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
  ~074 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~075 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~076 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~077 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~078 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~079 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~080 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~081 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~082 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~083 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~084 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~085 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~086 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~087 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~088 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~089 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~090 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~091 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~092 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~093 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~094 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~095 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~096 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~097 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~098 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~099 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~100 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~101 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~102 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~103 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~104 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~105 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~106 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~107 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~108 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~109 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~110 Epistle Coming Soon
Phallic Amulets

Married Pleasures


Well, my friend, it is done. Anaxamenos is married. It happened at the home of Maltinus, upon the Oppian hill, attended by a great many guests who were, like myself and Anaxamenos, former students of the beloved tutor.

Palmetta in her white was quite beautiful; for her bridesmaid she had chosen her sister, Corda, who made a point of smiling in my direction as Maltinus gave his daughter’s hand to Anaxamenos. They approached the priest, chanted their Gaius, made the offering, and ate their cake. Brocca, the girls’ mother, wept loud and liberally.

Dinner was vast and lengthy. I spent a considerable portion of it talking to Corda, who had been strategically seated beside me. Across from us sat Vitalis, who was not unaware of the extent to which she lavished her attentions upon me. I was very polite and gracious with her, for indeed she is well-mannered and intelligent (which is hardly surprising, given her father’s influence). I very much enjoyed the course of our conversation, and felt that Vitalis, Corda and I profited from a very fine interaction. And yet, always in the back of my mind was a certain disquiet. For I would glance occasionally at my friend Anaxamenos; a glorious young man consumed in the presence of his bride at the centre of everyone’s attention. He was so obviously happy; so unabashedly blissful in Palmetta’s company. And I confess to having felt a stab of jealousy. Of loneliness. Of being by him abandoned.

Or perhaps he was being abducted from me – by a woman whose 12 year-old sister was sitting beside me and plotting her very own abduction. I looked across the table to Vitalis; gazed upon the friend who is to me what I was once to Anaxamenos, and I wondered if he was perceptive enough to know my thoughts.

When dinner was over, Anaxamenos, amid much laughter, experienced a certain amount of embarrassment at his inability to rip his bride from Brocca’s arms. But finally he won her, and off we trod toward his new apartment, a modest little home close to his father-in-law’s. Anaxamenos asked if I would bear the torch for him, and, after delivering some prepared words*, I accepted. We were joined in our procession by about twenty-five strangers, who laughed and sang with us to their door. ‘Twas there Palmetta repeated her Gaius, and was carried across the threshold into her new home. When I handed her the torch with which to light her new hearth, she smiled warmly at me. Then she blew out the torch and tossed it among the guests.

Can you guess who caught it? Corda, naturally. And many eyes turned to look in my direction, for she was not modest in making her affections widely known.

We spent some time in revels – a great many guests crowded into a tiny space, and at last it was time to leave Anaxamenos with the challenge of untying Palmetta’s knot. Brocca teased him that she had tied it with the strength of Hercules himself, and that, if Anaxamenos was unable to conquer it by morning, the marriage was void. Amid such laughter we took our leave, and Vitalis and I headed for the Palatine.

There was suddenly a great emptiness in my heart, for I knew that Anaxamenos would never again return to the Gelotiana in order to call it home. I found myself thinking about his body and its manhood – a device that was, by that time, probably quite happily embedded in Palmetta; consummating and concluding the marriage; planting its seed deep into her soil in anticipation of long and prosperous years ahead.

Vitalis no doubt sensed the depth of my thinking; for he was not unaware of the affection I held for Anaxamenos. “The love between fellows not yet men,” he said, “is wild and precious. It is always a tragedy to see it tamed.”

I smiled at him, for it was clear that he felt for me that very emotion about which he spoke. “Do you fear the day when I am tamed?” I asked. He nodded and replied: “I do not understand why it is considered so wrong, that grown men, friends and lovers of all that is good, cannot take their pleasures from each other as they did when they were boys. Why must they suddenly be commanded to turn from the company of those very fellows whose love and affection makes the exchange of such fleshly pleasures so glorious? Why must they only seek out a younger man? Or a slave? Or a whore? Someone who is ultimately lesser than they? Why cannot they continue in the enjoyment of a one who is their social equal?”

I considered that for a long time. “Perhaps,” I said, “when we arrive at such an age, we shall understand what it means, and why it is prescribed for us that way.”

Vitalis seemed very unsatisfied with such an answer. “I promise you, Antinous, that when I am arrived at my manhood, I shall continue to share myself with you, if such is your desire. I will not succumb to the silliness of rules that serve only to suppress the physical expression of that most wonderful love between us. And I shall not so willingly give you unto Corda as you this night surrendered the mighty Anaxamenos!”

I was amazed by that, and, I think, mildly insulted. “I did not so willingly relinquish Anaxamenos. Believe me, my friend: I did it quite grudgingly.” Vitalis shook his head: “I saw no evidence of that. You were very happy to be there and to see him married.”

“Of course I was!” I exclaimed. And then I stopped and looked at him fondly. “But I know what you are saying, Vitalis. I understand. Tonight I lost a part of me, and felt quite powerless against the forces that had amassed to deprive me of it. How does one take up arms against such a thing as marriage? How does one declare war against it? Your love for me is beautiful and inspiring, and I am honoured to beam it back to you with equal intensity. But I am not so sure as you, my friend, that on the day I take my bride, you will be able to stop me, regardless of how ardently I might wish for your success.”

He said nothing then, for I know he knew I was right. Together we felt the great swirl of the world around us; the mighty forces of destiny that were quite unconcerned for our insignificant little love. We would both be married someday, and despite our dreams of sharing our flesh long into our elder years, I think we each understood that they were but fiery fantasies, fated to one day be doused in the deluge of ancient custom.

Vitalis took my hand and solemnly guided me into the shadows of a dark corner of the street. As the hour was late, there were few people about, and in our tiny enclave of privacy, surrounded by the walls of oblivious buildings, we quietly shared with each other our pleasures. There was something desperate about the act; it was hurried and breathless. And yet it was of an intensity I have rarely in my short life experienced. When it was over, we walked slowly back to the awaiting Gelotiana, where the guards had been told to expect us late on account of the wedding. They let us in without incident, and we quietly found our beds.

I lay for a time awake amid the slumber of other boys. I wondered at the man I would one day become, and wondered again if that mysterious fellow was destined to live in the warm glow of happiness. A.

*See The Gospel of Corda

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