Stories to be proud of - The Sacred Band of Thebes

Oct 2 / Rene Luisman
Stories, as a child I could listen to them for hours. Still, I missed stories in which gay men played the leading role. Stories I could relate and console to. Which made me proud of that part that I struggled so much with myself. These stories exist, because homosexuality is timeless. But finding them often require some detective work. 
For instance, there is the story of the Holy Sacred Band. This elite corps was founded in the 4th century BC by Gorgidas. This commander gathered 150 male lovers to protect the Greek city of Thebes.

At that time it was very common for an older man to have a relationship with a younger man. And Gorgidas was convinced that these lovers would fight more passionately. They might wanted to show their loved one what they were worth and would fight till the bitter end.

The corps turned out to be a great success. At the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, the battalion defeated Sparta's army. This would be the only time Sparta was ever defeated.

The Holy Sacred Band is feared for three decades. Until, in 338 BC, it fights against the army of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

Several Greek forces surrendered, but the Holy Sacred Band continued to fight until they were all defeated. 254 of the 300 soldiers were killed and all others were injured.

After the battle there was a lot of respect for the battalion. To honor them, the inhabitants of Thebes buried the fallen soldiers in seven rows in a common grave. Those who now travel to Chaironeia will find a five meter high lion on the grave, which reminds of the heroism of these men.

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