North Hertfordshire Museum has changed a display to reclassify a Roman emperor as a trans woman.

Emperor Elagabalus will now be referred to with the female pronouns of she and her, after classical texts claim the emperor once said "call me not Lord, for I am a Lady".

The museum has one coin of Elagabalus, which is often displayed among other LGBTQ+ items in its collection, with a spokesperson saying it was "only polite and respectful to be sensitive to identifying pronouns for people in the past".

Elagabalus, ruled the Roman empire for just four years from 218AD to 222AD, when he was assassinated at the age of just 18.

A controversial figure over his short reign, he developing a reputation for sexual promiscuity and was married five times according to the writings of senator Cassius Dio.

His first four marriages were to women, but his last was to a man named Hiercoles, a former slave and chariot driver, Dio writing that the emperor "was bestowed in marriage and was termed wife, mistress and queen".

Councillor Keith Hoskins, executive member for enterprise and arts at North Herts Council, believes texts such as those of Dio provide the evidence to prove that Elagabalus was a trans woman.

"Elagabalus most definitely preferred the 'she' pronoun and as such this is something we reflect when discussing her in contemporary times, as we believe is standard practice elsewhere," he said.

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The Comet: North Hertfordshire Museum.North Hertfordshire Museum.

"We know that Elagabalus identified as a woman and was explicit about which pronouns to use, which shows that pronouns are not a new thing."

Not everyone agrees though, with Elagabalus's gender identity a long-standing debate between academics.

Dr Shushma Malik, a Cambridge university classics professor, told the BBC: "The historians we use to try and understand the life of Elagabalus are extremely hostile towards him, and therefore cannot be taken at face value.

"We don't have any direct evidence from Elagabalus himself of his own words.

"There are many examples in Roman literature of times where effeminate language and words were used as a way of criticising or weakening a political figure.

"References to Elagabalus wearing makeup, wigs and removing body hair may have been written in order to undermine the unpopular emperor."