HADRIAN AND ANTINOUS
The love affair of the Roman emperor Hadrian (24 January AD 76 – 10 July 138) and the Bithynian boy Antinous (27 November ca. 111 – August/September 130) was easily the highest profile Greek love affair ever: as ruler of the Roman Empire at its greatest, Hadrian was the most powerful man in the world, while Antinous, dying mysteriously after years in the public eye as his beloved, was made a god, an honour not even accorded by Zeus to his Ganymede and never given to any other Roman not of the imperial family.
Though, however, temples to Antinous were once to be found throughout the Roman Empire, and his face is still familiar today from the numerous statues of him that have survived, surprisingly little is now known about him. A considerable portion of the surviving writings about him were by Christians more interested in using him as invective against Roman paganism than in illuminating him.
The ancient texts about both Antinous’s life and Hadrian’s interest in boys are assembled below in the chronological order they were written in, together with three early inscriptions shedding important information on Antinous. Unfortunately, all that survives resembles some pieces of a jigsaw puzzle rather than a coherent narrative. In view of this, the most important questions concerning the boy’s life and death are addressed forthwith.
Antinous’s age can only be guessed. The various descriptions of him as meirakion and ephebe imply he was not more than twenty at the time of his death. The sculptures then made likewise show a youth in his late teens. About 111 thus seems his likely date of birth, which, since his birthday was 27 November, would make him about eighteen at death.
When Hadrian and Antinous became lovers is far less clear. It is often surmised that they met and Hadrian had Antinous sent to Rome in June 123, when he was about eleven, as this was the later of the two occasions on which Hadrian passed through or near Antinous’s birthplace. Reliefs often thought to illustrate the life of Antinous on the Arch of Constantine in Rome suggest he was a page there, presumably in the imperial paedagogium, which Royston Lambert, author of one of the two detailed studies of the lovers, says “was not just another of those seraglios of seductive and willing boys collected by the wealthy debauchees of the day, though, … It may have functioned partly as such. It was a formidable institution … for the training of pages for the court.” If so, then since Hadrian himself did not return to Rome until around the summer of 125, Antinous is unlikely to have been in his household or his lover until then, when he was about thirteen, or even a little later.
As will be seen, Hadrian himself recorded that Antinous died by falling into the Nile. Apartianus adds that it happened during a journey on the Nile. Both he and Cassius Dio mention rumours that Antinous voluntarily sacrificed his life for Hadrian’s benefit, without saying whether rumour made the latter privy to the suicide or not. They and others report Hadrian’s extreme grief. None of the many ancient sources contradicts any of this, so there is no reason to doubt it, as various moderns have done in proposing lurid alternatives.
What remains mysterious is whether Antinous drowned by accident or deliberately. Both are credible: accidentally drowning in the dangerous currents of the Nile was common (for example, Alexander the Great lost a loved boy the same way), but there was also then widespread belief in the efficacy of sacrificing oneself for a loved one, and several recorded instances of others doing so. This was discussed in great detail by Lambert, who concluded that, while it could have been an accident, it was probably an act of self-sacrifice done without Hadrian’s knowledge. Amongst Antinous’s possible motives, Lambert mentions saving his lover’s life from a serious illness or ensuring there would not be a third year running in which the Nile failed to inundate the land (which would have caused famine as far away as Rome) and repaying the debt of Hadrian having just saved his life from a lion (see the first excerpt) combined with likely anxiety that he was become a man and could not remain Hadrian’s paidika. Finally, though it should be pointed out that Hadrian himself may not have known if the drowning was an accident, the extremity of his reaction strengthens the likelihood he believed Antinous had sacrificed himself for him.
All the statues shown here are from the reign of Hadrian (117-38) and most of them from the years after Antinous's death, with the sole exception of the ephebe-god of Antinoopolis.
The following excerpt is all that survives of an epic poem by Pankrates, an Alexandrian, describing a hunt by Hadrian and Antinous for an enormous lion that had been causing terror in Egypt. The context is provided by Athenaios in The Learned Banqueters 667d-f, who briefly quotes another section of what is evidently the same poem. This can only have happened in the summer of 130, shortly before Antinous’s death. Evidently, Pankrates was in Egypt at the time, and is the only person to have written something about Antinous that has survived from his lifetime.
The papyrus fragment on which this was written was published in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Part VIII (London, 1911) no. 1085 column ii, lines 1-25 with the Greek text and the translation here given. The Romanised names have been replaced with transliterated ones.
… and swifter than the horse of Adrastos which once saved the king as he fled ... in the battle-throng. Such was the steed whereon Antinous sat in wait for the deadly lion, holding in his left hand the bridle-rein and in his right a spear shod with adamant. First Hadrian hurling his brass-fitted spear wounded the beast but slew him not, for of purpose he missed the mark, wishing to test to the full the sureness of aim of beauteous Antinous, son of the Argos-slayer. Stricken, the beast was yet more aroused, and tore up in his wrath the rough ground with his paws, and the dust rising in a cloud dimmed the light of the sun ; he raged even as the wave of the surging sea when Zephyros is stirred forth after the wind of Strymon. [Straight] he rushed upon them both, scourging with his tail his haunches and sides . . . while his eyes, beneath his brows, flashed dreadful fire ; and from his ravening jaws the foam showered to the earth as his teeth gnashed within. On his mighty head and shaggy neck the hair stood bristling ; on his other limbs it was bushy as trees, and on his back ... it was like whetted spear-points. In such wise he came against the glorious god and upon Antinous, like Typhoios of old against Zeus, slayer of giants.
Papyrus p.mil.vogl. I 20
This fragment apparently written by someone in Hadrian’s immediate circle and perhaps a witness to Antinous’s death, was published in 1937.
|Nymphs killed Hylas, Kyparissos cast himself down from the rocks, the earth received Daphne in her flight. Narkissos in arrogance [. . . .] killed himself as though another. Alone the one bloom of Antinous, sweeter than all others…||
νύ̣μ[φ]αι Κρ[όκον ἀπέκτειναν, Ὕλαν ἥρ̣π̣α[σαν Νύμφαι, Κυπάρισσος κατ[ὰ πε|τρῶν ἔρειψε ἑ[αυ]τόν, Δ[άφνην φεύγουσαν ὐπεδέξατο γῆ· Ν[άρ|κισσος ὑπερηφανείαι ἐρ[. . . ..] ἑαυτὸν ὡς ἄλλον ἀπώλεσ[εν· ἓν δὲ μόνον τὸ τοῦ Ἀντινόου [ἄνθος, πάντων ἥδ[ι]ον διαφέρον . . .
The Obelisk of Antinous
Originally erected for the tomb of Antinous at Hadrian’s villa at Tibur (now Tivoli), Latium, it was moved into Rome by the emperor Elagabalus and finally re-erected there in a park on Monte Pincio in 1822. The hieroglyphic inscriptions are hard to read and elusive in their meaning, but nevertheless richly informative.
The translation is this website’s from the French of Jean-Claude Grenier in his “L’Osiris Antinoos” in Cahiers Égypte Nilotique et Méditerranéenne, Montpellier, 2008, pp. 1-33, where will be found the hieroglyphics and copious scholarly footnotes.
Text accompanying the relief:
Words spoken by Osiris Antinous, [the Just]: “Come to the master of life”.
A – The Blessed One who is in the After-life and who rests in this consecrated place inside the Gardens of the domain of the Prince in Rome.
B – He is known to have become god in the shrines of Osiris in Egypt and shrines (there) have been built for him (where) he is worshipped as a god by the prophets and the priests of Upper and Lower Egypt and equally (by) the inhabitants of Egypt.
C – A city is called after his name; to it belongs a population of Greeks and offspring of Horus and children of Seth, living in the cities of Egypt; they have come from their cities and valuable fields have been given to them in order to embellish their life there greatly.
D – There is a temple there of this god – his name is “Osiris Antinous, the Just” – built of beautiful white stone; sphinxes are on its periphery and statues, numerous columns like those once made by the Ancients and equally like those made by the Greeks; all the gods and all the goddesses give him (there) the breath of life and he inhales it, having rejuvenated.
Text accompanying the relief:
Words spoken by Osiris Antinous […
Words spoken by Thoth, twice great lord of Khemenou (Hermopolis): “I make your heart alive for you every day”.
A – The Blessed One, Osiris Antinous the Just! He had become an ephebe of beautiful face who rejoiced the eyes, to strength […] and intrepid at heart like a man with strong arms.
B – He received the order of the gods for the moment of his death.
C – All the rites of the “Hours of Osiris” have been renewed and all the operations of his mummification in secret, (then) his bandages were put on and the whole Earth was then in just distress nourished by disputes.
