Sunday, December 22, 2019

Intersex and Free: Luxorius, XXXI.1-2,4,7

TRIGGER WARNING: The entirety of this poem is offensive. Despite the poet's disapproval of the addressee's lifestyle, the fact remains that this poem chronicles the life of an intersex person who enjoys bodily autonomy and sexual freedom. This passage was chosen because it not only provides insight into the lives of intersex Romans who remained free from the shackles of human trafficking (cf. Pliny, NH VII.34), but it also reveals the hate speech that many intersex individuals used to--and continue to--face.

Monstrum feminei bimembre sexus,
quam coacta virum facit libido,...
cur te decipit inpotens voluptas?
...puella tunc sis!

--Luxorius XXXI.1-2, 4, 7

Double-genitaled monster of the feminine sex,
whom pleasure compels to "play the [part of a] man,"
why does your sterile desire deceive you?
Just be a girl!

Name:  Luxorius
Date:  6th c. CE
Works:  <Poems>

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

Little is known about the life of the Roman poet Luxorius except that he lived in Carthage (modern Tunisia, northern Africa) and that his poetry was popular in the court of the Vandal kings. His poetry provides us with rare insight into the changing customs as the Roman Empire transitioned from a polytheistic to a monotheistic society.

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE