Modern entertainment focusing on historical happenings is almost exclusively heterosexist. The significant global history of same-sex attraction is very rarely showcased in a fair and accurate light.
I expected no different from the Starz original series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The first few episodes were heavy on the sex and violence –- as most depictions of Ancient Rome are -– but I was still left to wonder where the gays were.
That is until it was revealed that Barca, one of the most powerful gladiators who also serves as a bad ass bodyguard/hit man, is in a relationship with Pietros, the adorable male slave.
The “gay” (a modern word used to bring understanding, even though the definition was not needed in this time of full acceptance) storyline started off as just sex, but over the last few episodes they have really shown how the two men are in love and are planning to buy their freedom so they can live a peaceful life together.
Barca and Pietros are so sweet together –- they have no problem being affectionate with each other and it is quite evident that the delicate Pietros calms and tames the giant trained killer. However, the most beautiful part of their relationship is the blasé attitude about it. The relationship was not questioned, criticized or made to feel any different or less than any heterosexual relationship. The other gladiators and the slave owner refer to Pietros as Barca’s “lover” –- a term they use without judgment or negativity.
SPOILER ALERT: The following reveals plot details from the February 26 episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
Sadly, in true Roman fashion, Barca was brutally murdered after Pietros was tricked into revealing damning evidence about Barca’s botched hit job. The worst part being that they told Pietros that Barca purchased his own freedom and left Pietros behind.
While it is devastating that the Spartacus gay relationship has been decimated by murder and lies, it is also uplifting that none of the drama arose out of anti-gay sentiment. Hopefully Pietros will again find love, and other historical dramas will openly explore gay storylines as well.
Photo credit: Adam Amel Rogers