D – Nothing similar was done for those from the old days to the present as (has been done for) his altars, his temples and his titles and, because he inhales the breath of life, his glory grows in men’s hearts. He who is the Lord of Hermopolis, the master of divine words, Thoth, regenerated his ba like […] in their time. By night and day, at each and every moment, the love he provokes is in the heart of his faithful, the respect which he inspires [is in …] of all […] and the praise which he excites is widespread amongst the humans who venerate him.
E – His rightful place is in the Court of the Justified and the Perfect Lights which are in the following of Osiris within the Sacred World of the Master of eternity and the Triumph which has been accorded him; they (= the Justified, etc.) establish his renown on Earth and their hearts take pleasure in him. (When) he goes everywhere he wishes, the doorkeepers of the After-life say to him: “Praise be to you!” They draw back their bolts and open their doors before him (and this) every day for millions of millions of years (for) [this will be] the duration of his existence […] ? […].
Text accompanying the relief:
Words spoken by Osiris Atinous [… ? … pronounces?] every oracle.
Words spoken by Amon, master (of the power) to pronounce oracles: I give you [(the power) to pronounce] every oracle.
A – The Blessed One, Osiris Antinous the Just, who is in the After-life! A stadium has been set up inside the place consecrated to him which is in Egypt and is called by his name, for the athletes of this country and the associations of itinerant (athletes) and thus (for) the athletes of the entire Earth. All the Egyptians, in the manner of those who are in the movement of Thoth (= the Hermopolitans), give them prizes and crowns for their heads and they are rewarded with every sort of fine thing.
B – Offerings are placed on his altars and to him are allotted the sacrifices due to the gods before him, every day […] … […] acts of adoration are lavished on him by those who are versed in the arts of Thoth in proportion to his power.
C – He goes from the place consecrated to him to numerous sanctuaries of the entire Earth because he hears the prayer of he who calls him, he lavishes his care on the sick and the needy in sending dreams (for it is thus that) he manifests his action amongst (human) beings. He performs every transformation according to that which creates his will because he is the seed of a god who really manifests himself in his body […] ? [… from the] intact stomach of his mother and he has been marked on the bricks of birth by […].
Text accompanying the relief:
Words spoken by the son of Rê, the Crowned Hadrian Caesar, who lives forever!: “[Take] for yourself your daughter whom your heart loves”.
Words spoken by Rê-Hor-akhty: “I give you the power […] … […] forever”.
A – How enviable is the good done to Osiris Antinous the Just! His heart is happy to the highest point since he knows his true nature after (his) return to Life and he sees his father Rê-Hor-akhty.
B – [He or His heart exults?] in saying: “O! Rê-Hor-akhty (you) who are above the other gods and who hears the call of gods, men, the blessed and the dead, you will hear the call of he who implores you! Give in return for that which has been done for me your son whom you love … the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, founder of the doctrine (concerning me) in the temples of all men and in which the hearts of the gods delight [The Beloved of] Hâpy and all the gods, the Crowned [Hadrian Caesar] that he live, be prosperous and happy (for) he is the Prince, the sovereign of all the Earth, the Great One of the Great Ones of Egypt, the Nine Bows are reunited every day under his two sandals like (they were under those) of the sovereigns of Egypt come about before his (own) generation(?) and his power reaches to the limits of the whole orb of this Earth in its four (directions) …
C – (and make) the bulls and their cows unite in joy and multiply their progeny for him, in order to delight his heart and (that of) the royal Great Wife, his beloved, the Sovereign of Egypt and of (her) towns(?), Sabina – that she live, be prosperous and in good health! – Augusta – that she live forever! – (and that) Hâpy, father of the gods, make the cultivable lands fruitful for them and produce for them the Rising (coming) in its time to flood Egypt!”
An inscription in Lanuvium
The following inscription was found in the ruins of Lanuvium in Latium, Italy. Dated 9 June 136, less than six years after Antinous’s death, it was erected in the temple of Antinous there by the collegium (association) dedicated to revering him and the goddess Diana. It was published in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum: vol. XIV Inscriptiones Latii veteris Latina, edited by Hermann Dessau (Berlin, 1887) no. 2112.
|In the consulship of Lucius Ceionius Commodus and Sextus Vettulenus Civica Pompeianus, 5 days before the ides of June, in the temple of Antinous in Lanuvium in which Lucius Caesennius Rufus, patron of the town, … conferred on the worshippers of Diana and Antinous, out of his generosity, the interest on 15 thousand sestertii: 400 sestertii on the birthday of Diana on the ides of August, and 400 sestertii on the birthday of Antinous on 5 calends of December, … [the college having been created] on the calends of January in the consulship of Marcus Antonius Hiberus and Publius Mummius Sisenna … by the deliberation of the senate and Roman people, with whose permission the collegium was convened, …||[L(ucio) Ceionio] Commodo Sex(to) Vettuleno Civica Pompeiano co(n)s(ulibus) a(nte) d(iem) V Idus Iun(ias) [Lanuvii in] templo Antinoi in quo L(ucius) Caesennius Rufus / [patronu]s municipi(i) ... cultorum Dianae et Antinoi pollicitus est se / [conl]aturum eis ex liberalitate sua HS XV m(ilium) n(ummum) usum die / [natal]is Dianae Idib(us) Aug(ustis) HS CCCC n(ummos) et die natalis Antinoi V K(alendas) / [Dec(embres)] HS CCCC n(ummos) ... [M(arco) Antonio Hiber]o P(ublio) Mummio Sisenna co(n)s(ulibus) Kal(endis) Ian(uariis) ... ex s(enatus) c(onsulto) p(opuli) R(omani) / quib[us permissum est co]nvenire collegiums …|
An inscription in Tibur
The following inscription was found in Tibur (now Tivoli) in Latium, Italy. It is undated, but thought to be from within a few years of the deification of Antinous, since, by comparing Antinous to the foreign god Belenus, Quintus Siculus, the dedicator, appears to be defending it. It may originally have accompanied a statue of Antinous. It was published in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum: vol. XIV Inscriptiones Latii veteris Latina, edited by Hermann Dessau (Berlin, 1887) no. 3545.
|If Antinous and Belenus are alike in age and beauty, why should Antinous also not be what Belenus is? Q. Siculus.
||Antinoo et Beleno par aetas formaque si par, / cur non Antinous sit quoque qui Belenus [?] / Q. Siculus.|
Pausanias, Description of Greece VIII 9 vii-viii & 10 i
The following passage comes from the Greek geographer Pausanias’s description of Mantineia in Arkadia, written in roughly 150, when Antinous was easily within living memory.
The translation is by W. H. S. Jones in the Loeb Classical Library volume CCLXXII (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933). The only changes made here are to replace the then conventional Latinisation of Greek names with literal transliteration.
Antinoüs too was deified by them [the Mantineians]; his temple is the newest in Mantineia. He was a great favourite of the Emperor Hadrian. I never saw him in the flesh, but I have seen images and pictures of him. He has honours in other places also, and on the Nile is an Egyptian city named after Antinoüs. He has won worship in Mantineia for the following reason. Antinous was by birth from Bithynion beyond the river Sangarios, 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 honour each year, and games every four years. There is a building in the gymnasium of Mantineia containing statues of Antinoüs, and remarkable for the stones with which it is adorned, and especially so for its pictures. Most of them are portraits of Antinoüs, who is made to look just like Dionysos.
… There are roads leading from Mantineia into the rest of Arkadia, and I will go on to describe the most noteworthy objects on each of them. On the left of the highway leading to Tegea there is, beside the walls of Mantineia, a place where horses race, and not far from it is a race-course, where they celebrate the games in honour of Antinoüs.
[9.7] ἐνομίσθη δὲ καὶ Ἀντίνους σφίσιν εἶναι θεός· ναῶν δὲ ἐν Μαντινείᾳ νεώτατός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ Ἀντίνου ναός. οὗτος ἐσπουδάσθη περισσῶς δή τι ὑπὸ βασιλέως Ἀδριανοῦ· ἐγὼ δὲ μετ᾿ ἀνθρώπων μὲν ἔτι αὐτὸν ὄντα οὐκ εἶδον, ἐν δὲ ἀγάλμασιν εἶδον καὶ ἐν γραφαῖς. ἔχει μὲν δὴ γέρα καὶ ἑτέρωθι, καὶ ἐπὶ τῷ Νείλῳ πόλις Αἰγυπτίων ἐστὶν ἐπώνυμος Ἀντίνου· τιμὰς δὲ ἐν Μαντινείᾳ κατὰ τοιόνδε ἔσχηκε. γένος ἦν ὁ Ἀντίνους ἐκ Βιθυνίου τῆς ὑπὲρ Σαγγαρίου ποταμοῦ· οἱ δὲ Βιθυνιεῖς Ἀρκάδες τέ εἰσι καὶ Μαντινεῖς τὰ ἄνωθεν.
