I go over this question again and again,
I haven't stopped wondering... and quite honestly,
I still don't know what to think...about how Antinous died.
Any possibility is probable...even Human sacrifice.
The ancients alluded to the rumors...so anyone who repeats them
...is being a scholar.
Dio Cassius suggested (or rather claimed) that Hadrian
Had the body of Antinous cut open for the examination of his organs,
Not to find the cause of death, as in an autopsy
But to examine the organs...for divination.
These were the organs of a god to be.
Horrible, and macabre
but why wouldn't Hadrian have every inch and morsel
Of his beloved Antinous examined and studied,
...Treated like sacred jewels from the depths
Of the most beautiful corpse?
I think we are all in agreement that,
The Body of Antinous was very likely Mummified.
That it was not buried in the earth...like a Greek of a Christian,
Nor laid in the tomb, covered in oil and herbs like a Jew
Nor burned on the pyre...like a Roman,
But that Antinous was very likely given the burial rites
Of an Egyptian King...a fashion still popular
Among the rich Hellenistic- Roman Nobility.
We have all seen the fayoum funereal paintings.
If you could afford it...you would be given the very best version
Of an ancient Egyptian Royal burial,
Your Body would be preserved to the very best of Mummification
Possible at that time...not quite as well as the ancients, but basically well preserved.
Hadrian, I imagine, paid top Sesterses
To have the Body of Antinous treated with the greatest and most sacred respect
Due the highest of kings
The best of the best were brought to Antinoopolis to Mummify the body of Antinous.
It seems very likely to think that the Roman Augurs,
Who were always part of the court, would want to examine
The organs of Antinous, before they were preserved in salt and nitron,
And gain whatever spiritual significance they might reveal,
...like a sacrificial Animal.
Why wouldn't they want to know if there was anything to be known
From the lobes of his liver and spleen,
Ridiculous as it may sound to us now,
And scandalous as it might seem to a Roman...and especially to a Christian.
Why wouldn't they make their examination,
Before his beautiful organs were dried and placed in their eternal alabaster urns?
Hadrian would have wanted to know why.
Maybe the slander came from the fact that his organs were examined,
Like a sacrificial lamb, or a bull.
Many of the coins of Antinous have a bull or a ram on the reverse,
Perhaps because Antinous was the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."
In slanderous minds...some would say
That he died..for no other reason than to be examined,
...as though Hadrian slit his neck.
Antinous threw himself into the Nile...he died,
But even Hadrian had no idea why,
Hadrian only said that Antinous fell,
...if we are going to be scholars,
The ancient suggest that he drowned to prolong Hadrian's life,
Or rather...if Hadrian represents the Empire,
Then Antinous died for the benefit of the Roman Empire.
Dio Cassius, in his effort to belittle Hadrian,
Made the death of Antinous out to be a sacrifice to Hadrian's vanity,
But avoided the relevance of Hadrian's life to the benefit of all Romans.
If Antinous gave his life to prolong the life of Hadrian,
He was actually giving his life...in human sacrifice,
To prolong the benefit that Hadrian had brought to mankind,
To the whole of the Roman Empire.
If it was suggested to Antinous that by the sacrifice
Of that which was most dear to Hadrian,
That Hadrian would continue to live beyond his natural years,
If Antinous Loved Hadrian...as I feel that he did,
And if Antinous believed in Hadrian...what he meant to the world,
What he had done for Rome...for all mankind,
And what he could do in the future,
If someone were to suggest that through his own death,
Antinous could benefit Hadrian and ensure that Hadrian would continue to reign,
Do you think that Antinous would hesitate?
Of course he would hesitate.
There was more involved than we know,
Something happened...there was some kind of separation of the heart.
Antinous would have found some other way to benefit Hadrian,
With his life...by living...unless there was no other way.
If Antinous gave his life as a human sacrifice,
It would have been a very extreme psychological despair
That led him to take his own life...what could that have been?
Knowing what I know about Love,
I would say that it was simple acts of cruelty
That led to the end of Antinous.
Hadrian must have treated Antinous in a cruel manner
leading up to that sacred night in October of 130.
Antinous must have felt worthless to Hadrian,
Ruler of the Known World,
Hadrian might have said something that pushed Antinous
Over the edge.
Antinous was only a boy of 18 or 19,
Full of emotional turmoil,
The slightest word from Hadrian
Might have set Antinous...full of teenage hormones,
into an unbalanced, irrational state,
in which he was capable of anything.
Their relationship had no equality,
Hadrian was ruler of the world,
Antinous was nobody...a pretty boy
With thousands of rivals, an Empress who probably didn't approve,
And a rival in Lucius Verus...Antinous was harassed
On all sides by everyone who had something to gain,
And then there was that person who suggested
That if Antinous gave his life,
That the reign of Hadrian would continue.
Hadrian cried as woman because he knew the real reason why
Antinous died...Hadrian knew...and he cried...because he knew.
There must have been a final moment between them,
A final goodbye....that left Hadrian full of regret,
Our Religion is founded on Hadrian's regret
I think Antinous drowned for his own personal reasons,
He fell into the Nile by accident,
Maybe he was drunk,
Maybe he was suicidal...drowning off a boat is
A hard way to kill your self on purpose,
But there are others who have slipped into the river
And drowned...who were considered gods.
Who knows...rivers have no answers.
In Antinous...I feel that he gave himself to the Nile
He gave himself to such an extent that he died,
Whether by accident.... drunk...or visionary,
Antinous died in the Nile...he drowned.
So why do we worship him?
because Antinous is the god of the gays
There is no other gay god except Antinous,
Find fault in H.I.M. if you wish,
But Antinous is great and strong....
For those who see and know HIM,
There is no such thing as weakness,