Next: “Meet the Trans Romans” - talk by Cheryl Morgan

(Four Hugos quietly visible behind CM. Good for her.)

trans Romans talk 

“Content warning: Romans”

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trans Romans talk 

Genucius: 77BCE court case - denying them a legacy because they were a gallus and therefore “neither man nor woman”. (Technically, recognition for non-binary gender in Roman law.)

trans Romans talk, castration 

A castration clamp decorated with the heads of gods has been found in the Thames - plausible to suggest it was for a religious purpose

trans Romans talk 

Claudius formally recognised the rites of Attis. March 24th was the day for creating galli, and a public holiday

trans Romans talk, castration 

Tombstones show some galli were rich, but we understand most were mendicant beggars.

trans Romans talk 

Pliny the Elder writes of known cases of a young woman turned into a boy at puberty. Recognisable as 5a- Reductase deficiency - an intersex condition

trans Romans talk 

(Still not convinced by genderfluid pansexual Elagabalus - the closer the sources are to his time, the less genderfluid he gets.)

trans Romans talk 

Suetonius uses “transfigurare” in his story of Nero having a beautiful youth transformed into his wife, Sabina. Tends to be represented as tragic cruelty - but she was a loyal empress and courted by Nero’s succcessors. Reasonable to read her as a trans empress.

trans Romans talk 

Galluenus - another emperor accused of effeminacy, but that’s not uncommon. He appears on an issue of coin as Demeter, but that’s not unknown either. Wore a full beard all his life; probably not trans

trans Romans talk 

Very little evidence of trans men - because patriarchy. Lucian’s “The Courtesans” has a story of a woman from lesbos living as a man with a wife, but this is satire

trans Romans talk 

Phlegon of Tralles - a scribe in the service of Hadrian - wrote “The Book of Marvels”. Men who give birth is a category: two examples. One is a a kinaidos - effeminate man, and a common insult - in Egypt. And there’s a document from Ptolemaic Egypt that mentions kinaidoi as entertainers. So in this case, plausibly a trans man?

trans Romans talk 

Byzantine Monasteries had many eunuchs - easy for a trans man to join. Three Byzantine saints were discovered to be women on their deaths

trans Romans talk, Q&A 

Hard to find trans histories because Roman and, until very recently, modern historians were all cis men. Have to read through a trans lens.

trans Romans talk, Q&A 

Any court cases with specific named galli? Only the one, sadly.

trans Romans talk, Q&A 

Any records of afab people disguising themselves as men that we might now interpret as trans men? Not really. Female gladiators, but they were advertised as such.

trans Romans talk, Q&A 

Complex question about mapping modern labels onto Roman ideas of gender and sexuality. CM: look for continuous social transition as a distinguishing factor

trans Romans talk, Q&A 

Anything to suggest trans masculine identities for female gladiators? Not really. They’re consistently gendered as women, and there’s less difficulty about women warriors in the classical world

trans Romans talk, Q&A 

One recent academic book: “Exploring Gender Diversity in the Ancient World”

edinburghuniversitypress.com/b

trans Romans talk, castration 

@ghost_bird

Attis does look a lot like Jesus... uh, not sure where i was going with that.

trans Romans talk, castration 

@ghost_bird Did the rich ones have tech jobs and throw a lot of money and the beggars so they could afford rent, medical costs, and moving expenses?

trans Romans talk, castration 

@klara Apparently the mendicants had crowds of followers and told fortunes, so I guess it was more like being an Instagram tarot reader

trans Romans talk, castration 

@ghost_bird Did they yell at each other about which plebeian secessions had been good and which other galli were bad because they were friends with someone who was friends with someone who had a wrong opinion on this?

trans Romans talk 

@ghost_bird this confused me until I looked it up because in Scotland ‘gallus’ describes someone who’s bold

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