 τούτων ἕνεκα ὁ βασιλεὺς κατεστήσατο αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν Μαντινείᾳ τιμάς, καὶ τελετή τε κατὰ ἔτος ἕκαστον καὶ ἀγών ἐστιν αὐτῷ διὰ ἔτους πέμπτου. οἶκος δέ ἐστιν ἐν τῷ γυμνασίῳ Μαντινεῦσιν ἀγάλματα ἔχων Ἀντίνου καὶ ἐς τἄλλα θέας ἄξιος λίθων ἕνεκα οἷς κεκόσμηται καὶ ἀπιδόντι ἐς τὰς γραφάς· αἱ δὲ Ἀντίνου εἰσὶν αἱ πολλαί, Διονύσῳ μάλιστα εἰκασμέναι.
[10.1] Ἐς Ἀρκαδίαν δὲ τὴν ἄλλην εἰσὶν ἐκ Μαντινείας ὁδοί· ὁπόσα δὲ ἐφ᾿ ἑκάστης αὐτῶν μάλιστα ἦν θέας ἄξια, ἐπέξειμι καὶ ταῦτα. ἰόντι ἐς Τεγέαν ἐστὶν ἐν ἀριστερᾷ τῆς λεωφόρου παρὰ τοῖς Μαντινέων τείχεσι χωρίον ἐς τῶν ἵππων τὸν δρόμον καὶ οὐ πόρρω τούτου στάδιον, ἔνθα ἐπὶ τῷ Ἀντίνῳ τὸν ἀγῶνα τιθέασιν.
L. Apuleius Madaurensis, Apologia XI 3-4
The following passage, written by a pagan philosopher and rhetorician in 158-9, is part of the author’s defence of his character in having written love poems about boys, citing well-known precedents.
The translation is by Christopher Jones in the Loeb Classical Library volume DXXXIV (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2017).
When the deified Hadrian adorned his friend Voconius’ tomb with a poem, here is what he wrote:
I remember having read many such poems by the deified Hadrian himself. I challenge you, Aemilianus, to say that it is wrong to do something that Hadrian, an emperor and a censor, both did and told posterity that he had done?
Diuus Adrianus cum Voconi amici sui poetae tumulum versibus muneraretur, ita scripsit:
Ipsius etiam divi Adriani multa id genus legere me memini. Audes igitur, Aemiliane, dicere male id fieri, quod imperator et censor divus Adrianus fecit et factum memoriae reliquit?
Justin Martyr, First Apology XXIX
This work by the Christian apologist St. Justin Martyr was an argument for ending the persecution of Christians addressed to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, Hadrian’s successor, between 147 and 161. The following remark is taken from his chapter on the “Continence of Christians”.
The translation is from Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume I (Edinburgh, 1867).
|And it is not out of place, we think, to mention here Antinous, who was alive but lately, and whom all were prompt, through fear, to worship as a god, though they knew both who he was and what was his origin.||
οὐκ ἄτοπον δὲ ἐπιμνησθῆναι ἐν τούτοις ἡγησάμεθα καὶ Ἀντινόου τοῦ νῦν γεγενημένου, ὃν καὶ πάντες ὡς· θεὸν διὰ φόβου σέβειν ὦρμὴντο, ἐπιστάμενοι τίς τε ἦν καὶ πόθεν ὑπἧρχεν.
Tatian, Address to the Greeks X
Like Justin Martyr, Tatian was a Christian apologist attacking Greek paganism in the third quarter of the 2nd century. The following remark is taken from his chapter ridiculing the heathen divinities.
The translation is by Benjamin Plummer Pratten in Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume III (Edinburgh, 1867).
And how was the dead Antinoiis fixed as a beautiful youth in the moon? Who carried him thither: unless perchance, as men, perjuring themselves for hire, are credited when they say in ridicule of the gods that kings have ascended into heaven, so some one, in like manner, has put this man also among the gods, and been recompensed with honour and reward?
Theophilos of Antioch, Apology to Autolykos III 8
The following by Theophilos, Patriarch of Antioch ca. 169-84, is from his chapter about the wickedness attributed to their gods by heathen writers.
The translation is by Revd. Marcus Dodds in Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume II (Edinburgh, 1867).
|I am silent about the temples of Antinous, and of the others whom you call gods. For when related to sensible persons, they excite laughter. They who elaborated such a philosophy regarding either the non-existence of God, or promiscuous intercourse and beastly concubinage, are themselves condemned by their own teachings.||σιγῶ τὰ Ἀντινόου τεμένη καὶ τὰ τῶν λοιπῶν καλουμένων θεῶν. καὶ γὰρ ἱστορούμενα τοῖς συνετοῖς καταγέλωτα φέρει. Ἤτοι οὖν περὶ ἀθεότητος αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων δογμάτων ἐλέγχονται οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα φιλοσοφήσαντες, ἢ καὶ περὶ πολυμιξίας καὶ ἀθέσμου κοινωνίας·|
Athenagoras, The Embassy for the Christians, 30 ii
This Athenian Christian’s unusually diplomatic plea to the emperor for toleration of Christians was written in 176 or 177. The following remark is from his chapter on reasons why divinity has been ascribed to men.
The translation is by William R. Schoedel in Athenagoras: Legatio and De Resurrectione (Oxford, 1972).
Either their subjects honoured them as gods of their own accord or the rulers themselves - some out of fear, others out of a genuine sense of reverence - obtained the title (thus even Antinous had the good fortune to be thought a god because of the humane affection shown by your ancestors to their subjects). But those who came after them accepted the claim without further examination.
Tit. Flavius Clemens, The Exhortation to the Greeks, IV
The author, known in English as Clement of Alexandria, was a Christian convert considered a Church Father, and his book here quoted from, and written in about 190, was an exhortation to the Greeks to adopt Christianity, arguing that the Greek gods were false and poor moral examples.
The translation is by G. W. Butterworth in the Loeb Classical Library volume XCII (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1919) except for one amendment with an explanatory footnote.
|Another fresh divinity was created in Egypt,—and very nearly among Greeks too,—when the Roman king solemnly elevated to the rank of god his loved-boy whose beauty was unequalled. He consecrated Antinous in the same way that Zeus consecrated Ganymedes. For lust is not easily restrained, when it has no fear; and to-day men observe the sacred nights of Antinous, which were really shameful, as the lover who kept them with him well knew. Why, I ask, do you reckon as a god one who is honoured by fornication? Why did you order that he should be mourned for as a son? Why, too, do you tell the story of his beauty? Beauty is a shameful thing when it has been blighted by outrage. Be not a tyrant, O man, over beauty, neither outrage him who is in the flower of his youth. Guard it in purity, that it may remain beautiful. Become a king over beauty, not a tyrant. Let it remain free. When you have kept its image pure, then I will acknowledge your beauty. Then I will worship beauty, when it is the true archetype of things beautiful. But now we have a tomb of the boy who was loved, a temple and a city of Antinous.||Καινὸν δὲ ἄλλον ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ, ὀλίγου δεῖν καὶ παρ᾿ Ἕλλησι, σεβασμίως τεθείακεν θεὸν ὁ βασιλεὺς ὁ Ῥωμαίων τὸν ἐρώμενον ὡραιότατον σφόδρα γενόμενον· Ἀντίνοον [ὃν] ἀνιέρωσεν οὕτως ὡς Γανυμήδην ὁ Ζεύς· οὐ γὰρ κωλύεται ῥᾳδίως ἐπιθυμία φόβον οὐκ ἔχουσα· καὶ νύκτας ἱερὰς τὰς Ἀντινόου προσκυνοῦσιν ἄνθρωποι νῦν, ἃς αἰσχρὰς ἠπίστατο ὁ συναγρυπνήσας ἐραστής. τί μοι θεὸν καταλέγεις τὸν πορνείᾳ τετιμημένον; τί δὲ καὶ ὡς υἱὸν θρηνεῖσθαι προσέταξας; τί δὲ καὶ τὸ κάλλος αὐτοῦ διηγῇ; αἰσχρόν ἐστι τὸ κάλλος ὕβρει μεμαραμμένον. μὴ τυραννήσῃς, ἄνθρωπε, τοῦ κάλλους μηδὲ ἐνυβρίσῃς ἀνθοῦντι τῷ νέῳ· τήρησον αὐτὸ καθαρόν, ἵνα ᾖ καλόν. βασιλεὺς τοῦ κάλλους γενοῦ, μὴ τύραννος· ἐλεύθερον μεινάτω· τότε σου γνωρίσω τὸ κάλλος, ὅτε καθαρὰν τετήρηκας τὴν εἰκόνα· τότε προσκυνήσω τὸ κάλλος, ὅτε ἀληθινὸν ἀρχέτυπόν ἐστι | τῶν καλῶν. ἤδη δὲ τάφος ἐστὶ τοῦ ἐρωμένου, νεώς ἐστιν Ἀντινόου καὶ πόλις·|
Q. Septimius Florens Tertullianus, Apologeticus pro Christianis XIII
This Christian polemic by Tertullian was written in 197.
