Monday, 4 May 2020

Game of Gay Thrones 4: Lyncestis, Byzantium, Sweden and Hawaii

What began as a one-off article to mark the end of the “Game of Thrones” series has turned into a series of its own, and today I’m able to include the first women among the queer wannabe monarchs who have emerged from under the dust-sheets of history.

As before, all of the people below either claimed a throne, were nominated for a throne, or were recognised as heirs. Also, as before, I don’t include anyone who was already a monarch.

1) The Lyncestian Brothers (4th century BC): heirs to the throne of Lyncestis.
This is the first time I’ve included siblings as queer claimants. They were Heromenes, Arrhabeaus and Alexander. They were coheirs to the dynasty that ruled the little kingdom of Lyncestis in northern Greece before it was annexed to Macedonia by King Philip II of Macedonia.

The Lyncestian brothers were were involved in the assassination of King Philip II in 336 BC. Or, at least, that is what Philip’s son, Alexander the Great, believed and he wasted no time in executing all of the conspirators – except Alexander of Lyncestis. He was spared because he was the first to proclaim Alexander the Great as king.

It is believed that the brothers took part in the plot in the hope of regaining their throne. The leader of the plot didn’t have this in mind – it was about the abuse he experienced from Philip II after he had dumped him for another lover. The whole story behind it is full of twists and too long to go into today.

While there’s no written record of any of the Lyncestian brothers having a male sex partner the assumption that they did is virtually certain. They were all living in a society where princes were required to be soldiers, and their training would have included taking younger trainees as regular sex partners. I’ve written about this many time on this blog.

The last surviving brother, Alexander, became a leading military commander. However, years later he was implicated in a plot to assassinate Alexander the Great and deprived of his command and held in custody. Three years later yet another assassination plot was uncovered. Even though Alexander the Lyncestian wasn’t involved, Alexander the Great thought it best to have him removed permanently and had him executed.

2) Eleutherius of Ravenna (d.620): claimant to the Byzantine Empire.
Eleutherius was a Greek eunuch. Our modern used of this word covers several male gender types that were described in the Byzantine Empire. I’ll write about them in more detail later in the year, but for now we’ll just say that these eunuch types referred to men who were either castrated, had deformed or crushed genitals, or were intersex. We don’t know which type applied to Eleutherius.

Eleutherius was one of the court chamberlains to Emperor Heraclius. His official job title was “cubicularius”, which was only given to eunuchs. It made Eleutherius one of the most trusted and close officials in the emperor’s personal retinue.

At this time the Byzantine Empire was in conflict with the Persian Empire to the east. Taking advantage of this the western province of Ravenna in Italy revolted against its Byzantine ruler (called an exarch) in 616 and killed him. Eleutherius was despatched to quell the revolt, which he did, and he became the new exarch.

There were other rebellions in Italy which Eleutherius believed were the result of the shift towards the Persians and that the emperor wasn’t doing enough. So Eleutherius declared himself emperor in 619. He hoped that the Pope would confirm his claim, but on the way to see him in Rome Eleutherius was assassinated by his own troops who were loyal to Heraclius – they sent him Eleutherius’s severed head as a trophy.

3) Anna Eleonor Ekelöf (c.1745-after 1765): posed as Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden.
No-one knows who Anna Eleonor Ekelöf really was. There is a Swedish noble family called Ekelöf but she doesn’t match any female in the family tree.

Virtually the only information we know about Anna comes from her trial in 1765. She claimed that she was a sea captain’s daughter and had run away from home to marry her boyfriend. Whether the boyfriend existed isn’t known; she certainly didn’t get married.

Anna went to live near the Norwegian border and assumed the identity of “Count Carl Ekeblad”. She assembled a small retinue which included a police officer’s wife to “amuse” herself with, as stated at her trial. Not long after that Anna was claiming to be Crown Prince Gustav of Sweden in disguise. She was apparently well-educated and had apparent knowledge of what the real Crown Prince looked like, as she was very similar in age and build.

At her trial Anna claimed that she only said she was the Crown Prince because she was drunk, but it was taken seriously by the authorities. Anna was firstly arrested by the Danish-Norwegian authorities, during which her true gender was revealed. This seemed to be enough for the authorities to disregard her claim and released her. However, the Swedish authorities didn’t like this imposer prince and arrested her in 1765.

Her trial revealed that Anna was a serial imposter, posing as many people over the years. Whatever the trial’s verdict Anna wasn’t around to hear it. She managed to escape from custody and hide out on a farm, again posing as the Crown Prince. With the help of a speedy horse provided by the gullible farmer Anna rode away and was never heard of again.

4) Abigail Kawānanakoa (b.1926): coheir to the throne of Hawaii.
In 2017 many news agencies reported the marriage of Abigail Kawānanakoa, a millionaire heiress, to her long-time partner Veronica Gail Worth.

There are a couple of people who are considered heir apparent to the Hawaiian throne. Abigail is the last surviving member of the family to be specifically designated as heir, though the bloodline heirs are the son of her first cousin and his children.

As a child Abigail was adopted by her grandmother, Princess Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa with the intention of placing the young child as heir to the throne should it be restored.

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