In 1999 this 1st century silver cup depicting men fucking was the most expensive single piece of art ever purchased by the British Museum
Every Friday Erotic Intent will bring you a piece of erotic art history, from ancient Greece and Rome on up to the present day. You can see some good examples of a of erotic art through the ages in our very first post, "Dildos, Strap-ons, and Pegging: An Anal History."
Today we present the Warren Cup and its history by way of Wikipedia (quoted text).
In 1999 the British Museum paid £1.8 mil ($3,682,147 today) for this 1st century Roman silver drinking cup. At the time it was the most expensive single piece of art ever purchased by the museum.
Depictions of gay sex where far more common in ancient Greek and Roman art that one would guess from the dearth of gay erotic art from this period on display today. Much of it was destroyed due to homophobia and ignorance. In fact, the authenticity of the Warren Cup was brought into question due to the gay sex scenes depicted.
"The cup is named after its first modern owner, Edward Perry Warren, notable for his art collection, which also included Rodin's The Kiss statue and Cranach's Adam and Eve painting."
"Illustrated drinking cups, often in pairs, were intended as dinner-party conversation pieces. Roman artwork on pottery, glass and wall-paintings with sexual acts represented were popular and were intended to be seen by all sections of society. The Romans had no word for homosexuality and the images on the Warren Cup provide an important insight into this aspect of their culture."
FYI: In ancient Rome there were many rules regarding sex, but as the article just noted, no word for or concept of homosexualty, nor did the Romans sort people into categories based on sexual preference. There was not gay or straight. Furthermore, there was no sex-shaming for sex itself.