Hadrian’s Wall is a part of queer history – here’s why

Hadrian’s Wall has been celebrated as part of the UK’s “queer history”, with English Heritage highlighting the 1,900-year-old landmark’s LGBTQ+ links.

In an email marking the end of LGBTQ+ History Month in February, the English Heritage charity explained that the famous Roman structure is “linked to England’s queer history”. 

In an email to members seen by The Telegraph, the charity explained the history of Emperor Hadrian, who built the wall and was documented as having had several gay relationships while being married to his wife, Sabina Augusta.

This included his relationship with a young Greek man named Antinous, who was said to have accompanied him on a long tour and visit to Egypt.

When Antinous drowned in the River Nile in AD130, Hadrian was said to have grieved openly, and had him “worshipped as a god”. He also reportedly founded a new city named Antinoöpolis near the spot where he died, in his honour.

“To understand Hadrian’s Wall you have to understand the Roman emperor who built it – his career, his life and the times in which he lived,” English Heritage said.

Hadrian’s Wall still stretches between Northumberland, Cumbria and Tyne and Wear, across 73 miles.

In sadly unsurprising news, several people took offence to the landmark being linked to LGBTQ+ history, with posts on Twitter/X claiming the charity was “spreading propaganda” and that the piece of history was “woke”.

Professor Frank Furedi claimed that English Heritage was trying to appear “hyper trendy”, telling the Daily Mail that the charity was “reading history backwards”.

Despite this, Emperor Hadrian’s sexual relationships with men have been well-known for years, with several museum exhibits dedicated to the love between him and Antinous.

National Museums Liverpool described them as “the most famous homosexual couple in Roman history”.

English Heritage explained that while some Romans like Emperor Hadrian would be “classified by modern society as bisexual”, the Romans didn’t define sexuality in this way, and it was common for men at the time to have sexual relationships with other men alongside their marriages.

PinkNews has contacted English Heritage for comment.