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Woods D;
Nero and Sporus
Optional Fields
The purpose of this paper is to propose a new understanding of the relationship between Nero and the young freedman Sporus whom he apparently ¿married¿ sometime during his tour of Greece in AD 66-67. Dio claims that Nero treated Sporus as he did because of his resemblance to his wife Poppaea Sabina whom he had accidentally killed in AD 65. I conclude that the marriage of Nero to Sporus had nothing to do with love, and probably little to do with lust either. It was not some form of prototype ¿gay marriage¿. It had been intended simply to humiliate a potential rival for the throne through the use of sexual violence against him. Nero seems to have come to believe that Sporus was of illegitimate imperial descent, and represented a potential threat to his position; and who deserved to be humiliated and prevented from furthering his illegitimate line, if not eventually killed also.
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