THIS exquisite bronze statuette of Antinous recently sold at auction for an undisclosed sum to an Antinomaniac collector in Europe.
Its provenance is Britannia in the 1st Century AD. A metal detectorist found it in a field in Norfolk England several years ago.
The 20cm (8 inch) statuette is in near mint condition.
It is identified as Antinous because of the ubiquitous lotus blossom on the top of his head. Only Antinous wears this remarkable attribute.
The poet Pancratus says that, when Hadrian and Antinous slew a man-eating lion in the western desert of Egypt, rosy lotus blossoms sprang forth from the soil where droplets of the lion's blood splattered on the ground.
Thus the rosy lotus (pink waterlily) has always been associated with Antinous and such blossoms were affixed to the brow of his statues in ancient times.
His brow is also adorned with the topknot of Apollo ... a deity with him Antinous was often associated in ancient times.
In his left hand, Antinous carries a highly detailed victory wreath.
In his right hand, Antinous is holding a long-necked bird by its feet ... a bird resembling a cormorant.
The cormorant is an aquatic bird native to many parts of the world including the Nile Valley and parts of Britain.
Cormorants are distinctive for their long necks and for their habit of holding their wings outspread to dry their flight feathers after diving into water in search of fish.
The bird held by this little bronze Antinous has a long neck and outspread wings like a cormorant.
Antonius Subia, founder of our modern-day religion of Antinous, says:
"The cormorant holds a special place in our faith because it may have been the only creature to have witnessed what happened to Antinous on that fateful day in October 130 AD when he died in the Nile."
High Priest Antonius explains that other birds were either on land or in the air ... like the ibis ... or else they were on the water's surface ... like ducks.
But only the cormorant had the ability to plunge into the depths of the Nile to witness the fate of Antinous.
As the curly-haired head of Antinous vanished beneath the waves, only the cormorant would have been able to dive into the Nile and seize his soul and escort it through the Underworld back into the heavens ... and soar with it towards the sun.
In one hand, Antinous holds the bird which witnessed his deification whilst, in the other hand, he holds the wreath of victory over death.