The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
Sacred Texts
  ~000 Introduction
  ~001 Arrival at Caelian Hill
  ~002 Life at the Paedagogium
  ~003 Monsters and Heroes
  ~004 The Private Baths
  ~005 The Soaps of Cyprias
  ~006 The Treachery of Gryllus
  ~007 Assurances and Endurances
  ~008 The Demise of Trenus
  ~009 The Surprise Inspection
  ~010 Little Donkey
  ~011 Whispering Hope
  ~012 Epigrams for Antinous
  ~013 Books from Maltinus
  ~014 Little Signals
  ~015 Promotion
  ~016 Juvenalis IX
  ~017 A Frothy Idea
  ~018 Evening on the Riverbank
  ~019 Across the Leagues
  ~020 Unprecedented Access
  ~021 Winged Mercury
  ~022 Dinner Guest
  ~023 Causes of Nausea
  ~024 New Pupil
  ~025 Wax, Soap, and Wool
  ~026 Four Daughters
  ~027 Vitalis Atones
  ~028 Futures and Histories...
  ~029 The Triumph of Desire
  ~030 An Image of Antinous
  ~031 The Ride From Rome
  ~032 The Villa at Tibur
  ~033 The Ride To Rome
  ~034 Praeconina
  ~035 Foolish Carisius
  ~036 The Christian Texts
  ~037 Married Pleasures
  ~038 In Tibur, Alone
  ~039 The End of Corinthus
  ~040 Turning Tables
  ~041 A History & Fantasy...
  ~042 A Sad Collection
  ~043 Rafts in a Raging Sea
  ~044 Rome, Home and History
  ~045 A Caravan of Monologue
  ~046 On Favorinus
  ~047 The Flesh of a Metaphor
  ~048 Disquieting Thoughts
  ~049 Purple Reign
  ~050 The Heart of Numidia
  ~051 Stables of the Palatine
  ~052 Hadrian's Deprivation
  ~053 Transcripts and Categories
  ~054 In the Wake of a Paradox
  ~055 Father of the Country
  ~056 The First Night with Hadrian
  ~057 A Place in the World
  ~058 Hard Resolution
  ~059 Announcements...
  ~060 Keeping Company
  ~061 The Stallions' Ride
  ~062 The Tour Begins
  ~063 On the Isthmus
  ~064 On Grief
  ~065 The Eleusian Mysteries
  ~066 A Playful Wager
  ~067 The Delights of Athens
  ~068 On Receiving
  ~069 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~070 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~071 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~072 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~073 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~075 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~078 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~080 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~081 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~083 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~084 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~090 Epistle Coming Soon
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Phallic Amulets

Evening on the Riverbank


It worked! Epeius shines! In addition, he has about him the very pleasing scent of rosemary – a fragrance that, in my opinion, works to fire the intellect as its essence fills the head of whoever is given to ride. And that person, it so happens, is the Emperor Hadrian.

He entered the stables the day after I finished washing his horse. He greeted me respectfully and engaged in some polite conversation, and then turned toward Epeius. He noticed instantly that something was different, and leaned in to inhale the scent that was emanating from the horse’s mane. “I should imagine this horse has been wedded with the spirit of wild Italia,” he mused. I held up the bar of soap to him and explained what I had done. He was delighted, and ensured that everyone in his train knew of it. He mounted Epeius, and called out to me to enjoy my leisure-time. Then, with courtiers, corporals and Corinthus in tow, he trotted off to Tibur.

What to do with my extra time? I chose to help Anaxamenos and his new assistant, Bromidus, with their duties, and thus the two of them also benefited from getting their work done sooner than expected. To celebrate, Anaxamenos left Bromidus in charge of the Tack for the rest of the day, and the two of us then skipped off together for a good and vigorous Roman adventure.

I took him to see Maltinus, for I had been meaning to visit my former tutor for a very long time, and needed as well to return his books. He was delighted to see Anaxamenos after several years, and the three of us decided to take our supper together on the bank of the river. Maltinus asked us to wait for him while he packed a small bag. Then, as we walked toward the market to purchase our food, I asked him if he had received anything from the Emperor. Maltinus smiled broadly: “I most certainly have,” he said, and told me that Hadrian had rewarded him very generously. “In fact, I used a portion of the money to buy, as a gift, one more book for Antinous.”

I was overjoyed at his announcement, and asked him what it was. He counseled me to be patient, for it would be revealed when we had reached our destination. Anaxamenos laughed at my obvious impatience to receive it, affirming to us all why I was indeed called “the literate one.” Maltinus delighted in learning of my nickname, for he could hardly disagree.

Maltinus was very generous in offering to buy for us all our dinner. We selected a bread and some fruits, a round of cheese, a small basket of olives, and a jug of wine. And then we continued on toward the banks of the Tibur, arriving there just in time to watch the sun begin its descent below the horizon.

As Anaxamenos arranged the food, Maltinus pulled from his bag my gift. “It is a copy,” he said, “too rarely transcribed, of the letters of Aristotle addressed to his pupil, Hephaestion. I should think it will serve you well: the sage advice of a great philosopher who counsels most personally to a very particular person on how best to receive the ardent love of a king.” I was astonished – for here was my very own tutor in the role of Aristotle, calling me Hephaestion, and naming the Emperor Hadrian as my personal Alexander. “But Hadrian has not embraced me,” I told him softly. Maltinus smiled knowingly: “He will.”

