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Ushio Kawana




Location: Japan
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jul, 2011 7:17 pm    Post subject: Were there bisexual or gay knights?         Reply with quote

Hi Happy

This is hard to ask you a question very much. And it is difficult to examine these matters. Confused Sad Question

Middle ages in Japan....
Generally, it is thought that a bisexual warrior (samurai) is not rare in Sengoku period in Japan...
These are are called "shudo" in Japan.
Perhaps you know the name..., Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen...
Takeda Shingen had Sexualrelationship with his squire... Exclamation Eek!

Sengoku period http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sengoku_period
shudo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_Japan#Terminology
Oda Nobunaga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oda_Nobunaga
Takeda Shingen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeda_Shingen

I think that the knights and his squire wrer bound together by strong relationship.
And a knight and his friend(knight) were in the same way, too...

I have questions... Question
In Middle Ages, were there the bisexual or gay knights? Question

thanks

I'm interested in Medieval Arms and Armor.
But... My English is very poor ><;
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jul, 2011 7:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not openly, the Church would have come down hard on that, many gays were simply executed unless they recanted.
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jul, 2011 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

King Richard the Lionheart was bisexual. He performed two public confessions for the
'Sin of sodomy'. He was also one of the greatest warriors of Christendom, as confirmed both by Christian and Muslim accounts of his personal prowess in battle.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jul, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Giles de Rais was a notorious homosexual, but also a Marshal of France and enormously wealthy until he staged an extravagant spectacle, 'Le Mistère du Siège d'Orléans' about the breaking of the siege of Orleans lead by Jeanne d'Arc, in which he had fought. He was later executed for the murder of many children and sodomy. I don't think the heresy charge stuck, since if the accused recanted, and did not relapse, s/he would not be executed for that charge.
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hm, this is an interesting topic that I'm sure some one must have written an essay on.

I can't think of anyone in particular, but I can only imagine there must have been then (as now) homosexuals and bisexuals in the military, or at least incredably close personal relationships. After all, a squire served a different family from that of his own, so i'd imagine so.

Still, makes one wonder why it's so taboo to be openly homosexual in the modern military; didn't Phillip of Macedon have a whole regiment of homosexual men who fought rally well because they were fighting with/for their partners?

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Augusto Boer Bront
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 3:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:


Still, makes one wonder why it's so taboo to be openly homosexual in the modern military; didn't Phillip of Macedon have a whole regiment of homosexual men who fought rally well because they were fighting with/for their partners?


Because in ancient Greece and Macedony homosexuality was considered the perfect love, being between two man, and not between a man and a woman, which was consisdered a mere human incubator.
Now we still live with a basis of chrisitan convincions and believes.

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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
Still, makes one wonder why it's so taboo to be openly homosexual in the modern military..


Throughout history, there has been a cycle of extremes in regards to sexuality. In some eras, it was a punishable moral crime. In other periods, it was ignored. In a few periods, it was openly accepted and even encouraged. It has been an ever changing dynamic for thousands of years now. Undoubtably, it will continue to ebb and flow with the times.

In today's military (which I have served with over the last 23 years, and am still serving with today), I can say that I feel it's not really taboo for only homosexuality - any type of open sexuality is frowned upon, and all sexual conduct is pretty much regulated by the GO1 regulation as well as other local regs. The military is not a place for any type of sexual distraction which could affect mission performance. Those types of things are parts of life which should be left in the rear with the gear - not brought to the battlefront.

On the modern military - if you have an army of men that are in the vast majority attracted to women - it's pretty natural for them to feel uncomfortable, or even develop feelings of anger toward homosexual men. Hence the don't ask, don't tell rule. From what I have seen in my own military experience, heterosexual men do not dislike homosexual soldiers at all, unless pressured to accept or view a situation which is blatently against their own moral reservations. It's the fact that they are apprehensive about sharing such close living conditions with someone who might find potential love interest among the other men. Some men find this a type of betrayal to the masculine image of a modern warrior. Other men feel that they could be exposed to undue and/or unwanted attention in places like showers, public latrines, etc. Some men might feel jelously in the fact that they must refrain from sexual activity while others can seek romantic interests amongst their peers. Lastly, the whole traditional values thing which many soldiers still cling to might find the homsexual lifestyle unsettling. This was probably the same in antiquity.

As a leader of soldiers in the past, and a leader of DoD contractors overseas currently, I have no reservations if a warfighter is a homo or heterosexual, and quite honestly, I simply do not care. I want my people to do their jobs to standard in an efficient manner and act like a warfighter should. What goes on the their personal lives is unimportant to me, as long at the mission is accomplished and it does not effect their job performance.

Just my $0.02...