The translation is from the Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume XI (Edinburgh, 1869) p. 81.
|… when you make an infamous court page a god of the sacred synod, although your ancient deities are in reality no better, they will still think themselves affronted by you, that the privilege antiquity conferred on them alone, has been allowed to others.||cum de paedagogiis aulicis nescio quem synodi deum facitis, licet non nobiliores dei veteres, tamen contumeliam a vobis deputabunt, hoc et aliis licuisse, quod solis antiquitas contulit.|
Q. Septimius Florens Tertullianus, To the Nations II 10
The next remark by the same Tertullian around the beginning of the 3rd century is from his chapter purporting to show how disgraceful were those honoured by Roman paganism.
The translation is by Revd. Dr. Holmes in Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume XI (Edinburgh, 1869) p. 487.
|Who, in fact, ever raised a question as to his divinity against Antinous?||Quis denique Antinoo controversiam divinitatis agitavit …?|
Q. Septimius Florens Tertullianus, On the Soldier’s Chaplet 13
The following is from a treatise defending a Christian soldier’s action in refusing to wear a garland.
The translation is by Revd. Dr. Holmes in Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume XI (Edinburgh, 1869) p. 352.
|For it only remains, that the Olympian Jupiter, and the Nemean Hercules, and the wretched little Archemorus, and the hapless Antinous, should be crowned in a Christian, that he himself may become a spectacle disgusting to behold.||
Hoc enim superest, ut Olympius Iuppiter et Nemaeus Hercules et misellus Archemorus et Antinous infelix in christiano coronentur, ut ipse spectaculum fiat quod spectare non debet.
Q. Septimius Florens Tertullianus, Against Marcion I 18
This denunciation of the Marcionite heresy was written in 207/8. The translation is by Peter Holmes in the Ante-Nicene Christian Library Volume VII (Edinburgh, 1868)
|As for the rest, if man shall be thus able to devise a god, - as Romulus did Consus, and Tatius Cloacina, and Hostilius Fear, and Metellus Alburnus, and a certain authority some time since Antinous, - the same accomplishment may be allowed to others.||Alioquin, si sic homo deum commentabitur quomodo Romulus Consum et Tatius Cloacinam et Hostilius Pavorem et Metellus Alburnum et qviidam ante hoc tempus Antinoum, hoc aliis licebit?|
Athenaios, The Learned Banqueters 667d-f
Athenaios of Naukratis wrote this in the early 3rd century AD. The translation is by Douglas Olson in the Loeb Classical Library volume DXIX (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012). His Latinisations of Greek names have been replaced with transliterations.
But since I mentioned Alexandria: I am familiar with a type of garland referred to in that lovely city as an Antinoeian, which is produced from what is known there as lôtos. This plant grows in the marshes in the spring, and comes in two colors. One variety resembles a rose, and the garlands woven from it are properly referred to as Antinoeians, whereas the other is known as a lôtinos and is a dark blue color. A certain Pankrates, who was a local poet with whom I was personally acquainted, showed the rose-colored lôtos to the emperor Hadrian when he was visiting Alexandria, and presented it as a great marvel, claiming that it ought to be referred to as an Antinoeios, since the earth had produced it when it was drenched with the blood of the Mauretanian lion Hadrian had killed while hunting in the part of Libya near Alexandria; this lion was a huge creature, which had ravaged all of Libya for a long time and rendered much of it uninhabitable. Hadrian was delighted by this novel and original idea, and rewarded Pankrates with maintenance in the Museum.
… Pankrates remarks quite elegantly in his poem:
woolly thyme, white lily, and purple hyacinth, and the petals of the gray-blue chelidonios, and the rose, which opens when the West Winds blow in spring; for the flower named for Antinous had not yet appeared.
ἐπεὶ δὲ Ἀλεξανδρείας ἐμνημόνευσα, οἶδά τινα ἐν τῇ καλῇ ταύτῃ πόλει καλούμενον στέφανον Ἀντινόειον γινόμενον ἐκ τοῦ αὐτόθι καλουμένου λωτοῦ. φύεται δ᾿ οὗτος ἐν λίμναις θέρους ὥρᾳ, καὶ εἰσὶν αὐτοῦ χροιαὶ δύο. ἡ μὲν τῷ ῥόδῳ ἐοικυῖα· ἐκ τούτου δὲ ὁ πλεκόμενος στέφανος κυρίως Ἀντινόειος καλεῖται· ὁ δὲ ἕτερος λώτινος ὀνομάζεται, κυανέαν ἔχων τὴν χροιάν. καὶ Παγκράτης τις τῶν ἐπιχωρίων ποιητής, ὃν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἔγνωμεν, Ἀδριανῷ τῷ αὐτοκράτορι ἐπιδημήσαντι τῇ Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ μετὰ πολλῆς τερατείας ἐπέδειξεν τὸν ῥοδίζοντα λωτόν, φάσκων αὐτὸν δεῖν καλεῖν Ἀντινόειον, ἀναπεμφθέντα ὑπὸ τῆς γῆς ὅτε τὸ αἷμα ἐδέξατο τοῦ Μαυρουσίου λέοντος, ὃν κατὰ τὴν πλησίον τῇ Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ Λιβύην ἐν κυνηγίῳ καταβεβλήκει ὁ Ἀδριανός, μέγα χρῆμα ὄντα καὶ πολλῷ χρόνῳ κατανεμηθέντα πᾶσαν τὴν Λιβύην, ἧς καὶ πολλὰ ἀοίκητα ἐπεποιήκει οὗτος ὁ λέων. ἡσθεὶς οὖν ἐπὶ τῇ τῆς ἐννοίας εὑρέσει καὶ καινότητι τὴν ἐν Μουσῶν αὐτῷ σίτησιν ἔχειν ἐχαρίσατο.
ὁ δὲ Παγκράτης ἐν τῷ ποιήματι οὐκ ἀγλαφύρως εἴρηκεν·
οὔλην ἕρπυλλον, λευκὸν κρίνον ἠδ᾿ ὑάκινθον πορφυρέην γλαυκοῦ τε χελιδονίοιο πέτηλα καὶ ῥόδον εἰαρινοῖσιν ἀνοιγόμενον Ζεφύροισιν· οὔπω γὰρ φύεν ἄνθος ἐπώνυμον Ἀντινόοιο.
Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIX 11 ii-iv
Dio, a Roman consul, wrote his 80 books of Roman history down to the year 229 in the years down to that date and after 22 years of research.
The translation is by Earnest Cary and Herbert Foster in the Loeb Classical Library volume CLXXVI (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1925) except for one words amended with an explanatory footnote. Their Latinisations of Greek names have been replaced with transliterations.
In Egypt also he rebuilt the city named henceforth for Antinous. Antinous was from Bithynion, a city of Bithynia, which we also call Klaudiopolis; he had been a loved-boy of the emperor and had died in Egypt, either by falling into the Nile, as Hadrian writes, or, as the truth is, by being offered in sacrifice. For Hadrian, as I have stated, was always very curious and employed divinations and incantations of all kinds. Accordingly, he honoured Antinous, either because of his love for him or because the youth had voluntarily undertaken to die (it being necessary that a life should be surrendered freely for the accomplishment of the ends Hadrian had in view), by building a city on the spot where he had suffered this fate and naming it after him.
And he also set up statues, or rather sacred images of him, practically all over the world. Finally, he declared that he had seen a star which he took to be that of Antinous, and gladly lent an ear to the fictitious tales woven by his associates to the effect that the star had really come into being from the spirit of Antinous and had then appeared for the first time. On this account, then, he became the object of some ridicule, and also because at the death of his sister Paulina he had not immediately paid her any honour.
 ἐν δὲ τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ τὴν Ἀντινόου ὠνομασμένην ἀνῳκοδόμησε πόλιν. ὁ γὰρ Ἀντίνοος ἦν μὲν ἐκ Βιθυνίου πόλεως Βιθυνίδος, ἣν καὶ Κλαυδιούπολιν καλοῦμεν, παιδικὰ δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐγεγόνει, καὶ ἐν τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ ἐτελεύτησεν, εἴτ᾿ οὖν ἐς τὸν Νεῖλον ἐκπεσών, ὡς Ἁδριανὸς γράφει, εἴτε καὶ  ἱερουργηθείς, ὡς ἡ ἀλήθεια ἔχει. τά τε γὰρ ἄλλα περιεργότατος Ἁδριανός, ὥσπερ εἶπον, ἐγένετο, καὶ μαντείαις μαγγανείαις τε παντοδαπαῖς ἐχρῆτο. καὶ οὕτω γε τὸν Ἀντίνοον, ἤτοι διὰ τὸν ἔρωτα αὐτοῦ ἢ ὅτι ἐθελοντὴς ἐθανατώθη (ἑκουσίου γὰρ ψυχῆς πρὸς ἃ ἔπραττεν ἐδεῖτο), ἐτίμησεν ὡς καὶ πόλιν ἐν τῷ χωρίῳ, ἐν ᾧ τοῦτ᾿ ἔπαθε, καὶ συνοικίσαι καὶ ὀνομάσαι ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ.
