The deep friendship between a dude and another dude is nothing new – bromances have existed since the dawn of time. In this feature, we’ll venture back into the mists of antiquity for ten non-sexual friendships that changed the face of the world. Truly, these are history’s greatest bromances.
David & Jonathan
Let’s start this list with one of the most notable Biblical bromances ever. In olden times, competition for power was brutal and unforgiving. So for Jonathan, son of King Saul of Israel, and his rival for the crown, David, to become friends was extremely unlikely. However, after David killed the giant Goliath, his “soul was knit” to Jonathan, starting a serious bromance that would last until Jonathan’s death atop Mt. Gilboa. In a seriously cool move, David would then seat Jonathan’s son at his own royal table to honor and respect his friend’s family lineage.
Meriwether Lewis & William Clark
Two of the most adventurous bros in American history, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out to claim as much of the United States as they could and bonded along the way. Lewis was a self-taught natural historian with an intuitive mastery of the woods, and Clark was a well-read cotton planter. The duo, accompanied by a Native American woman named Sacajawea, explored the Louisiana Purchase, made diplomatic entreaties to many tribes, and claimed the Pacific Northwest for a still-growing America.
Matt Damon & Ben Affleck
Hollywood has been the site of some of the most powerful bromances of modern times, and one deep friendship that defines the term is the one between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The pair grew up in the same Boston neighborhood, and while they were both pursuing acting careers in the early 1990s they co-wrote the screenplay that would make them famous, "Good Will Hunting." Since then, they’ve both become A-listers in their own right, but they live in the same California neighborhood and even have the same number of children.
Achilles & Patroclus
The legendary Greek hero of "The Iliad" was also a participant in one of history’s earliest recorded bromances. When Achilles went to battle against the forces of Troy, he was accompanied by Patroclus, one of his closest friends. When the heroic warrior refused to fight the Trojans, Patroclus donned his armor and fought in his stead, being struck down by Trojan King Hector. When Achilles heard about his falling, he reentered the battle in a rage, killing so many men that the water god Scamander objected to all the corpses clogging his rivers. Now that’s bro dedication.
John Adams & Thomas Jefferson
Here’s a great bromance from the early days of American history. When John Adams and Thomas Jefferson first met at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the pair were fairly different from each other. But their shared dedication to the founding of the Republic brought them into a close friendship that spanned decades. The pair had a falling out when Adams became the second President of the United States, but after he left office they reconciled and started a second phase of their bromance that lasted 15 years. In the ultimate act of patriotic bro dedication, Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826.
King Richard & Blondel
One of the coolest things about bromances is their ability to cross lines of race, class and position. Case in point: the enduring relationship between Britain’s King Richard I and the minstrel Blondel. When Richard led a crusade to Jerusalem to drive out the Saracens, he was captured by the Duke of Austria and imprisoned. After he was missing for a year, Blondel, a young bard whom Richard had trained and bonded with, set out alone to find him armed only with his harp. Facing many dangers, Blondel found Richard and then managed to raise a ransom to free him from captivity. Afterwards, the two became even faster friends until Richard’s death in 1199.
Bob Hope & Bing Crosby
Hollywood has seen many two-man acts, but the one that most illustrates the Platonic ideal of the bromance was Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Hope, an English-born actor, first worked with singer Crosby in 1940’s "Road to Singapore," an adventure comedy about two playboys trying to get over their girls in the Far East. This started a partnership that extended through six more movies, but most importantly their private lives as well. When Hope or Crosby appeared solo, they would mention the other, often with a well-placed zinger. Sadly, the eighth "Road to" movie never happened with Crosby’s death in 1977.
Lee Arnold & Neil Barnard
Here’s an example of a bromance that doesn’t feature famous guys, but is so intense that it needed a spot on this list. Lee Arnold and Neil Barnard are two young straight British men – both have girlfriends – who spend a staggering 98 precent of their time with each other. The two lads have been best friends for 13 years, and not only do they both work for the same company, they also share an apartment. When Neil went off to serve with the British Army in Afghanistan, it just cemented the deep bond the pair had for each other, one which will probably never be severed.
Octavian & Agrippa
The days of the Roman Empire were fertile ground for bromances, and one of the most famous came with Emperor Octavian and his defense minister Marcus Agrippa. The pair were educated together as children and became great friends, and after the fall of Caesar and Octavian’s rise to the throne, they were inseparable. The military victories that allowed Octavian to expand the empire were almost all a result of Agrippa’s exceptional leadership and tactical skill, and he was rewarded with power in Rome and abroad. When Agrippa died, Octavian had his body buried in his own mausoleum.
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George Clooney & Brad Pitt
George Clooney has long been considered one of Hollywood’s most committed bachelors. Even though he dates a panoply of beautiful women, he’s never settled down with anyone. Well, except for his long-term bromantic buddy Brad Pitt. Pitt and Clooney compose one of the movie industry’s most long-lived non-sexual pairings. The two first worked together in 2001’s "Ocean’s Eleven," and since then have vacationed together, walked the red carpet together and basically been continually supportive bros no matter the situation. Some claim that Pitt’s relationship with Angelina Jolie has weakened the bromance over the years, but the evidence points to the contrary.