Antinous, Relief, Magistra Græcitas, salle 5, Massimo Palace, Rome

I never saw him in the flesh, but I have seen images and pictures of him. He has honors in other places also, and on the Nile is an Egyptian city named after Antinous. He has won worship in Mantineia for the following reason. Antinous was by birth from Bithynium beyond the river Sangarius, and the Bithynians are by descent Arcadians of Mantineia. For this reason the Emperor established his worship in Mantineia also; mystic rites are celebrated in his honor each year, and games every four years. Pausanias

Antinous or Antinoös (Greek: Αντινοος, born circa 110 or 111 AD, died 130 AD), lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, was born to a Greek family in Bithynion-Claudiopolis, in the province of Bithynia in what is now north-west Turkey. It's thought he joined the entourage of the Emperor when he passed through Bithynia in about 124 AD, and was always at his side during Hadrian's extensive journeys in Africa and Asia from 128 AD. Hadrian was a great admirer of Greek culture and so he did what many famous Greeks had done before: he fell in love with a beautiful teenage boy.

In October 130 AD Antinous died by drowning in the Nile. It is not known if his death was the result of accident, suicide, murder or religious sacrifice. Hadrian declared Antinous to be a god; in Egypt he was associated with and depicted as Osiris, and associated with the rebirth of the Nile, and Antinous was also depicted as Bacchus cutting vine leaves as a god related to fertility. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous.

Egyptian Antinous represented with Osiris' attributes, found in the villa of Hadrian in Tivoli, Louvre (Ma 433).

As a result, Antinous is one of the best-preserved faces from the ancient world. Many of his statues survive and may be seen in museums across Europe.

Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the ruins of Besa, where Antinous died. Many busts, gems and coins represent Antinous as the ideal type of youthful beauty, often with the attributes of some special god. Although these are obviously idealised images, they demonstrate what all contemporary writers described as Antinous's extraordinary beauty.

Marguerite Yourcenar's 1951 historical novel, ''Hadrian's Memoirs (Mémoires d'Hadrien) is a fictional account of the relationship, as told by the Emperor.


  • Marguerite Yourcenar's 1951 historical novel, ''Hadrian's Memoirs (Mémoires d'Hadrien) is a fictional account of the relationship, as told by the Emperor.
  • Lambert, R., Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous (New York, 1984)
  • Levezow, Über den Antinous (1808)
  • Dietrich, Antinoos (1884)
  • Laban, Der Gemütsausdruck des Antinoos (1891)
  • Antinoüs, A Romance of Ancient Rome, from the German of A. Hausrath, by M. Saftord (New York, 1882)
  • Ebers, Der Kaiser (1881).

First two images from French Wikipedia.

Dolphin, Arrow, Eagle and Antinous (Delphinus, Sagitta, Aquila, and Antinous), Sidney Hall, 1825

Antinous constellation below Aquila the Eagle and Delphinus the Dolphin. The Eagle carried Ganymede to Zeus, the dolphin rescued Arion, a favorite of Apollo who placed the dolphin among the stars. The Arrow, Sagitta, was shot by Heracles when he hunted Aquila and Cygnus, the Swan.

The man of the past Antinous with his nice hair and the man of the future a bald man, Berliner Illustierte Zeitung


Antinous Mythology (Suitor of Penelope)

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