But they made an exception for historical dramas set in or around the time of Christ: Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis, The Robe, The Big Fisherman, Barabbas, and even Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Last Days of Pompeii (1834).
Romantic Era (1770-1830) and the first days of the Victorian, "dandy" was code for "gay."
a contest every year to see who can write the worst opening for a novel. I only got through a few pages of the purple-prosed Last Days of Pompeii. But apparently, if you slog through the romance between Roman citizen Glaucus and the "beautiful" Ione, you'll meet the evil Egyptian sorcerer Arbaces, who seduces and "destroys" Ione's brother Apaecides -- he sings a song of "love" and then leads him to "a curtain on the other side of the chamber."
At least the destruction of Pompeii is not caused by God's wrath against the sodomites.
There have been several film versions, mostly skipping the gay subplot. In the 1959 peplum version, Glaucus (bodybuilder Steve Reeves) gets a gay subtext with his best friend Marcus (Mario Berriatua), but the character of Apaecides, renamed Antonius (Angel Aranda, left, from a Spanish movie) is insignificant.
See also: The Flowers of Evil