Shelves: biography This book appears to cover everything there is to cover about the relationship of the Roman emperor Hadrian and his early-deceased, then immortalized, young male companion probably lover Antinous. In addition, the text pays a great deal of attention to the many and varied artistic representations of This book appears to cover everything there is to cover about the relationship of the Roman emperor Hadrian and his early-deceased, then immortalized, young male companion probably lover Antinous. In addition, the text pays a great deal of attention to the many and varied artistic representations of Antinous. I found the lengthy discussions of art, mostly sculptural, to be rather boring and suspiciously subjective. Lambert reads a heck of a lot into the pieces, aspects of meaning that often were not suggested to me at all by the photographic plates provided for some of the items.
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Such a societal institution of pederasty was not indigenous to Roman culture, although bisexuality was the norm in the upper echelons of Roman society by the early 2nd century and was widely socially accepted. It is generally agreed, although not proven, that Antinous was also initiated at that time. From there, Hadrian became increasingly critical of Jewish culture, which he feared opposed Romanisation, and so introduced policies banning circumcision and building a Temple of Zeus-Jupiter on the former site of the Jewish Temple.
From there, they headed to Egypt. On this tondo it was clear that Antinous was no longer a youth, having become more muscular and hairy, perceptibly more able to resist his master; and thus it is likely that his relationship with Hadrian was changing as a result. The retinue included officials, the Prefect, army and naval commanders, as well as literary and scholarly figures. However, Lambert asserted that this was unlikely because it lacked any supporting historical evidence, and because Antinous himself seemingly exerted little influence over Hadrian, thus meaning that an assassination served little purpose.
However, this is improbable because Hadrian deemed both castration and circumcision to be abominations and as Antinous was aged between 18 and 20 at the time of death, any such operation would have been ineffective. However, in the surviving evidence Hadrian does not describe the death as being an accident; Lambert thought that this was suspicious.
Conversely, opposing this possibility is the fact that Hadrian disliked human sacrifice and had strengthened laws against it in the Empire. Hadrian was devastated by the death of Antinous, and possibly also experiencing remorse. In some inscriptions he is identified as a divine hero, in others as a god, and in others as both a divine hero and a god. Conversely, in many Egyptian inscriptions he is described as both a hero and a god, while in others he was seen as a full god, and in Egypt, he was often understood as a daemon.
All previous buildings were razed and replaced, with the exception of the Temple of Ramses II. Known as the Antinoeia, they would be held annually for several centuries, being noted as the most important in Egypt. Events included athletic competitions, chariot and equestrian races, and artistic and musical festivals, with prizes including citizenship, money, tokens, and free lifetime maintenance.
He focused on its spread within the Greek lands, and in Summer travelled these areas promoting it by presenting Antinous in a syncretised form with the more familiar deity Hermes. Like the latter, Antinous was treated as a dying-and-rising god not only in Egypt, but in Rome and Greece; the Obelisk of Antinous in Rome describes the honorand, "Osirantinous" as "the Reborn" and "the Everlasting".
Many were designed to be used as medallions rather than currency, some of them deliberately made with a hole so that they could be hung from the neck and used as talismans. The pagan philosopher Celsus also criticised it for what he perceived as the debauched nature of its Egyptian devotees, arguing that it led people into immoral behaviour, in this way comparing it to Christianity.
Viewing the religion as a blasphemous rival to Christianity, they insisted that Antinous had simply been a mortal human and condemned his sexual activities with Hadrian as immoral.
Associating his cult with malevolent magic, they argued that Hadrian had imposed his worship through fear. As a result of this, the Christian poet Prudentius denounced his worship in , while a set of seven contorniates depicting Antinous were issued, based upon the designs of those issued in the s.
Although many of the sculptures are instantly recognizable, some offer significant variation in terms of the suppleness and sensuality of the pose and features versus the rigidity and typical masculinity.
Beloved and God : the story of Hadrian and Antinous
The scandal was not really about two men having sex; it was about two men having very real feelings for each other. Many of the sources documenting his legend are considered unreliable. As Antinous was a lowly Greek servant, even less of his story is written with any complete certainty. We do know that Antinous was Greek and exceptionally beautiful. Hadrian fell madly in love with him and made no secret of his affections for the young beauty. Active Emperor For a Roman Emperor to take a male lover was not a huge deal. Also as long as the sex object was a foreigner, as Antinous the Greek was, then it became even easier to accept.
Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous