Julius Caesar is credited as being a dictator, revolutionary, Roman general, statesman and great writer of prose. He lived from 100 to 44 B.C. and helped to transform the Roman republic into an empire. Reformation of the Roman government and society, in addition to the transitional use and creation of the Julian calendar, Caesar played a significant role in the development of ancient civilization.
However, Caesar’s reputation does not only reflect his abilities as a great Roman citizen. He is also rumored to have been a bisexual and to have traded sexual favors with others in exchange for political alliances, resources and other items of necessity during his time as a soldier and politician. His actions resemble today’s escort / client relationships, in both passive and active roles. It was said that he was, “Every woman’s husband, every man’s wife.”
Although Roman attitudes were very accepting of homosexual relationships between men, rumors of Caesar’s liaisons were used against him by his enemies, causing Caesar to deny each and every account rumored to be true. However, accurate accounts nearly guarantee that Caesar engaged in at least one mutually beneficial homosexual relationship during his lifetime.
It was very common during Caesar’s time for young men to be partnered up with older, more experienced men of the republic. The young men were mentored by the older men and were often recruited for their beauty. Modern relationships like this usually exist between male escorts and their clients.
As a young man, Caesar trekked to Bithynia as an ambassador sent on a mission to secure the assistance of King Nicomedes IV’s fleet of ships in a war against Roman enemies. Caesar resorted to providing sexual favors to Nicomedes in order to obtain the support the Roman army needed, according to rumors and factual accounts of the time. The lengthy time he spent visiting Nicomedes did nothing to help quash the rumors, once they began. While in the king’s court, he provided services of a male escort to the king, including those of the sexual nature. Caesar’s enemies attempted to use this against him later in life, but their accusations of his previous lifestyle did little to harm his political aspirations and successes. Despite their failure, rumors continued to arise, along with insults like being called the “Queen of Bithynia”.
After his experiences in Asia with King Nicomedes IV, Caesar returned to Rome and became an exceptional orator. Information from the time indicates that his high-pitched voice and large gestures made his oratories effective and helped him to prosecute former governors notorious for extortion and corruption. His moral code and good head for business guaranteed him success.
Caesar was also very victorious on the battlefield, culminating in the Gallic defeat, which helped to build the Roman Empire. However, due to recruiting young boys to escort him to battle and the previous rumors relating to Nicodemus, many of his soldiers chanted,
Caesar may have conquered the Gauls,
But Nicodemus conquered Caesar!
Catullus further plagued Caesar with poems factualizing his homosexual relations with Mamurra, an engineer. Catullus accused Caesar of accepting sexual favors in exchange for awarding Mamurra with social promotion.
While Caesar is credited with helping to build the Roman empire, implementing the use of the Julian calendar, promoting science, challenging other politicians and officials to perform their roles according to a higher moral and ethical code, he was consistently taunted with previous indiscretions with men.