Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"Marcus Aurelius In Love": BOOK REVIEW

Ancient Roman history and it's many personalities have really captured the imagination of writers as of late. There's been the HBO/BBC series featuring an all-star cast. Recently the news that actor Daniel Craig will be playing bisexual Roman Emperor Hadrian in director John Boorman's adaption of the Marguerite Yourcenar novel Memoirs of Hadrian, caught my attention. Now comes a new book about another bisexual Roman Emperor entitled, Marcus Aurelius In Love. Below is an excerpt of a review by Jim Bartley. He says that the book contains "Imperial love letters [that] are steamy and unique." I can't wait to read the book, as I am fascinated by historical "gay" couples.

Jim Bartley writes:
Round about the year 140CE, future Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was an almost twentysomething living with his uncle Titus at Rome's premier address, the emperor Hadrian's palace. Titus decided that young Marcus needed a fatherly tutor to help groom him for his imperial future. Marcus Cornelius Fronto was brought in. It was the beginning of a steamy and fascinating courtship, recorded in letters the two exchanged for at least four years.

The very first letter... In scholarly language Fronto writes of beauty as higher than love, then makes it personal with a revealing declaration: "For my part you will be call'd a Beauty, but no He-Sweetheart." The message is unmistakable: "You're a hottie but don't think for a moment that I'll touch your willy."

Marcus's reply strips away the professor's literary corset: "Go ahead, as much as you like, threaten me, accuse me, with whole clumps of argument, but you will never put off your Suitor — I mean me. Nor will I proclaim it any less that I love Fronto.... God, no, I am dying so for love of you, and I'm not scared off by this doctrine of yours." Fronto melts at the challenge, replying, "Love me the most, as you do. I truly love to pieces every little letter of every word you write." READ MORE