 καὶ ἐκείνου ἀνδριάντας ἐν πάσῃ ὡς εἰπεῖν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ, μᾶλλον δὲ ἀγάλματα, ἀνέθηκε. καὶ τέλος ἀστέρα τινὰ αὐτός τε ὁρᾶν ὡς καὶ τοῦ Ἀντινόου ὄντα ἔλεγε καὶ τῶν συνόντων οἱ μυθολογούντων ἡδέως ἤκουεν ἔκ τε τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦ Ἀντινόου ὄντως τὸν ἀστέρα γεγενῆσθαι καὶ τότε πρῶτον ἀναπεφηνέναι. διὰ ταῦτά τε οὖν ἐσκώπτετο, καὶ ὅτι Παυλίνῃ τῇ ἀδελφῇ ἀποθανούσῃ παραχρῆμα μὲν οὐδεμίαν τιμὴν ἔνειμεν.
Origen, Against Celsus
The next passages come from the Christian theologian Origen of Alexandria’s defence of Christianity about 249 against Celsus, one of its foremost early critics.
The translation is that of Henry Chadwick in Origen: Contra Celsum (Cambridge, 1953) with two amendments explained in footnotes.
After this he even thinks that the honour which we give to Jesus is no different from that paid to Hadrian’s loved-boy (that is to say, the boy Antinous) by the inhabitants of Antinoopolis in Egypt. He said this, as we may prove, merely out of hostility. What is there in common between the noble life of our Jesus and the life of Hadrian’s loved-boy who did not even keep the man from a morbid lust for women? Against Jesus not even those who brought countless accusations and told enormous lies against him were able to accuse him of having had the slightest contact with the least licentiousness. Furthermore, if the worship of Antinous were to be examined honestly and impartially, it would probably be found that it is owing to Egyptian magic and spells that he appears to do miracles in Antinoopolis even after his death. This is related to have been done in other temples by Egyptians and those expert in such matters. They set up in particular places daemons with the power to utter oracles or to heal, who often even inflict pain on people who appear to have transgressed some rule about impure food, or about touching a dead man's body, that they may be able to frighten the uneducated masses. Such is the character also of him who is thought to be a god in Antinoopolis in Egypt. His virtues were invented by people who live by cheating; but others who are deceived by the daemon established there, and others convicted by their weak conscience, imagine that they pay a penalty inflicted by the god Antinous. And such is the character of the mysteries they celebrate and of their supposed oracles. The case of Jesus is very different from this. No sorcerers came together to oblige some king who commanded them to come or to obey the order of a governor, thinking that they would make him a god. But the Creator of the universe Himself, by means of the persuasive power of His miraculous utterances, showed Jesus to be worthy of honour, not only to the men who were willing to welcome him, but also to daemons and other invisible powers; to the present day these appear either to fear the name of Jesus as superior to them, or to accept him in reverence as their lawful ruler. For if the commendation had not been given by God, the daemons would not have yielded and departed from men against whom they were fighting at the mere pronouncement of his name.
Egyptians who have been taught to worship Antinous will tolerate it if you compare him with Apollo or Zeus, because they are proud that he should be reckoned with them. And it is obvious that Celsus lies when he says this: And if you compare him with Apollo or Zeus, they will not tolerate it.
… A belief in Antinous or any other like him, either among the Egyptians or among the Greeks, is, so to speak, a matter of ill fortune.
 Ἐπεὶ δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα καὶ τὰ περὶ τῶν παιδικῶν Ἀδριανοῦ λέγω δὲ τὰ περὶ Ἀντινόου τοῦ μειρακίου καὶ τὰς εἰς αὐτὸν τῶν ἐν Ἀντινόου πόλει τῆς Αἰγύπτου τιμὰς οὐδὲν οἴεται ἀποδεῖν τῆς ἡμετέρας πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν τιμῆς, φέρεκαὶ τοῦτο ὡς φιλέχθρω λεγόμενον διελέγξωμεν. Τί γὰρ κοινὸν ἔχει ὁ γενόμενος ἐν τοῖς Ἀδριανοῦ παιδικοῖς βίος, οὐδὲ τὸν ἄρρενα ἀπαθῆ γυναικείας νόσου φυλάξαντος, πρὸς τὸν σεμνὸν ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν, οὗ μηδὲ οἱ μυρία κατηγο ρήσαντες καὶ ψευδῆ ὅσα περὶ αὐτοῦ λέγοντες δεδύνηνται κατειπεῖν ὡς κἂν τὸ τυχὸν ἀκολασίας κἂν ἐπ 'ὀλίγον γευσα μένου; Ἀλλὰ καὶ εἴπερ φιλαλήθως καὶ ἀδεκάστως τὰ περὶ τὸν Ἀντίνουν ἐξετάζοι τις, μαγγανείας ἂν Αἰγυπτίων καὶ τελετὰς εὕροι τὰς αἰτίας τοῦ δοκεῖν τι αὐτὸν ποιεῖν ἐν Ἀντινόου πόλει καὶ μετὰ τὴν τελευτὴν αὐτοῦ· ὅπερ καὶ ἐπ 'ἄλλων νεὼν ἱστορεῖται ὑπὸ Αἰγυπτίων καὶ τῶν τὰ τοιαῦτα δεινῶν γεγονέναι, ἔν τισι τόποις ἱδρυόντων δαίμονας μαντικοὺς ἢ ἰατρικοὺς πολλάκις δὲ καὶ βασανίζοντ ας τοὺς δοκοῦντάς τι παραβεβηκέναι περὶ τῶν τυχόντων βρωμάτων ἢ περὶ τοῦ θιγεῖν νεκροῦ σώματος ἀνθρωπίνου, ἵνα δὴ ἔχοιεν δεδίττεσθαι τὸν πολὺν καὶ ἀπαίδευτον. Τοιοῦτος δέ ἐστι καὶ ὁ ἐν Ἀντινόου πόλει τῆς Αἰγύπτου νομισθεὶς εἶναι θεός, οὗ ἀρετὰς οἱ μέν τινες κυβευτικώτερον ζῶντες κατα ψεύδονται, ἕτεροι δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐκεῖ ἱδρυμένου δαίμονος ἀπατώμενοι καὶ ἄλλοι ἀπὸ ἀσθενοῦς τοῦ συνειδότος ἐλεγχό μενοι οἴονται τίνειν θεήλατον ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἀντινόου ποινήν. Τοιαῦτα δέ ἐστι καὶ τὰ δρώμενα αὐτῶν μυστήρια καὶ αἱ δοκοῦσαι μαντεῖαι, ὧν πάνυ μακράν ἐστι τὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. Οὐ γὰρ συνελθόντες γόητες, χάριν τίνοντες βασιλεῖ τινι κελεύοντι ἢ ἡγεμόνι προστάσσοντι, πεποιηκέναι ἔδοξαν αὐτὸν εἶναι θεόν, ἀλλ 'αὐτὸς ὁ τῶν ὅλων δημιουργὸς ἀκολού θως τῇ ἐν τῷ λέγειν τεραστίως πειστικῇ δυνάμει συνέστησεν αὐτὸν ὡς τιμῆς ἄξιον οὐ τοῖς εὖ φρονεῖν ἐθέλουσι μόνον ἀνθρώποις ἀλλὰ καὶ δαίμοσι καὶ ἄλλαις ἀοράτοις δυνάμεσιν· αἵτινες μέχρι τοῦ δεῦρο ἐμφαίνουσιν ἤτοι φοβούμεναι τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὡς κρείττονος ἢ σεβασμίως ἀποδεχόμεναιὡς κατὰ νόμους αὐτῶν ἄρχοντος. Εἰ γὰρ μὴ θεόθεν ἦν αὐτῷ δοθεῖσα σύστασις, οὐκ ἂν καὶ δαίμονες τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ ἀπαγγελλομένῳ μόνον εἴκοντες ἀνεχώρουν ἀπὸ τῶν ὑπ 'αὐτῶν πολεμουμένων.
