Monday, September 24, 2018


ANTINOUS is the star of a new exhibition at Oxford University's Ashmolean Museum which opens 25 September 2018 and runs through 24 February 2019.

This exhibition focuses on one of the most important surviving portraits of Antinous ... a unique, INSCRIBED BUST bust dated AD 130–138 which was discovered in Syria in 1879. 

On loan from a private collection, the bust was recently conserved by the Ashmolean and a magnificent new plaster cast was made for display in the Museum. 

The ASHMOLEAN ANTINOUS EXHIBITION will show casts of other key portraits, as well as coins of Antinous, medals and bronze figurines made between the second and eighteenth centuries.

The exhibition explores the archaeology of Antinous's religion and how his unforgettable portrait image was disseminated across the empire, turning a country-boy into a hero and god with a legacy extending from antiquity into the modern world.

Bert Smith, Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology at Oxford and exhibition curator, says: "Hadrian and Antinous are considered the most famous same-sex relationship in antiquity. The later written-record is marked by a moralising, often condemnatory tone.

"But Antinous’s image, recorded in artworks, coins and monuments, offers a different perspective. These remarkable objects tell the story of a boy-made-god who had a cultural and religious significance that extended across the Roman Empire."

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