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Museum Relabels Emperor Elagabalus’ Pronouns, Acknowledging Her Status as a Trans Woman.

The North Hertfordshire Museum is set to relabel information on Emperor Elagabalus with she/her pronouns acknowledging the fact that she was a trans woman. The museum has claimed to consult an LGBTQ+ charity ‘Stonewall’ and a spokesperson of the museum said it is “only polite and respectful to be sensitive to identifying pronouns for people in the past”

File:Elagabalus coin 2.jpg - Wikipedia
Courtesy: Wikipedia

The North Hertfordshire Museum beholds a coin of Elagabalus.

Councillor Keith Hoskins, executive member for Enterprise and Arts at North Herts Council, tells BBC “that Elagabalus most definitely preferred the ‘she’ pronoun and as such this is something we reflect when discussing her in contemporary times, as we believe is standard practice elsewhere. We know that Elagabalus identified as a woman and was explicit about which pronouns to use, which shows that pronouns are not a new thing.”

Elagabalus is famously known for claiming “Call me not Lord, for I am a Lady”. As Cassius Dio wrote that the emperor, in her short-lived life of 18 years, was married five times, and in her last marriage, the emperor ” was termed wife, mistress and queen”.

About Elagabalus

Elagabalus - Wikipedia
Sculpture of Elagabalus . Courtesy: Wikipedia

Elagabalus, who was born in 203 AD, ruled briefly and turbulently from 218 to 222 before passing away. As a member of Septimius Severus’s esteemed family, she was initiated into the solar deity El Gabal’s hereditary priesthood. Celebrated via a flaming black stone, El Gabal’s rituals signified its arrival in Rome. The unorthodox ascent of Elagabalus was made possible by the Severan era, which was characterised by militarism, power disputes, and weakening traditions.

The Roses of Heliogabalus - Wikipedia
“The Roses of Heliogabalus” painting by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema Depicting Elagabalus. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

Elagabalus, a usurper, gained support against Marcrinus by seducing soldiers with her beauty while dancing in opulent robes. The careless appointments she made throughout her rule shocked the traditional Romans. She arranged symbolic marriages and wed a vestal virgin, defying Roman religious customs and causing more unrest among the public. There was dispute around reports of Elagabalus’ genitalia and gender variation, with differing opinions on the degree of her transgender behaviour.

Elagabalus adopted Severus Alexander in an effort to preserve her legacy as her status waned. But she was killed, and her reputation was damaged. Elagabalus suffered posthumous damnatio memoriae, having his memory wiped from historical accounts. 

About North Hertfordshire Museum

North Hertfordshire Museum (Hitchin) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go  (with Photos) - Tripadvisor
Courtesy: Trip Advisor

Opened from Tuesday to Sunday, the North Hertfordshire displays collections and exhibitions of local heritage and history. The museum contains four galleries: North Hertfordshire Gallery, Exhibition Gallery, Living in North Herts and the Terrace Gallery.

References:

  • BBC
  • Out History

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