 Αἰγύπτιοι μὲν οὖν διδαχθέντες τὸν Ἀντίνουν σέβειν, ἐὰν παραβάλῃς αὐτῷ Ἀπόλλωνα ἢ ∆ία, ἀνέξονται, σεμνύνοντες τὸν Ἀντίνουν διὰ τοῦ ἐκείνοις αὐτὸν συναριθ μεῖν· καὶ ἐν τούτοις γὰρ ὁ Κέλσος σαφῶς ψεύδεται λέγων Κἂν παραβάλῃς αὐτῷ τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα ἢ τὸν ∆ία, οὐκ ἀνέ ξονται. …
 Περὶ μὲν οὖν τοῦ Ἀντινόου ἤ τινος ἄλλου τοιούτου, εἴτε παρ 'Αἰγυπτίοις εἴτε παρ 'Ἕλλησι, πίστις ἐστίν, ἵν 'οὕτως ὀνομάσω, ἀτυχής·
|Then in order that he may give the appearance of knowing others beside those whom he mentions by name, he says in accordance with his usual habit that some have foundas their leader one teacher and daemon, and others another, for they go astray in evil ways and wander about in great darkness more iniquitous and impure than that of the revellers of Antinous in Egypt. In touching on these matters he seems to me to have said something true in his remark that some have found as their leader one daemon, and others another, for they go astray in evil ways and wander about in the great darkness of ignorance. But we have previously spoken of the worshippers of Antinous when he compared him with our Jesus, and we will not repeat ourselves.||Εἶθ ' ἵνα δοκῇ καὶ ἄλλους εἰδέναι παρ 'οὓς ὠνόμασε, φησὶν ἑαυτῷ συνήθως ὅτι ἄλλοι ἄλλον διδάσκαλόν τε καὶ δαίμονα, κακῶς πλαζόμενοι καὶ καλινδούμενοι εὕραντο προ στάτην κατὰ σκότον πολὺν τῶν Ἀντίνου τοῦ κατ 'Αἴγυπτον θιασωτῶν ἀνομώτερόν τε καὶ μιαρώτερον. Καὶ δοκεῖ μοι ἐπαφώμενος τῶν πραγμάτων ἀληθές τι εἰρηκέναι, ὅτι τινὲς ἄλλοι ἄλλον δαίμονα κακῶς πλαζόμενοι καὶ καλινδούμενοι εὕραντο προστάτην κατὰ πολὺν τὸν τῆς ἀγνοίας σκότον. Περὶ δὲ τῶν κατὰ τὸν Ἀντίνουν, παραβαλλόμενον ἡμῶν τῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἐν τοῖς πρὸ τούτων εἰπόντες οὐ παλιλλογήσομεν.|
|At all events, Hadrian's loved-boy is honoured as you, Celsus, remarked a short while ago. And you would not, I presume, say that the right to receive honour as a god has been granted to Antinous by the God of the universe? We could say the same of the rest also, demanding proof of the assertion that the right to receive honour has been granted to them by the supreme God.||Τιμᾶται γοῦν, ὡς πρὸ βραχέος ἔλεγες, ὦ Κέλσε, τὰ Ἀδριανοῦ παιδικά, καὶοὐ δή που ἐρεῖς ὅτι ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τῶν ὅλων δέδοται τὸ τιμᾶσθαι ὡς θεῷ τῷ Ἀντινόῳ. Τὸ δ' αὐτὸ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἐροῦμεν, ἀπαιτοῦντες ἀπόδειξιν περὶ τοῦ δεδόσθαι αὐτοῖς ἀπ τοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσι θεοῦ τὸ τιμᾶσθαι.|
This first book of the Augustan Histories is presented as having been written early in the 4th century, but it may have been written up to a century later and the authorship is considered doubtful.
The translation is by David Magie in the Loeb Classical Library volume CXXXIX (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1921) except for three amendments with an explanatory footnote.
Following the succession of Hadrian’s cousin and predecessor Trajan as Emperor in AD 98:
|And now he [Hadrian] was loved by Trajan, and yet, owing to the activity of the tutors of certain boys whom Trajan loved ardently, he was not free from . . . which Gallus fostered.||fuitque in amore Traiani, nec tamen ei per paedagogos puerorum quos Traianus impensius diligebat, . . . Gallo favente defuit.|
During the last years of the reign of Trajan, who died in 117:
|That he was bribing Trajan’s freedmen and courting and cultivating his pleasure-boys in order to pedicate them frequently all the while that he was in close attendance at court, was told and generally believed.||corrupisse eum Traiani libertos, curasse delicatos eosdemque saepe inisse per ea tempora quibus in aula familiarior fuit, opinio multa firmavit.|
During a journey on the Nile [Hadrian] lost his Antinous, for whom he wept like a woman.
Concerning this incident there are varying rumours; for some claim that he had devoted himself to death for Hadrian, and others—what both his beauty and Hadrian’s sensuality suggest.
But however this may be, the Greeks deified him at Hadrian's request, and declared that oracles were given through his agency, but these, it is commonly asserted, were composed by Hadrian himself.
[v] Antinoum suum, dum per Nilum navigat, vperdidit, quem muliebriter flevit.
[vi] De quo varia fama est, aliis eum devotum pro Hadriano adserentibus, aliis quod et forma eius ostentat et nimia voluptas Hadriani.
[vii] Et Graeci quidem volente Hadriano eum consecraverunt, oracula per eum dari adserentes, quae Hadrianus ipse composuisse iactatur.
Eusebios, Ecclesiastical History IV 8 ii-iii
Eusebios was a Christian bishop who wrote a history of Christianity making use of some now-lost sources. It was finished ca. 324.
The translation is by Kirsopp Lake in the Loeb Classical Library volume CLIII (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1926).
He [Hegesippos] indicates the time in which he flourished by writing thus about those who had made idols: “To them they made cenotaphs and shrines until now, and among them is Antinous, a slave of the Emperor Hadrian, in whose honour the Antinoian games are held, though he was our contemporary. For he also built a city called after Antinous, and instituted prophets for him,”
At the same time too, Justin, a genuine lover of true philosophy, was still continuing to practise the learning of the Greeks. And he also himself indicates this period in his Apology to Antoninus by writing thus, “And we thought it not out of place to mention at this point Antinous of the present day whom all were intimidated to worship as a god, though they knew his nature and origin.”
 καθ᾿ ὃν ἐγνωρίζετο σημαίνει χρόνον, περὶ τῶν ἀρχῆθεν ἰδρυσάντων τὰ εἴδωλα οὕτω πως γράφων· “οἷς κενοτάφια καὶ ναοὺς ἐποίησαν ὡς μέχρι νῦν· ὧν ἐστιν καὶ Ἀντίνοος, δοῦλος Ἁδριανοῦ Καίσαρος, οὗ καὶ ἀγὼν ἄγεται Ἀντινόειος, ὁ ἐφ᾿ ἡμῶν γενόμενος. καὶ γὰρ πόλιν ἔκτισεν ἐπώνυμον Ἀντινόου καὶ προφήτας.”
κατ᾿ αὐτὸν δὲ καὶ Ἰουστῖνος, γνήσιος τῆς ἀληθοῦς φιλοσοφίας ἐραστής, ἔτι τοῖς παρ᾿ Ἕλλησιν ἀσκούμενος ἐνδιέτριβεν λόγοις· σημαίνει δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς τουτονὶ τὸν χρόνον ἐν τῇ πρὸς Ἀντωνῖνον ἀπολογίᾳ ὧδε γράφων· “οὐκ ἄτοπον δὲ ἐπιμνησθῆναι ἐν τούτοις ἡγούμεθα καὶ Ἀντινόου τοῦ νῦν γενομένου, ὃν καὶ ἅπαντες ὡς θεὸν διὰ φόβον σέβειν ὥρμηντο, ἐπιστάμενοι τίς τε ἦν καὶ πόθεν ὑπῆρχεν.”
St. Athanasios of Alexandria, Against the Heathen I 9 iv
This work attacking pagan practices and beliefs was probably written in about 327.
The translation is from A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Volume IV (Edinburgh, 1891).
But others, straining impiety to the utmost, have deified the motive of the invention of these things and of their own wickedness, namely, pleasure and lust, and worship them, such as their Eros, and the Aphrodite at Paphos. While some of them, as if vying with them in depravation, have ventured to erect into gods their rulers or even their sons, either out of honour for their princes, or from fear of their tyranny, such as the Cretan Zeus, of such renown among them, and the Arcadian Hermes; and among the Indians Dionysus, among the Egyptians Isis and Osiris and Horus, and in our own time Antinous, favourite of Hadrian, Emperor of the Romans, whom, although men know he was a mere man, and not a respectable man, but on the contrary, full of licentiousness, yet they worship for fear of him that enjoined it. For Hadrian having come to sojourn in the land of Egypt, when Antinous the minister of his pleasure died, ordered him to be worshipped; being indeed himself in love with the youth even after his death, but for all that offering a convincing exposure of himself, and a proof against all idolatry, that it was discovered among men for no other reason than by reason of the lust of them that imagined it. According as the wisdom of God testifies beforehand when it says, “The devising of idols was the beginning of fornication”.
Sextus Aurelius Victor, Liber de Caesaribus XIV 5-9
Victor was a Roman historian whose history of the Roman Emperors was finished and published in 361.
