Homosexuality: A History

Colin Spencer

A survey from the earliest times of male and female homosexuality and its culture worldwide.

Colin Spencer shows how homosexuality is as old as the history of life itself. Taking as his starting point the sexuality of all living organisms, he traces the history of homosexuality through early societies (considering Balinese cross-dressing and Peruvian temple sacrifice on the way), and first civilisations (taking in Sumerian male temple prostitutes and Egyptian sexual positions), the Greeks, the Jews, Romans and Christians. Moving through time from the Early Middle Ages (in the sixth and eighth centuries the Western world was surprisingly tolerant of homosexuality) through the Renaissance (many of the greatest Renaissance artists were famously homosexual) to Victorian male bonding, public schools and the rise of gay politics, Spencer concludes that from the earliest times, homosexuality has found a level of social acceptance only in open societies, those that are loosely democratic in nature.

Reviews of Homosexuality: A History

    • ‘A substantial piece of work – accessible and highly readable’Gay Times
    • ‘exhilarating coverage of a facet of human life which is, always has been, and always will be universal.’Glasgow Herald
    • ‘Very well-read and intelligently assembled… richly peopled with heroes, heroines, villains, martyrs, pioneers and fools.’The Observer
    • ‘the general reader will discover much that is amusing, stimulating and enjoyable’Independent on Sunday

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