It had been a rough haul from the simple beauty of Greek love to virile Roman barbarism, where Caesar alone may have been directly responsible for 1,200,000 deaths, youths who certainly had their whole lives before them, and Sulla lectured senators while on the Circus Maximus below 9,000 lads were screaming for pity while their throats were being slit. A bumpy road from the simple purity of Achilles and Patroclus, Alexander and Hephaestion, Apollo and Hyacinth. If we put aside painted Roman faces and plucked buttocks hairs; if we discount a stark naked emperor, Elagabalus, stalking well-endowed sailors; emperors castrating catamites by the hundreds, slaves bought with good teeth and thick members; if we overlook the Satyriconean horrors of greed, incest and pedophilia--there were nonetheless countless untold stories of simpler encounters, of first kisses and sighs, first vows and first bliss, of candle-lit meals between lovers, reflected in the eyes of he who literally takes your breath away, of a lad’s stirrings when he sees his friends naked, for the first time, on the playing field. Infinitely more numerous than Tiberius’ filth were the moments when one’s throat chocked up at the sight of a bared chest, at the view of navel down, of the boy in the baths who hides his engorging because he sees you and finds you beautiful. And the greatest happiness of all, returning home to a warm boy warming an open bed, a lad awaiting you, anonymous to the world, but the entire world to you. This, too, the Romans certainly knew--because this is eternal. Roman Homosexuality is the story of such horrors and such love.
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