A professor is facing calls to resign after blaming the collapse of the Roman Empire on homosexuality.
Roberto De Mattei, a devout Roman Catholic, had already raised eyebrows by saying the Japanese tsunami was ‘divine punishment’.
In a radio interview, the vicepresident of Italy’s prestigious Centre for National Research said: ‘The collapse of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Barbarians was due to the spread of homosexuality.
‘The Roman colony of Carthage was a paradise for homosexuals and they infected many others.’
The 63-year-old added: ‘The invasion of the Barbarians was seen as punishment for this moral transgression.
‘It is well known effeminate men and homosexuals have no place in the kingdom of God.
‘Homosexuality was not rife among the Barbarians and this shows God’s justice comes throughout history.’
Professor De Mattei is a close friend of education minister Maria Stella Gelmini and controversial prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who once said: ‘Better to love girls than be gay.’
Last night fellow historians, gay rights groups and politicians expressed outrage. Paola Concia, an MP with the Democratic Left, said: ‘I have tabled an urgent call for the education minister to intervene.’
Italian homosexual groups said the professor’s comments were ‘based on superstition, ridiculous and outrageous’ and called on him to resign from his Rome-based post.
Historian Emilio Gabba, a leading light in Roman history, said: ‘It is highly improbable homosexuality led to the fall of the Roman Empire.’
Professor Lellia Cracco Ruggini, an expert on Roman history from Turin University, said: ‘There is no proof Rome had a high number of homosexuals. I can safely say Rome did not fall because it was gay.’ However research would seem to suggest homosexuality was rife in ancient Rome.
The 18th century expert Edward Gibbon wrote that ‘of the first 15 emperors, Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct’.
Homosexuality is widely portrayed in ancient Roman art and was seen as acceptable 2,000 years ago.
Professor De Mattei co-operates with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences and has been awarded the Order of Knighthood of St
Gregory the Great in acknowledgement of his services to the Roman Catholic Church
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1374823/Outrage-Italian-history-professor-blames-fall-Rome-rise-homosexuality.html#ixzz2bq4FRWMF
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