THE second layer of the four Layers of Antinous is that of a hero. The definition of a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. According to Royston Lambert, the moment that Antinous’ immortal status was defined it was most often a hero.
In Socanica in the year 137 both Hadrian and Aelius Caesar built a temple to Antinous the Hero.
In many cities there were coins minted calling Antinous the hero. Lambert says, “that heroes could readily be summoned by sacrifice and supplication to bring succor and protection to the living, to utter oracles and work miracles immediately approachable than these distant gods, more likely to respond positively and actively to his votaries’ prayers”. This is the role that people attached to Antinous.
What we see in the Greek hero’s is that they faced death willingly, exhibiting no fear of the injury or death. This reminds us so much of the lion hunt. Antinous willingly charging toward a huge, furious lion showing no fear.
Then we have the final sacrifice when Antinous gave his life for that of his Emperor and love. The willingness of giving himself, conquering fear as the waters of the Nile overtook him.
People argue that humans are born either good or bad but, that is nonsense according to Phillip Zimbardo a world renowned psychologist. He says we are all born to be anything, and we are shaped by our circumstances, by the family or culture of the time period we grow up in. Most heroes are ordinary people, it’s the ACT that’s extraordinary. Antinous as Hero gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life.
Some key insights from research that Phillip Zimbardo has done shows the following.
Opportunity matters: There were times that Antinous had the opportunity. The lion hunt, the illness of Hadrian and wanting to give Hadrian more years to extend his life.
Education matters: The more educated you are, the more likely you are to be a hero, I think because you are more aware of situations (Phillip Zimbardo). Antinous had the best education that one could have in the 2nd century AD.
Personal history matters: Having survived a disaster or personal trauma makes you three times more likely to be a hero (Phillip Zimbardo). Antinous at some point could have gone through a personal trauma when he was young.
Antinous is our Hero. He is the example. We may not give our life but, we can certainly help others in need no matter how small. You may well be a hero to someone.
Priest of Antinous