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Biography of Heliogábalo, first transsexual of the history and Roman emperor

Biography of Heliogábalo, first transsexual of the history and Roman emperor

April 2, 2024

They say that history tends to hide the essence of truth, but only if it is sought. That details are obviated, secrets are kept and, often, reality is made up by giving it an interested touch. The Roman Empire has always been shown to us as a period of great warriors, excellent thinkers and parents of modern politics. However, Heliogábalo is an exceptionality that deserves some lines .

And it is that the Emperor Heliogábalo is the great unknown, many times separated Greco-Roman books for the supposed need to preserve "the historic honor of the founders of the West." It turns out that this young man was anything but normal and, specifically, is especially offensive to Christian moralism that has always tried to link to European values.

It is not that he was the typical governor inordinate with his public appearances or that he enjoyed all the lovers that his privileged status granted him. Heliogábalo was a character outside of his time, in part, because he was the first transsexual in the history of which there is evidence , in addition to a danger for people close to him, for other reasons.

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Who was Heliogábalo?

Many history books have tried to forgive the misdeeds of the most controversial politicians, enlarging their figure as if it were a Hollywood movie, in order to create a romantic tale about the epic of the ancestors of certain nations. In other cases, however, embellishing a biography is too difficult , so it is decided to ignore those figures that, in spite of making merits to be remembered, do not fit with the "official" story.

Some of the most famous caesars of Rome such as Nero, Commodus, Caligula or Galba, were directly responsible for the fall of what was one of the greatest empires in all of history. To all these names there is one that magically disappears from all the texts we know or have read diagonally about the Roman Empire, perhaps, because it is considered one of the worst of its kind by historians, at least not so long ago .

Heliogábalo, Elagabalus in Latin, was born in the city of Emesa, in the Roman province of Siria in 203, and died assassinated in Rome in the year 222 having just left his adolescence. He was a Roman emperor with an ephemeral mandate, since he reigned only from 218 until the date of his death, a total of four years. It was his grandmother Julia Mesa who, with his political influences, plotted a plot against the current emperor, Marco Opelio Macrino, to raise his grandson Heliogábalo.

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Heliogábalo, the first transsexual in history

The convergence among the expert historians in Ancient Rome is unanimous. "It was one of the worst of its kind," say those who have published about him. Some of the most recognized authors such as Elio Lampridio or Barthold Georg, they came to apologize for describing in detail some actions of Heliogábalo .

As emperor, Heliogabalus was a time bomb. Having ascended to power at fourteen, his term as emperor was a kind of constant festival of eroticism. It is said that he practiced prostitution, hired a regiment of prostitutes and, most importantly, he wanted to surgically change his sex . However, the level of technological development of the time did not allow it, no matter how much he insisted on the doctors.

Of course, the fact that from a very young age Heliogábalo wanted to have the body of a woman, as well as his attraction to men, has earned him the rejection of a good part of historians throughout the centuries. However, today, in a context in which homophobia is rapidly retreating in many Western countries, there are still many reasons to consider Heliogábalo a chaos and a public danger.

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Murder murders and authoritarianism in Rome

From a very young age, Heliogábalo became the pontiff of the god El Gabal of his city Emesa (Homs today, Syria), an ancient deity of the time, god of the Sun. The curiosity of this god is that it was carved into a stone in the shape of a penis . It was quite a declaration of intentions when, shortly after landing in Rome, he legislated the obligatory adoration of the phallic statue in an area where the absence of faithful of that religion was total.

The most serious thing was not the object to be worshiped in itself, but rather in the rituals as an offering. Senators and praetorians had to attend these affronts, without objection . Scenes that were anything but conventional, especially for the time: the emperor dressed in feminine attire and with the pectoral in the air, makeup and feminine attitude. But this was the least of it.

On the other hand, Heliogábalo killed several people as a consequence of his need to constantly have fun. When I organized parties and orgies, He used to make such a shower of petals fall on his guests that some were buried and they were suffocating.

The regiment of sex

The behavior of the young emperor was as antisocial as erratic and marked by the strangest ways to get out of boredom at the expense of the welfare of others. It constituted an entire paramilitary group to search, track and recruit males with the largest penis of the Roman domains. I wanted the best-equipped men for their personal enjoyment.

He met Hierocles, a slave of Smyrna, and Zotico, a burly Greek athlete more famous for his sexual gifts than for his sporting achievements. He married both and, far from hiding, came to publicly acknowledge their happiness with these men for everyone to know, attitudes that began to mosquito their senators and their own praetorian guard. He boasted in the plenary sessions of the physical consequences that his lover left him when they practiced sadomasochistic sex (imagining the faces of the assistants is frankly fun).

The attitude of this young man, whose empire depended on him, did not remain mere sexual attitudes at the private level. In the same Roman capital he frequented the darkest tuburios of the whole city , professionally performing prostitution, built public restrooms to expose the virile virtues of citizens and established circus shows in the imperial palace itself.

All this exceptionality and socio-political turmoil, ended up by those who helped him to rise to power in a corrupt manner through the plot, did the same with Heliogabalus, assassinating him.

Did Heliogabal have any mental imbalance?

Do not confuse under any circumstances the gender identity or sexual orientation of this grotesque emperor with his tendency to attack the welfare of others. It is very relevant identify the context in which Heliogábalo was named leader of the Roman Empire , at an age of 14, when you are still thinking about playing ball with friends.

The adolescent age, that stage of life where one begins to outline their personality, tastes and sexual orientation, was disturbed by the grandiose delusions of grandeur, by the excess of power that supposes to be Emperor of Rome and by the nature perverse of the policy of by that then, caused an emotional imbalance in Heliogábalo. Everything indicates that Heliogábalo did present mental disorders, although this is not related to the fact of being transsexual or because of being attracted to men.

Elagabalus | Wikipedia audio article (April 2024).

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