Italian historian says gays caused downfall of Rome, sparks row

Historians in the News

LONDON: A top Italian history professor has caused outrage after he claimed that the Roman Empire fell due to the rise of homosexuality.

Roberto De Mattei, 63, a devout Roman Catholic, had already raised eyebrows by saying the Japanese tsunami was "divine punishment", and now with his latest claim he faces calls to resign.

"The collapse of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Barbarians was due to the spread of homosexuality," the Daily Mail quoted the vice-president of Italy's prestigious Centre for National Research as saying in a radio interview....

Fellow historians, gay rights groups and politicians expressed their outrage over the historian's claims. "I have tabled an urgent call for the education minister to intervene," Paola Concia, a lawmaker with the Democratic Left, said.

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