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Medieval M/M history...

Taking a break from Promises and Lies bombardment to make some sense of my notes on homosexual history in the Middle Ages. I've taken criticism for "ignoring" it and allowing my "made up" king Christopher to live openly with his woodsman Dafydd. Of course my reason for this, which I guess I never made clear, was that I wanted to write a classic historical romance novel only with men instead of a man and a woman. I guess the criticism comes in that I took liberties with history and depicted that Henry III gave Christopher permission to handfast with Dafydd. Upon further research I have discovered that Henry would likely have never given this permission because he was "saintly and docile" and "subservient to the Pope"...but it's too late to change any of that now.

This is some research I've just done using Gay Life and Culture, A World History edited by Robert Aldrich.

Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) divided unnatural sex into four categories. From lowest to highest were:

  • sex with prostitutes
  • adultery
  • incest
  • unnatural acts

This highest level of unnatural sex was further dvided into categories:

  • self satisfaction
  • zoophilia (beastiality)
  • oral and anal intercourse
  • sex between two men

These sex acts were all considered unnatural due to the fact that they did not lead directly to reproduction. In the Middle Ages homosexuals were grouped with all instances where the sex did not lead directly to reproduction, including all things listed above and contraception and abortion.

The 13th Century was when the term sodomite was first used.

Pope Gregory IX instituted the Papal Inquisition. From what I read about this Inquisition it was quite nasty. Everything was done in private, with the accused not being given any chance at defending himself, or even having anyone defend him. Usually it lead to castration and death by burning.

According to the book, there are few records of the persecution of homosexuals during this time, meaning when it was recorded it was a terse one line as if historians purposely ignored it. In fact, it seems like there isn't a really accurate picture of what happened at all.

Edward II, a king of England, was reputed to be gay, but there is little evidence of it. He was married, a political move, but he raised the social status of three different common men he was reputed to be sexually involved with. He was criticized for ennobling and providing material enrichment to men of the lower ranks. This is something I depicted Christopher doing with Dafydd.

In The King's Heart I will make reference to some of this, but likely not all of it.