"A band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken, and invincible; since
the lovers, ashamed to be base in sight of their beloved, and the beloved before their
lovers, willingly rush into danger for the relief of one another."
Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas
Thus was the motivation for the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite Greek
fighting force was 150 pairs of homosexual lovers. For forty years, from
their creation in 378 B.C.E, until the gallant end on the blood-drenched
field of Chaeronea, in 338, B.C.E, at the hands of Alexander the Great,
they were considered the fiercest fighting force ever created. Even at the
end, when the rest of the army, faced with overwhelming forces fled, the
Sacred Band held their ground, dying where they stood. Upon seeing their
lifeless bodies mingled one upon another and learning that this was the
band of lovers, Alexander said, “Perish miserably they who think that
these men did or suffered aught disgraceful!” He then proceeded to
bury their bodies with honor, erecting the Lion of Chaeronea
over them, a monument that stands to this day.