WAS Antinous really this chubby? And did Hadrian really look like a lowly bureaucrat as these two sculptures suggest?
Experts on Antinous and Hadrian are hotly discussing this question ... despite the fact that the Alexandria Museum insists they are sculptures of the two lovers.
You can take a first-hand look yourself because both are on view in London at the exhibition entitled SUNKEN CITIES: EGYPT'S LOST WORLDS which runs through 27 November 2016 ... the birthday of Antinous!
They are among some fabulous Egyptian monuments and treasures which Antinous himself may have seen ... but which were lost at the bottom of the sea for centuries.
This 2nd Century AD statue (allegedly) depicts Antinous in a Romanized-Egyptian style as a royal personage striding with his left foot forward ... as was the traditional depiction of Egyptian pharaohs and gods.
He is wearing the traditional dynastic kilt which gods and pharaohs were always shown as wearing.
In addition, he appears to have a Uraeus stylized spitting cobra as the centerpiece of his wig-like headdress.
One fist is visible, clinched in the ages-old symbol of divine power seen on countless statues of deities and pharaohs throughout the ages.
It is one of the most unusual statues depicting Antinous as Osiris. The workmanship is more Greco-Roman than Egyptian around the head and face ... but the body adheres to traditional Egyptian artistic style mandates.
He has a rather pensive expression on his face, as if he is gazing off into the far distance.
Originally, of course, the eye sockets would have had gemstone-and-ivory eyes, perhaps outlined with copper "eyeliner."
This splendid statue is part of the stunning exhibition currently on show in London which includes sunken treasures.
You have all heard of Franck Goddio, the French marine archeologist who made headlines in the 1990s with his discovery in the Bay of Alexandria of ruins and artefacts which appear to have come from royal palaces, temples and perhaps even the Pharos lighthouse.
Since first discovering the Alexandria treasures, Monsieur Goddio has gone on to trawl the waters a few kilometres east of Alexandria in hopes of discovering the fabled "Lost Cities" of Canopus and HERAKLEION (Heracleion), which he succeeded in finding in 2000.
Goddio's exhibition of "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" has traveled the world.
Now, Goddio is back with even more artifacts retrieved from the bottom of the sea … at the BRITISH MUSEUM Sunken Cities exhibition in London.
The exhibition opened 19 May runs through 27 November 2016 ... which is the birthday of Antinous.
It offers a rare public viewing of newly discovered Canopus-Herakleion treasures since the two cities vanished below the waves in a series of floods and earthquakes, finally disappearing completely in the late 7th Century AD.
By that time, Egyptian priests had retreated to Canopus-Herakleion and Muslims were sweeping across the land.
Thus the exhibition offers a sort of time capsule of the waning days of paganism when the "barbarians" literally stood at the gates.
There are many statues, mostly fragmentary ones minus heads and limbs ... and one (alleged) statue of Antinous with a facial expression of pensive introspection.