Throughout history, men deemed sex symbols are representatives of the cultures they thrived in. Before photography and film, men were esteemed for their reputations in politics, music, literature, and the poetics. As the movie industry rose in the early 20th century, Hollywood celebrities became the nations emblems of sex appeal.
British poet Lord George Gordon Byron passed before the magic of the silver screen took shape, but his image as a figure of desire still holds up. However, Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova might not provoke the same response today as he did in the mid-1700s.
Once Hollywood began romanticizing men in the industry, the global conception of beauty was indelibly influenced by movie stars. And although the 1960s and '70s don't qualify as historical in comparison to the early 18th century, the actors who ruled the city of desire during those years strongly affected modern society's idea of who ranks as a sex symbol.
Historic male sex symbols may represent the culture they were empowered by, but some still hold up against the hottest male celebrities of current times.