Homosexuality in the 6th century BC: Tomb of the Bulls


August 23, 2014 /LGBT News/ Monterozzi is an Etruscan necropolis on a hill east of Tarquinia in Lazio, Italy. The necropolis has about 6,000 graves, the oldest of which dates to the 7th century BCE. Monterozzi is also the site of the Tomb of the Bulls, a tomb constructed c. 540–530 BC. The walls of the tomb are illustrated with frescos that evidence a strong influence from Greek art. 


The panel on the left depicts a heterosexual scene
involving three persons
In the Tomb of the Bulls in Tarquinia, there are two sets of figures and 'obscene' scenes. The main scene depicts naked Troilus, Priam’s young, beautiful son, en route to a fountain below Troy where Achilles awaits in ambush. The nudity of Troilus may be used to portray him as young and beautiful, or vulnerable. It could also be used for magic apotropaic reasons (having the power to prevent evil). Troilus’ nudity may also represent a sexual appeal; ancient sources and illustrations attest to Achilles’ love for Troilus, a tradition that may explain the surrounding sexual scenes. On the left side of the illustrated panel, a man penetrates a woman who is supported on the back of a man bent on all fours. Moving to the right in the depicted scene towards two men having sexual intercourse, the ithyphallic bull has clearly defined and distinct horns; in ancient (and modern) Italy, the single horn is also a potent weapon to spear the Evil Eye.

Two standing men have sexual intercourse while bull with the head of an old man (Achelous?) and an erection trots toward them in the form of a bull with an erection.



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