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F. Carl Holz




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yeah that pretty much matches my experience in the military too. most of the guys i've worked with don't care one way or the other as long as a mutual respect is maintained. those that do object usually know enough about the equal opportunity programs that they just leave it alone. and even though it isn't "in the open" per-say there aren't very many people who don't know which way a guy swings. a females preferences might not be as well known, but honestly i think most rumors that go around about them are generally dismissed as wishful thinking
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Nathan Quarantillo




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's all in the culture. As mentioned, in Philip and Alexander's day, gay love was considered superior to heterosexual love. That's why I have such respect fro the movie Alexander. It actually presented it as so.

However, during the medieval period, I think it was a BIG no-no. Treated akin to witchcraft. So if there were any knights who were so attracted, I think they would've had to keep it a secret unless they wanted to do some serious recanting.

Think about it, being open about heterosexual relations (especially out of matrimony) was EXTREMELY frowned upon. As I imagine there was no priest willing to marry two men, it simply would be the perfect storm of taboos, besides spitting on the True Cross while murdering a puppy.

"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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David Gaál




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward I. or Edward Longshanks son Edward II. was bisexual. He has been murdered.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:
King Richard the Lionheart was bisexual. He performed two public confessions for the
'Sin of sodomy'. He was also one of the greatest warriors of Christendom, as confirmed both by Christian and Muslim accounts of his personal prowess in battle.


Do we know for sure he was gay? I have read at least one biography that took it for granted he was gay, and another one that stated this was propaganda spead by his enemies. (By the way, one might note that sodomy does not necessarily mean gay).

In this past centry Western culture has been obsessed with labels and tying things up in a neat category, like homo vs. hetero, or marriage = romantic love = sex. We tend to project our current notions on people who had an entirely different worldview.

From what I have read, the medieval man would see no contradiction between an arranged marriage that included sex for procreation and perhaps pleasure, a deep platonic love with another man that appears romantic to our eyes (including 'love letters') - while simultaneously abhoring sexual acts associated with biblical sin, and perhaps committing some indiscretions along the way with women (or men ?). Is that gay? Is that bisexual?

As others said above, one imagines that like today, most medieval knights were primarily attracted to women and a smaller fraction primarily attracted to other men, but given the cultural gap across the centuries this might often be hard to judge from overt speach and behavior recorded in histories.
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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They have always been among us, moving silently down through the centuries.............................

Seriously - Did 26 years in the Army and now civil service. Have known people who were and figure this has been the case throughout military history to one extreme or another. Has been and will be. Society dictates how open it can be.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
Hm, this is an interesting topic that I'm sure some one must have written an essay on.

I can't think of anyone in particular, but I can only imagine there must have been then (as now) homosexuals and bisexuals in the military, or at least incredably close personal relationships. After all, a squire served a different family from that of his own, so i'd imagine so.

Still, makes one wonder why it's so taboo to be openly homosexual in the modern military; didn't Phillip of Macedon have a whole regiment of homosexual men who fought rally well because they were fighting with/for their partners?


You mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Band_of_Thebes
They were destroyed by Philip.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We just don't have that much documentation on the matter.

This reminds me of the old vexing issue of whether to grasp the shaft of the spear in the over- or under-hand position. . . .
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 7:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ushio,

There is almost no evidence for homosexuality in the West. This is not because it did not happen; it probably did. But anyone who did so would have to do homosexual acts very secretively, because the acts were forbidden by the Church. Since we have so very little evidence about homosexuality, it is extremely difficult to know much about it.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 7:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:
King Richard the Lionheart was bisexual. He performed two public confessions for the
'Sin of sodomy'. He was also one of the greatest warriors of Christendom, as confirmed both by Christian and Muslim accounts of his personal prowess in battle.


Dustin,

Where and when were the two confessions of sodomy? I have never heard this before. John Gillingham claims that any assertions about Richard engaging in same sex activities are bogus. As he points out, even in Richard's day, opinions were divided about him, yet not even his harshest critics accused him of the sin. Similarly, the information that he and Philip Augustus shared a bed seem to smack of homosexuality, until you learn that people commonly shared beds with others and no one thought anything of it.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

Where and when were the two confessions of sodomy? I have never heard this before. John Gillingham claims that any assertions about Richard engaging in same sex activities are bogus. As he points out, even in Richard's day, opinions were divided about him, yet not even his harshest critics accused him of the sin. Similarly, the information that he and Philip Augustus shared a bed seem to smack of homosexuality, until you learn that people commonly shared beds with others and no one thought anything of it.


The powerful could get away with a lot if they exercised the least bit of caution and it could be very dangerous to publicly accuse a Prince or a King of sodomy if you where one of his subjects !

Accusations of all sorts of things could be brought forth by political enemy powerful enough or foreign enemies not having to worry about summary arrest and execution " slandering " the King. One could also make the distinction between formal charges of sodomy and court gossip of sodomy ?

