Even though we all know that ancient Greece was as open minded as it gets when it gets to homosexuality, what you are about to read is quite strange even for those standards. And that is because in Theba, they had a special fighting force that was made entirely of male partners.
One of the most elite armies in ancient Greece was the ‘Sacred Band of Thebes’. An army that was so good, even compared with the infamous Spartans – perhaps the most skilled and brutal army this world has ever known. The weird thing with the ‘Sacred Band of Thebes’ was the fact that it consisted of 150 homosexual couples – a total of 300 men all of whom were selected specifically for their sexual interests for each other.
The Sacred Band was formed in the 4th century BC and was organized by the Theban commander Gorgidas in 378 BC. Recruits became members at 20 years old and they received their armor from their lovers (in Greek, erastes). Their training consisted of wrestling, fighting with weapons and… dancing. They were sort of like the commando’s of the army as they were trained as a shock troop with their main purpose being to kill the enemy’s best men and leaders. But why homosexual in specific? (the article continues after the ad)
According to Plutarch, the fact that a group of soldiers was based on the love and friendship between a lover and his beloved, made it more difficult for someone to abandon the group while in battle.
The Sacred Band won several important battles, most notably the Battle of Leuctra and the Battle of Tegyra. It was annihilated in 338 BC by Philip II of Macedon in The Battle of Chaeronea.