A.3. What could Marcus Aurelius feel for Fronto?

Christian Laes


Were Marcus Aurelius and Fronto in love? Does the correspondence between master Fronto and prince Marcus Aurelius prove that their relationship was a fully sexual one? Were both lovers playing dangerous games? This article explores the various possibilities in a relationship which may at first sight seem like a relationship of sexual passion. Contrary to the Amy Richlin thesis, I will contend that it is not justified to interpret the letters as a correspondence between a gay master and his beloved pupil. Taking a closer look at both the literary and the socio-cultural context, one comes to understand what we can and what we cannot know about language games and bodily games of sex in antiquity.


Roman literature; Marcus Aurelius; Fronto; sexuality

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