The translation is that by H. W. Bird in Aurelius Victor: De Caesaribus (Liverpool, 1994) with two amendments explained in footnotes.
|Then, as is normal in peaceful circumstances, he [the emperor Hadrian] retired somewhat negligently to his country retreat at Tivoli, leaving the city to Lucius Aelius Caesar. He himself, as is the custom with the fortunate rich, built palaces and devoted himself to dinner parties, statuary and paintings, and finally took sufficient pains to procure every luxury and plaything. From this sprang the malicious rumours that he had debauched pubescent boys and that he burned with passion for the scandalous attentions of Antinous and that for no other reason he had founded a city named after him or had erected statues to the youth. Some, to be sure, maintain that these were acts of piety and religious scruple because when Hadrian wanted to prolong his life and magicians had demanded a volunteer in his place, they report that although everyone else refused, Antinous offered himself and for this reason the honours mentioned above were accorded him. We shall leave the matter unresolved, although with someone of a self-indulgent nature we are suspicious of a relationship between those far apart in age.|| Deinde, uti solet tranquillis rebus, remissior rus proprium Tibur secessit permissa urbe Lucio Aelio Caesari.  Ipse, uti beatis locupletibus mos, palatia exstruere, curare epulas signa tabulas pictas; postremo omnia satis anxie prospicere, quae luxus lasciviaeque essent.  Hinc orti rumores mali iniecisse stupra puberibus atque Antinoi flagravisse famoso ministerio neque alia de causa urbem conditam eius nomine aut locasse ephebo statuas.  Quae quidem alii pia volunt religiosaque: quippe Hadriano cupiente fatum producere, cum voluntarium ad vicem magi poposcissent, cunctis retractantibus Antinoum obiecisse se referunt, hincque in eum officia supra dicta.  Nos rem in medio relinquemus quamquam in remisso ingenio suspectam aestimantes societatem aevi longe imparilis.|
The Emperor Julian, The Caesars 311 C-D
Julian, known as “the Apostate”, was the last pagan Roman emperor, reigning 361-3, and tried to restore paganism in the face of recently-triumphant Christianity. His The Caesars is a short comic sketch written on the occasion of the Saturnalia in December 361, in which all the gods and emperors are invited to a banquet. As the emperors arrive in turn, the conversation between the seated gods allows Julian to pass judgement concisely on many of his predecessors. This is what was said of Hadrian:
St. Epiphanios, The Panarion “De Fide” 12 iii
In this chapter of his book of antidotes for those bitten by the serpent of heresy, written between 374 and 377, the Bishop of Salamis listed the various religious practices still current in Egypt.
The translation is by Frank Williams in Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, volume 79 (Leiden, 2013).
|The rites at Sais and Pelusium, at Bubastis and Abydus, the temples of Antinous and the mysteries there.||τά τε ἐν Σάϊ τά τε ἐν Πηλουσίῳ τά τε ἐν Βουβαστῷ τά τε ἐν Ἀβύδῃ τά τε τοῦ Ἀντινόου τεμένη, καὶ τὰ ἐκεῖσε μυστήρια, …|
St. Jerome, Chronicle
The Christian St. Jerome’s translation into Latin of the lost Greek Chronicle of Eusebios was written in about 381, while Eusebios’s original was written in about 311.
The translation is from the only full one yet published to be found at http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_chronicle_03_part2.htm
224th Olympiad, Hadrian 2
|Hadrian was most erudite in both languages, but also he was inadequately restrained in his lust for boys.||Hadrianus eruditissimus fuit in utraque lingua, sed in puerorum amore parum continens fuit.|
227th Olympiad, Hadrian 13
|Antinous, a boy of surpassingly exceptional beauty, died in Egypt. After Hadrian attentively carries out his funeral rites - for the boy had been treated as a darling - he declared him to be among the gods; a city was also named after him.||Antinous puer egregius eximiae pulchritudinis, in Aegypto moritur, quem Hadrianus diligenter sepeliens, --nam in deliciis habuerat-- in deos refert, ex cujus nomine etiam urbs appellata est.|
St. Jerome, On Illustrious Men XXII
The following passage written in 392 merely follows that quoted above by Eusebios, the footnotes to which apply here too.
The translation is by Ernest Cushing Richardson in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series volume III (Edinburgh, 1892).
|Moreover, arguing against idols, he [Hegesippos] wrote a history, showing from what error they had first arisen, and this work indicates in what age he flourished. He says, "They built monuments and temples to their dead as we see up to the present day, such as the one to Antinous, servant to the Emperor Hadrian, in whose honour also games were celebrated, and a city founded bearing his name, and a temple with priests established." The Emperor Hadrian is said to have been enamoured of Antinous.||Praeterea adversum idola disputans, ex quo primum errore crevissent, subtexit historiam, ex qua ostendit, qua floruerit aetate. Ait enim: Tumulos mortuis templaque fecerunt, sicut usque hodie videmus: e quibus est et Antinous servus Hadriani Caesaris, cui et gymnicus agon exercetur apud Antinoum civitatem, quam ex ejus nomine condidit, et statuit prophetas in templo. Antinoum autem in deliciis habuisse Caesar Hadrianus scribitur.|
St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus II 7
Also written in 392, the translation is by W. H. Fremantle in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series volume VI (Edinburgh, 1892).
|And to make us understand what sort of gods Egypt always welcomed, one of their cities was recently called Antinous after Hadrian's favourite.||Et ut sciremus quales deos semper Aegyptus recepisset, nuper ab Hadriani amasio urbs eorum Antinous appellata est.|
St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah I 2 vii
This Christian attack on pederasty was written in 410. The translation is this website’s.
|Moreover, the Greeks, and at times the Romans, exerted themselves in vice, so that the most famous of the philosophers of Greece were living in public with [male] concubines: and Hadrian, accomplished in the arts of philosophy, consecrated Antinous as a God, and instituted a temple to him and also beasts for sacrifice and priests, and the citizens and province of Egypt accepted it.||Intantum autem Graeci, et Romani hoc quondam vitio laboraverunt, ut et clarissimi philosophorum Graeciae haberent publice concubinos: et Adrianus philosophiae artibus eruditus, Antinoum consecrarit in Deum, templumque ei ac victimas, et sacerdotes instituerit, et ex eo Aegypti civitas ac regio nomen acceperit.|
Prudentius, A Reply to the Address of Symmachus, lines 271-7
The following passage by a Christian poet was written between 392 and 405.
The translation is by H. J. Thomson in the Loeb Classical Library volume CCCLXXXVII (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1949).
|There is Antinous too, set in a heavenly home, he who was the darling of an emperor now deified and in the imperial embrace was robbed of his manhood, the god Hadrian’s Ganymede, not handing cups to the gods, but reclining with Jupiter on the middle couch and quaffing the sacred liquor of ambrosial nectar, and listening to prayers in the temples with his husband!||quid loquar Antinoum caelesti in sede locatum, illum delicias nunc divi principis, illumpurpureo in gremio spoliatum sorte virili, Hadrianique dei Ganymedem, non cyathos dis porgere sed medio recubantem cum Iove fulcro nectaris ambrosii sacrum potare Lyaeum, cumque suo in templis vota exaudire marito?|
Sokrates of Constantinople, Church History III 23
The author, otherwise known as Socrates Scholasticus, finished his Christian history in 439 or soon after. The translation is from A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series volume II (Edinburgh, 1890).
The inhabitants of Cyzicus declared Hadrian to be the thirteenth god; and Hadrian himself deified his own catamite Antinoüs.
The Sibylline Oracles VIII lines 61-72
These are a chaotic medley of writings probably composed between the 2nd and 6th centuries and put together in their final form in the 7th century.
The translation is by Milton S. Terry in Sibylline Oracles, Translated from the Greek into English Blank Verse (New York, 1890) p. 177.
When thou hast had thrice five voluptuous kings,
And hast enslaved the world from east to west,
A gray-haired prince shall rise, bearing the name
Of the near sea, and with polluted foot
Will he survey the world, and gifts obtain,
And have vast sums of gold, and gather up
Of hateful silver more, and having stripped
[The peoples], he will then again return.
And in all mysteries will he partake
If Magian shrines, show forth a child as god,
Abolish all things sacred, and disclose
To all from the first the mysteries of deceit.
Chronicon Paschale 225th Olympiad, A.D. 122
This early 7th century chronicle followed various earlier ones. The translation is of the Greek text published in Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae: Chronicon Pachale volume I, edited by Ludwig Dindorf (Bonn, 1832) p. 475.
Hadrian went forth into Egypt. He builds the town of Antinous Thebaidos on 3 calends of November.
The Souda was a 10th-century Byzantine encyclopaedia of the ancient world based on ancient sources, but with some later interpolations.
The translation is from the online edition at http://www.stoa.org/sol/.
