In addition, It was common for these homosexual relationships to coexist with heterosexual relationships, with marriages and procreation playing their roles in social and political life. Ancient myths even portrayed gods in homoaffective romances with mortals, reflecting a reality where the boundaries between friendship and love were fluid.

The controversies regarding Alejandro’s love relationships are not new. Since time immemorial, historians and laymen have focused on the possible nuances of his affections. Recently, Twitter was abuzz with heated debates over Netflix’s depiction of Alejandro as gay. However, the truth is that the series did not invent anything; Many scholars have argued for centuries about Alexander’s possible homoaffective relationships.

Despite marrying three times and procreating, stories from his time indicate a certain aversion towards carnal pleasures with women. Even Quintus Curtius Rufus, a prominent Roman historian, mentioned that Alexander’s mother was concerned that he would not perpetuate his lineage.

Hephaestion and Alexander the Great.

It is in this context that figures such as Hephaestion and Ptolemy, Alexander’s most intimate friends, emerge. Of all Alexander’s possible romances, the one he shared with Hephaestion captures attention with singular force.. Hephaestion, of Macedonian aristocratic lineage and also a student of the famous Aristotle, established a very close friendship with Alexander in his youth, training under the philosopher’s tutelage.

Hephaestion and Alexander the GreatHephaestion and Alexander the Great

Their friendship was woven not only from the classroom but also from an emotional connection that led them to share experiences and secrets to the battlefields. The parallels with the story of Achilles and Patroclus, heroes of the Trojan War with a deep bond widely interpreted as romantic, exemplify the complicity and strength of the bond between Alexander and Hephaestion. The mourning that Alexander expressed for the death of Hephaestion was monumental, elevating the relationship to a scale that broke with the everyday and humanized it in an extraordinary way.

Historian Robin Lane Fox suggests that Alexander and Hephaestion were possibly lovers, echoing the words of the Cynic philosophers who claimed that Alexander’s only defeat occurred between the thighs of Hephaestion. After the premature death of Hephaestion, Alexander he submerged in deep mourning, bearing witness to a vivid portrait of despair and devotion.

He lost his appetite during this time and at one point argued that Hephaestion He would be considered a divinity. In fact, his relationship with Hephaestion not only shaped his destiny, but may also have contributed to his mental and physical health in his final days.

A time with different customs.

However, it is essential to recognize the limitations of our historical understanding. Contemporary concepts of sexuality do not apply to the ancient world, where same-sex relationships were not labeled as they are today. As Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones stated, The Greeks didn’t have a word for homosexuality.. They were just sexual beings.

Therefore, categorically stating Alejandro’s sexual orientation would be an anachronism. He was not homosexual or bisexual in the modern sense, but it is undeniable that his relationships with other men transcended the limits of friendship. His story is a complex tapestry of passions and bonds, a journey that challenges us to rethink our own notions of love and friendship.

The broken heart of the emperor.

Continuing to explore Alexander’s life and legacy, it is essential to delve into the mysteries surrounding his death. At 32 years old, this colossus of antiquity faced his own mortality. The exact circumstances of his death remain shrouded in mystery, fueling speculation and theories that resonate through the centuries.

broken heart of the emperorbroken heart of the emperor

Some point to diseases such as typhoid fever or malaria, while others suggest rarer conditions, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The latter, an autoimmune disease that affects the nerves, could explain the symptoms observed in his last days, such as muscle weakness and paralysis. The hypothesis that Alexander would have entered a coma before his death, embalmed but still conscious, adds an additional layer of mystery to his ending.

However, it is impossible to separate Alexander’s death from his deep connection to Hephaestion. The loss of your friend and lover may have set off an emotional spiral that, in turn, impacted your physical health.. The connection between mental and physical state is well documented in the history of medicine, and it would not be surprising if prolonged mourning for Hephaestion contributed to Alexander’s decline.

As we delve into Alejandro’s life, we are confronted with the complexity of his humanity. We cannot reduce it to simple labels or categories. He was a man of intense passions and deep relationships, whose legacy resonates to this day. In this journey beyond conquest, we are challenged to look beyond military exploits and delve into the soul of a leader whose impact resonates thousands of years later.

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