The “Lovers of Modena” are a pair of ancient skeletons that were buried holding hands thousands of years ago. Recently, archaeologists discovered that both of the skeletons were actually male, leading them to conclude that they couldn’t possibly be lovers — because homosexuality isn’t a thing, right? Right.
Study author Federico Lugli said that the pair could be “siblings, cousins or soldiers who died together in battle,” the BBC reports.
“There are currently no other examples of this type,” Federico added. “Many tombs have been found in the past with couples holding hands, but in all cases there was a man and a woman. What might have been the bond between the two individuals in the burial in Modena remains a mystery.”
A mystery indeed.
But people on Twitter have some, uh, theories.
It’s. It’s in the goddamn name pic.twitter.com/Lt5Ob7lKtR
— Rawnaeris (@rawnaeris) September 12, 2019
You know, just wild guesses.
Ah yes, the two here, much like Achilles and Patroclus, were Just Really Good Buddies. Because homosexuality clearly didnt exist until the modern day 🙄
— Logan (@Nox_your_sox) September 12, 2019
Because it’s not totally obvious or anything.
WHY WOULD TWO PILES OF MENBONES BE HOLDING HANDS WE MAY NEVER KNOW FOR SURE pic.twitter.com/ndBi2d3gcG
— Jamie Lawson (@drlawson) September 12, 2019
Nobody has ever been gay in the history of mankind!
"Yeah we're gonna die together, Pontius, but remember. No homo."
— C.Q. Cumber Appreciation Hours (@HanyuuHiiragi) September 12, 2019
To be fair, these skeletons were buried between the 4th and 6th century AD in northern Italy. Homosexuality was illegal there at that time, and these two received a proper burial.
The hypothesis is based on the fact that this is a proper burial that was conducted by their kins and/or neighbourhood. Since the law prohibit homosexuals, it is less logical to conclude that people at that time would bury a pair of gays celebrating their relationship
— Rangga (@ranggawdytm) September 13, 2019
Still, it’s quite possible that this couple had some loved ones who secretly honored their relationship despite the cultural taboo.
Exactly my thought… I find it more plausible that a family might do this in secret out of respect than almost any other scenario.
— citizen mom (@MomCitizen) September 13, 2019
Technically, we’ll never know whether the Lovers of Modena were really lovers or not. Either way, though, they’re basically icons of gay culture now.