Life of Antinous

27 Nov 2020  Fri

Antinous was a Bithynian Greek youth and a favourite beloved of the Roman emperor Hadrian. After his premature death before his twentieth birthday, Antinous was deified on Hadrian’s orders, being worshipped in both the Greek East and Latin West, sometimes as a god (theos) and sometimes merely as a hero.

It is known that he was born in Claudiopolis (present-day Bolu, Turkey), in the Roman province of Bithynia et Pontus. He was probably introduced to Hadrian in 123, before being taken to Italy for higher education. He had become the favourite of Hadrian by 128 when he was taken on a tour of the Roman Empire as part of Hadrian's personal retinue.

Hadrian erected temples to him throughout the empire and founded a city, named Antinoopolis, in his honour, near the place where he died. An obelisk, now in Rome near the Porta Maggiore, marked his tomb. Many sculptures, gems, and coins survive depicting Antinous as a model of youthful beauty.

Coin from Tarsos, Cilicia depicted draped bust right, wearing a small hem-hem crown and ivy wreath, star in upper right field on its obverse face. The reverse of a coin represents Dionysos, holding transverse thyros, riding on panther right.

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