ἦν δὲ περιεργότατος καὶ μαντείαις καὶ μαγγανείαις παντοδαπαῖς ἐχρῆτο. παιδικά τε αὐτοῦ ἐγεγόνει Ἀντίνοός τις: ἔκτισε δὲ πόλιν καὶ συνῴκισεν ἀπ' αὐτοῦ τε ὠνόμασε. καί τινα ὁρῶντα Ἀντίνοον λέγειν.
Of Crete, a lyric poet, lived in the time of Hadrian, whose freedman he was and a very special friend. Accordingly he wrote in praise of Antinous, who was Hadrian's boy-friend;
Κρής, λυρικός, γεγονὼς ἐπὶ τῶν Ἀδριανοῦ χρόνων, ἀπελεύθερος αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα φίλος. γράφει οὖν εἰς Ἀντίνοον ἔπαινον, ὃς ἦν Ἀδριανοῦ παιδικά:
Rhetor. [He wrote] On the Figures of Diction; Hypotheses to Thoukydides and Demosthenes; Collection of Maxims; Consolation to Hadrian, for [sc. the death of] Antinous.
Περὶ τῶν τῆς λέξεως σχημάτων, Ὑποθέσεις τῶν Θουκυδίδου καὶ Δημοσθένους, Χρειῶν συναγωγήν, Ἀδριανῷ παραμυθητικὸν εἰς Ἀντίνοον.
| Loved One
For the most part the expression refers to the objects of lewd passion. "They say that Antinoos became Hadrian's darling, and that after his premature death [Hadrian] ordered that he be honoured with statues everywhere, and that ultimately a star appeared in the sky, which he used to say was Antinoos; and Hadrian was said to gaze into the sky."
ἡ δὲ λέξις ὡς ἐπιτοπολὺ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀσελγῶς ἐρωμένων. ὅτι τὸν Ἀντίνοόν φασι παιδικὰ Ἀδριανοῦ γενέσθαι, καὶ τούτου προτελευτήσαντος, πανταχοῦ ἀνδριάσι προστάξαι τιμηθῆναι, καὶ τέλος ἀστέρα τινὰ δοκεῖν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὃν Ἀντίνουν ἔλεγεν εἶναι: καὶ ἐλέγετο εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀφορᾶν Ἀδριανός.
 Caesar Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus.
 The Chronicon Paschale, qv., says Antinoopolis was founded on 30 October. It has often been inferred from this that Antinous died only a few days before that, but Jean-Claude Grenier in his “L’Osiris Antinoos” in Cahiers Égypte Nilotique et Méditerranéenne, Montpellier, 2008, pp. 55 argues convincingly that he died in August or September and probably on 6 August. This is supported by St. Jerome’s Chronicle, which says he died in the 13th year of Hadrian’s reign, which ended in August.
 However, the mass of inscriptions mentioning Antinous as a god, but giving no information on his life, are beyond the scope of this article.
 Royston Lambert, Beloved and God (London, 1984) p. 60, claims as evidence that Antinous was taken straight from his birthplace to Rome a mutilated inscription on the Obelisk of Antinous saying he “was already from his birthplace by the … taken away [/raised up] by …”on the basis of the inscription on the obelisk by A. Erman, “Römischer Obelisken” in Abhandlungen köngl. preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaft, IV (1917), but the inscription number he cites is not there, and in any case there is no such phrase in Grenier’s improved reading of the obelisk presented here.
 Lambert, op. cit., pp. 61-2. He discusses the inference that the Arch of Constantine illustrates Antinous's life on pp. 50-1 & 60.
 Lambert, op. cit., pp. 128-42
 Unfortunately the papyrus (used as a bottle stopper) breaks off at this crucial moment. However, it can be inferred from the bronze medallions and tondo on the Arch of Constantine, all shown here, and perhaps from Aelius Apartianus, Hadrian XXVI that Hadrian killed the lion, thus saving Antinous’s life. If Antinous did soon after sacrifice his life for Hadrian, it may have been partly in gratitude for this.
 Hylas, Kyparissos and Narkissos were all loved boys who died in their youth. The first and last died in or by water, so this association of Antinous with them is additional evidence that he drowned.
 This has often been interpreted as indicating that Antinous sacrificed his life voluntarily, feeling called to do so by the gods.
 9 June.
 Therefore 27 November.
 1 January 133.
 Cary and Foster’s “favourite” has here been replaced with “loved-boy”, as a more precise translation of Clement’s ἐρώμενος.
 A substantial papyrus fragment of the poem (from which the claim that the lion had made much of Libya uninhabitable before the emperor intervened—probably an echo of Hdt. 1.36.1— is presumably drawn) is preserved (Pancrates fr. 2, pp. 52–4 Heitsch) and makes it clear that Antinous too was supposed to have participated in the hunt. [Note to this point by the translator]. It is presented here as The Lion Hunt by Pankrates.
 The Greek word here is παιδικὰ, which denotes the boy in a pederastic love affair, and is here translated as “loved-boy” in preference to Brownson’s vaguer “favourite youth”.
 The Greek word here is παιδικῶν, meaning a boy loved by a man, here translated as “loved-boy” rather than Chadwick’s vaguer “favourite”.
 The Greek word here is παιδικοῖς, meaning a boy loved by a man, here translated as “loved-boy” rather than Chadwick’s vaguer “favourite”.
 In the original text of Celsus αὐτῷ must have referred to Jesus; Origen takes it here to mean Antinous. [Note by Chadwick]
 Chadwick’s “favourite” for “παιδικά” has again been amended to the more accurate “loved-boy”.
 “And was loved by” is a literal translation of “fuitque in amore” and has been use in amendment of Magie’s “became a favourite of”. Taken literally, there is no objection to Magie’s rendering, but it is better avoided in view of the frequent use by translators of the word “favourite” as a euphemism for the various words meaning a loved boy in ancient texts. The Latin amor need not have sexual connotations; Hadrian was already 22 at Trajan’s accession, and if either man was thought to have taken the passive sexual role, this would have been too discreditable to have escaped much wider notice.
 Pedagogos were tutors or men otherwise employed to look after boys, so Magie’s strange translation of them as “guardians” has been amended to “tutors”. It looks as though Trajan’s loved boys here were pages in his household.
 The text is defective. It looks from the context as though Trajan was irritated by Hadrian getting too close to his boys, and that someone called Gallus had intervened to try to restore him to favour.
 Magie’s extremely shoddy translation of “curasse delicates” as “corrupting his favourites” has been amended to “cultivating his pleasure-boys”. Curasse has nothing to do with corrupting. See the website's glossary for the precise meaning of delicatus.
 Presumably out of prudishness, Magie omitted to translate the words “saepe inisse”, of which “saepe” means "frequently" and “inisse” literally “to enter” but, in a pederastic context, “to pedicate”.
 Magie here adds words not in the Latin, translating “Antinoum suum” as “Antinous, his favourite” rather than simply “his Antinous”, and translating “quem” as “and for this youth” rather than “for whom.”
 Hegesippos was a Christian polemicist whose lost writings were composed ca. 175-180.
 A cenotaph is a monument in the form of a tomb but with no body in it. [Note by the translator]
 Royston Lambert, op. cit., pp. 20-21 rejects the possibility Antinous was really a slave. His main grounds are that deifying a slave would have outraged society far more than so elevating a free catamite, that Hegesippos, besides the citation of him by Eusebios and St. Jerome, is the only ancient writer to claim this, while, if it were true, the other hostile writers, whether Christian or pagan, would not have hesitated to say so. Also, Hadrian personally was incensed with slaves who did not know their place.
 The Latin word here is “puberibus” the dative plural of pubes which means people (implicitly male) having reached puberty”, not “men” as Bird has here translated it.
 Instead of “those”, Bird has here interpolated a noun “men” which does not exist in the Latin.
 Implicitly, Latin and Greek.
 The Latin word here, “amore”, is usually translated as “love” rather than “lust”.
 Emperors from Julius to Hadrian; a round number, but inexact. [Note by the translator]
 Hadrian. Comp. book v, 65. [Note by the translator]
 Reference to the beautiful youth Antinous, whom Hadrian sought to deify. [Note by the translator]
 The year is an obvious error contradicted by, for example, St. Jerome’s Chronicle quoted above. Hadrian was only in Egypt in 130-1.
 The Thebais was the southernmost region of Egypt where Antinooplois was built.
 30 October, implying Antinous had died by this date.
 This last sentence is somewhat sketchy, but perhaps refers to Dio's account that Hadrian saw a star which he was convinced was the spirit of Antinoos. [Note by the translator]
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Stephanie, 01 January 2021
Thank you for your research on the topic of Hadrian and Antinous's love. There are some texts quoted here, that give an interesting insight in Hadrian's time and people's view on the matter of Greek Love or religious beliefs.