As we ate and watched the sun set, Maltinus spoke glowingly of his daughters. He described them each to us and it was clear to me that Anaxamenos was very interested in hearing of them. Maltinus joked with him that his eldest – Palmetta – had already been offered to me, and we laughed at that, for the truth was that Maltinus had always bestowed on Palmetta the trust to allow her to choose for herself whom she wished to marry. “And if it will be either of you,” said Maltinus, “I should be very happy to consent.” With that, Anaxamenos and I good-naturedly agreed that we would not duel for her, but come to a very civil agreement over who it was that should win her.

At last Maltinus announced that he was obligated to return to the Caelian, and after I thanked him lovingly for his gift, he left the two of us alone to watch the stars come out. Together, Anaxamenos and I lay on the grasses side by side, staring up into the heavens. The constellation of Leo was directly overhead; Boötes the hunter had him firmly in his sights. Anaxamenos wondered aloud at the shape of his future: “I am nineteen,” he said, “and I have not done too badly at the palace. I’ve had some lovers – good men, all of them – and they have given me much to celebrate. But what is most gratifying to me has been the admiration of Florentius, who has told me lately that he is working to have me promoted to Officer of the Stables so that he, in turn, can trundle off to Gaul.”

I was very happy to hear this news. “But haven’t you lived enough in the stables?” I asked him. He smiled at that, just as a shooting star cut a white gash across the heavens above us. The sky had already healed itself by the time he spoke again: “This city,” he said, “delights me far too much. I am so very comfortable here. I have many friends; many good memories. And I have no aspiration to blaze a monumental career across the provinces. No. Something modest is all I require: a modest work with modest pay. A wife, a son, a life of simple cheer and honest company – what more is needed? There are many vipers here in Rome, but there are also a good many laudable souls. I know far more of the good ones than the bad, and in my fellowship with them I am truly content. Why abandon it? Give me the horses, the stables, the occasional praise of my Emperor for a job well done, and I am quite satisfied.”

I felt a great surge of love for him then. Of warmth and fondness for this robust young man – four years my senior – who so inspired me by his noble simplicity; by his great embrace of all that was pure and unaffected. I felt honoured that he had included me within the span of his strong and encompassing arms of affection. My body sent me a signal then: a quickening of the blood that I suddenly wanted desperately to indulge. I hoped that Anaxamenos would allow me to do so. I sat up so that I could look down at him. He was sprawled openly upon the ground, his legs apart like a wishbone. I smiled at him, and he smiled back at me, amused: “What are you looking at, Antinous?” I put my hand onto his, and said, “I wish to pleasure you. I wish to taste your body.”

He beheld me then for a time, staring up into my eyes. “You prefer men,” he said. I thought about what he had just uttered. About the simplicity of the statement – so honest and forthright; so devoid of malice or double meaning; so very much like him. He was right. I did indeed prefer their flesh over that of a woman’s. I nodded. He seemed saddened then, and smiled sadly: “But me, I do not.” I considered that, and replied, “I do not expect you, Anaxamenos, to be for me what I wish to be for you. To have you in my mouth is all the pleasure I require.” He considered my words, and at last he spoke, “You are very generous, Antinous. How can I refuse you?” And with that he pulled up his tunic for me and shut his eyes.

I touched his loincloth, and massaged it slowly until I felt him harden beneath it. Then I pulled it down to his knees, and he kicked his legs out so that he could spread them as before. I lay down between his thighs, my belly upon the grass, my head positioned above his groin. And then I lowered my face upon him, taking him slowly into my mouth. The smell of him was pungent, absolute, and immediate. I tumbled heavily into it, marveling at the intensity, the magnitude, the essential purity of Anaxamenos as he filled both my nose and my throat; as his stomach became a wall before my eyes; as his body began to writhe around me. I rejoiced, for I knew that I already possessed a formidable skill well worth boasting of. I could easily imagine the steady, rhythmic warmth I was causing now to blossom between his legs, and I felt a great, personal pride at both the opportunity and honour to provide it to such a deserving friend. Too quickly, alas, his legs began to twitch. His body tensed – the muscles within it strained and tightened, coiled themselves up for the inevitable release. And then he surrendered: his flesh convulsed in pleasure, the warm liquid flowed easily from one grateful body into another, and I swallowed it most lovingly.

Anaxamenos groaned as I sat up and wiped my mouth. “By the gods, Antinous, you have more talent than a vast majority of the whores I have visited in all my time upon the earth.” I laughed, for it was both a complement and friendly jibe. “Perhaps,” I said, “it is because I supplement my considerable talent with a love that I must imagine none of those others are able or willing to provide.” He gazed at me fondly. “I suspect you are quite correct.”

Antinous and Anaxamenos at the riverbank
Illustration by Shawn Postoff

We sauntered home together, and I was very happy when I lay down to sleep that night, knowing that I carried the spirit of Anaxamenos within me. I imagined the three of us, Lysicles – you, myself and Anaxamenos – sharing a bed together and enjoying the continuous circulation of our mutual pleasures. I’m sure you would like him, my friend, for he is a good and decent fellow: joyous and kind, stout of heart, filled to bursting with the laughter of authentic and frequent celebration. A.

The Sacred Antinous is an ongoing work of Historical Fiction, for contemplative and educational purposes.
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