So the truth about Richard could go either way depending on which sources to believe, and even today people with an agenda could be pushing for or against the theory for various reasons.

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F. Carl Holz




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i think a little over emphesis is being put on how horribly against the rules it must have been. if something is against the rules it just is. out side of that what happens to you hinges on whether or not anybody cares, and whether or not you tell them. according to the UCMJ anything other than straight missionary position isn't allowed. does that mean that people only have sex like that? i seriously doubt it. if half the stuff the guys in my berthing talk about is true, most of them don't. but thats the thing, no body cares so they get away with it. and i'm pretty sure they have been getting away with it for a really long time. soldiers and sailor haven't gotten their reputation for nothing.

so in the end it really depends on the culture at the grass roots level, which at this time period would be very difficult measure with any real authority.


Nathan Quarantillo wrote:
Think about it, being open about heterosexual relations (especially out of matrimony) was EXTREMELY frowned upon.


having read Charny's book on chivalry I can't really buy into this. but perhaps the difference is between "open" and "advertising".

@J.D. Crawford - nice post

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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Ushio,

There is almost no evidence for homosexuality in the West. This is not because it did not happen; it probably did. But anyone who did so would have to do homosexual acts very secretively, because the acts were forbidden by the Church. Since we have so very little evidence about homosexuality, it is extremely difficult to know much about it.


I would have to beg to differ with you about this, at least regarding the late medieval through Renaissance era. There is a good bit of evidence that in Renaissance-era Italy homosexual relationships were quite common; both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo engaged in them, Michelangelo in particular having a long relationship with a young man.

More or less in the same period, during the Elizabethan period in England, homosexuality was somewhat tacitly acknowledged on occasion. A number of nobles had homosexual lovers, and notably, Christopher Marlowe, the playwright, may very well have been gay. There's rather considerable debate about William Shakespeare, as well.

This was largely squelched by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation movements, both of which frowned heavily upon homosexuality for obvious religious reasons.

As far as the Dark Ages up to the Renaissance, I will acknowledge that there isn't too much evidence; however, note this online reference for historical documents...

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook1v.html#C...d%20Gender

That's the 'Internet Medieval Sourcebook', a magnificent resource for researchers as it has quite a number of transcriptions and translations of historical documents. The portion I linked to refers homosexuality specifically. Unfortunately, there's nothing about knights in particular.

My uneducated understanding-- take it with as much salt as you like-- is that, yes, obvious homosexuality would have been stamped out as quickly as the Church and secular law could go for it. However, staying 'in the closet' was probably largely the case for anybody with those inclinations. If they had homosexual affairs, they would have kept them as discreet as possible unless social mores were more relaxed towards those affairs as in Florence during the early part of the Renaissance. Many gay men almost certainly had wives and children regardless of their sexuality-- you don't have to be sexually attracted to women to 'do your duty'. As such, an accurate understanding of how common homosexuality was in this historical era is honestly impossible, and all we really have is speculation based upon what we do know.

Also, don't forget that sodomy was often illegal even with women; Richard's confession of sodomy doesn't necessarily have to be homosexual, although I haven't read of the specific case so I can't say whether it stated that or not. Nevertheless, 'the sin of sodomy', while usually understood to mean homosexual intercourse between men, does frequently include anal intercourse with women by the legal codes of the period. The ideal was that intercourse should result in 'multiplying'; anal intercourse is, of course, counter-productive to that... plus, if a man engaged in same with a woman, might not he be tempted to do same with another man? Not very good logic by our standards, but that's how they frequently thought back in the day...
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2011 4:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
Hm, this is an interesting topic that I'm sure some one must have written an essay on.



Indeed. I know a person that has. And I have had her lecture on it! The topic was "same-sex sexuality in the middle ages" or something to that effect (title and essay was in Swedish)

It was a while ago I heard it, but if I recall correctly, some key points where:

1. Homosexuality and Heterosexuality and sexual preference as a concept did not yet exist. Prohibitions and bans where made on "unnatural" activities, rather than the sexual orientation itself. So expressing love towards a fellow man was not in itself something that would necessarily break the social norms, as long as did not break any biblical commandments.

2. Marriage more often than not was dictated by some level of politics, from national/international to inter-village or family consideration. Sexual passions outside the marriage was likley more common as a result of this, and since there where (for probably the same reason) rigid social rules that prohibited or regulated social interaction between married and unmarried persons of the different sexes, there where in many cultural contexts a lot of "brotherly love" going on in a quite social accepted way. This may or may not have had some level of homo-erotic elements (see point 1)

If there is a specific interest, I could drop a mail and see if she had that paper published in translation. If so, just drop me a pm!

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