A UK museum has embraced inclusivity but sparked controversy by relabeling the third-century Roman emperor Elagabalus with female pronouns, based on historical accounts. North Hertfordshire Museum will now refer to emperor Elagabalus with female pronouns of she and her, BBC reported.
The museum said the decision was prompted by classical texts that allege the emperor once said, “Call me not Lord, for I am a Lady.” The words were written by Cassius Dio, a well-known Roman historian and administrator.
The spokesperson for the museum said, “only polite and respectful to be sensitive to identifying pronouns for people in the past”.
The museum owns a silver denarius minted in the reign of Elagabalus, who ruled Rome from 218AD until his assassination, aged 18, in 222AD, and the coin has been used in LGBT-themed displays, Telegraph reported. In displays featuring the coin, information about it and Elagabalus, the ruler will be referred to as she.
Elagabalus became a controversial figure over his short reign, developing a reputation for sexual promiscuity.
He was married five times- four times to women, and once to Hiercoles, a former slave and chariot driver.
Cassius Dio, a senator and contemporary of Elagabalus, writes in his historical chronicles mentioned that the emperor “was bestowed in marriage and was termed wife, mistress and queen”.
Keith Hoskins, Liberal Democrat councillor and executive member for arts at the Lib Dem and Labour coalition-run North Herts Council, told the Telegraph, “Elagabalus most definitely preferred she pronoun, and as such this is something we reflect when discussing her in contemporary times.
“We try to be sensitive to identifying pronouns for people in the past, as we are for people in the present. It is only polite and respectful. 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.”