Today is the birthday (dies natalis Antinoi) of Antinous, deified lover of the Emperor Hadrian, who will be coming along in a generation or so (we’ve already met Hadrian’s foster father, Trajan). Antinous was born in Bithynia, a place which you’ll find reference to in the print version of SPQR Blues (which MUST get sent out before this year is done). Antinous died young and under mysterious circumstances–whether accident, suicide, sacrifice, or murder is unresolved. The emperor made him a god. For almost two thousand years he’s been a symbol of male beauty and enduring love.

I was reminded of the birthday by the very interesting twitter account and website Following Hadrian–well worth following–where there are nice pics of some excellent examples of the many, many statues dedicated to the young man, including one that still has traces of red paint on the hair. (Remind you of anyone?)

(Image: Following Hadrian, @carolemadge)