HERE IS an Antinous image rarely seen, but which I love.
Let me first call attention to the wonderful way that his name is written, combining the second two letters.
I love it...too bad it has been defaced...because I love the body and the stance.
And I would say that this is the only Antinous shown holding a spear. Historical record states that Antinous hurled an adamantine-tipped spear at a man-eating lion in Egypt ...
It was found in the ancient Roman stadium in the city of Plovdiv in Bulgaria, called Philippopolis in Roman times.
Games were held in Philippopolis like those in Greece. The games were organized by the General Assembly of the province of Thrace.
This marble slab was found during excavations at the stadium proving that there were games celebrating Antinous. Games in honor of Antinous were held in ANTINOOPOLIS and in numerous other cities in the Eastern Empire.
This votive tablet dedicated to Antinous is exibited in the PLOVDIV ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM.
The inscription on the slab reads:
On a number of coins of Antinous, he is honored as a hero. Syncretism of Antinous with locally relevant heroes of various types is certainly a likely thing to have occurred.
Even Hadrian himself honored Antinous as a hero in at least one location: the temple founded in Socanica, Dalmatia (modern Croatia), which was co-founded with his adopted heir, Aelius Caesar, in 136 AD.
Of the various classes of divine being that existed for the Greeks, heroes are an interesting option. Gods are gods, and demigods are often born of a god and one mortal parent.
Many heroes seem to have started out as strictly mortal. Whatever the cultic or theological reality may be in each individual case, perhaps the main distinction is that most gods have a timeless and almost eternal quality about them, whereas heroes have a beginning and an end in death, but a very glorious afterlife.
Some heroes such as Hercules were eventually deified. The same happened in the case of "Antinous the Hero," who underwent apotheosis and became "Antinous the Good God."
There always seems to be something new to learn about Antinous.
There always seems to be another image, another bust, even another statue, such as the "Dresden Antinous" shown here, which Priest Julien and I were honored to see at the GETTY VILLA MUSEUM, where it was painstakingly restored before being returned to Germany...
There could well be others hidden away in private collections ....