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497 years ago 1524
497 years ago 1524

What happens in this picture ?!

Who's this sexy dude? It's Sebastian, a Mediaeval saint and contemporary gay icon.

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What happens in this picture ?!

Who's this sexy dude? It's Sebastian, a Mediaeval saint and contemporary gay icon.

sebas

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In the picture, Sebastian is tied to a tree and pierced by arrows. What did he do to deserve that? Sebastian was a captain of the guards of the Roman Emperor. He was a Christian at a time when Christians were persecuted by the Romans. Emperor Diocletian found out that Sebastian was a Christian and had him tied to a tree in a field outside Rome, to be shot to death with arrows. This is what you can see in the picture. They left him for dead, but he survived his execution. This still wasn't enough to declare him a saint though. A woman, Irene, found him, took him home and cared for him. Sebastian recovered and began preaching his faith. When Diocletian got wind of this, he had Sebastian clubbed to death and thrown into the sewer. His body was taken out of the sewer and buried in the catacombs of Rome.

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So back to that body. Check out those muscles! And what's going on with that loincloth? What do you make of those long, smooth arrows penetrating different parts of his body? People in the Middle Ages never really had the chance to see a fit male torso, let alone have a long, hard look at one. It was difficult enough for women, but for men it was totally impossible: homosexuality was strictly off limits. Sebastian provided the solution. Looking at the picture in this book or in a church, you could stare at him for hours while piously saying your prayers, of course.

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The picture appears in a book of hours, a book with all sorts of different prayers that you could say at home (not in church) at set times. The book was written in 1524 in Paris. It contains more pictures of saints. The calendar at the front of the book has pictures showing activities