OG Gays in the Military: Ancient Greece’s Sacred Band of Thebes: An Interview with James Romm

The Sacred Band of Thebes, comprised entirely of gay male lovers, was Ancient Greece’s original response to the gays in the military question. What was that like? How did it function? And what was its lasting legacy? That’s what we’re going to find out today, just in time for Pride Month. Here to help us do it is classicist James Romm, author of The Sacred Band: Three Hundred Theban Lovers Fighting to Save Greek Freedom.

By the way, the NYT article referenced in the episode is “Ancient Greece’s Army of Lovers” by Daniel Mendelsohn.

Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/btnewberg and get a hand-drawn portrait. Research, writing, editing, and production by B. T. Newberg. Logo Design by Rachel Westhoff. Animation by Maxeem Konrardy. Additional credits, references, and more at www.historyofsexpod.com.


Romm, James. The Sacred Band: Three Hundred Theban Lovers Fighting to Save Greek Freedom. New York, NY: Scribner, 2021.

Audio Credits

The History of Sex podcast theme music mixed from “Gregorian Chant”, “Mystery Sax”, and “There It Is” by Kevin MacLeod.

Additional music and audio from:

Battle of Gaugamela – Alexander Film – Phalanx Marching” from KidUKnott

Horse Galloping Sound Effect” from wdylj

Ancient Power of Serpents” by Kevin MacLeod

Batman 1966 Original Theatrical Trailer” from Cinematica Virtual

300 Official Trailer” from Warner Bros Pictures

Large Group of Soldiers Fighting with Swords and Yelling” and other videos in the Medieval Sound Effects series from Sound Ideas – Topic

Lamentation” by Kevin MacLeod

Image Credits

From the cover of The Sacred Band, by James Romm.

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