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
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Phallic Amulets

In Tibur, Alone


These past few weeks I have spent at the Villa in the occasional company of Hadrian. The majority of our time together is far from private: we hunt, we bathe, we dine – all within the eyesight of courtiers and slaves, advisors and sophists. When not in the orbit of the Emperor, I am usually left alone, and divide much of my time between the twin libraries.

My exchanges with Hadrian are uniformly agreeable. We share an easy familiarity now – one that has been amply remarked upon by more than a few observers. It is well understood that, for some unfathomable reason, I alone enjoy the privilege – the expectation even – of a casual address toward him. Despite this reality, I always strive, when in public, to maintain a certain minimum standard of decorum.

For the most part, our conversations are of a very civic nature. Hadrian delights in engaging and including me among the discourses he holds with his philosophers and his poets. He often looks to me as one who may contribute substantially to the fray, and I am finding myself increasingly at ease with my burgeoning ability to do so. In addition, I am discovering that my long history of literary consumption is beginning to serve me very well, for I will occasionally unearth from myself the instant and gleaming knowledge of a particular fact, or the sudden remembrance of a highly quotable morsel of wisdom, and it will have surfaced in my mind at just the right moment in which to be tossed strategically into the discussion. It is a wonderful and empowering sensation, for it makes me feel very much like a man.

Also contributing to this sensation of attaining my manhood is the fact that I am greatly enjoying learning the lessons of the hunt. Indeed, I steadily feel myself becoming a skilled practitioner. To be fair, the game has been consistently docile: usually a deer, but on one occasion it was a boar. Naturally, I relegated myself to the status of an observer during that particular chase, for I wanted to see how such a creature behaved when confronted by a hunting party, and so archive it in my mind for the future. (As a side note, I’m sure you can deduce from the frequency with which we hunt that the entire court is eating exceptionally well.)

Yet despite these happy factors, there are other forces in play that serve only to isolate me and make me feel as though my manhood shall forever elude. Hadrian refuses to take me into his bed, yet will often have an assortment of other random boys therein, not to mention the consistent and reliable company of Corinthus. The fact that he has loftily explained his avoidance of me is of little comfort, especially in those times when my flesh craves its pleasure. Thus, on the loss of Lysicles, in the absence of Vitalis, by the departure of Anaxamenos, with the unavailability of Cyprias, and from the refusal of Hadrian, I have found myself here in Tibur bereft of any familiar persons with whom to become sensual.

To be sure, I have caught an occasional older fellow looking in my direction, and have even returned to him an acknowledging smile. From that has sprouted some cursory and friendly exchange – but beyond such talk nothing has ever happened. It is as though they suddenly recoil from the thought of taking something that is known to belong to Hadrian. Which, naturally, is frustrating to me, because Hadrian has yet to declare me his favourite. Thus I am in limbo: Not yet invited to be with the Emperor, but generally acknowledged to be reserved by him and therefore untouchable by anyone else.

With regard to other youths who share with me my age and rank, and with whom I would be happy to exchange some pleasures, I maintain with them all nothing more than a very cordial exchange. And while I would very much like for it to be more than merely cordial, they all seem to be intentionally keeping their distance from me. Mordanticus has called this their “reverence” of me, but I’m not so sure that’s what it ought to be named. How is it that in the Gelotiana, I am known and loved by many boys, yet here in Tibur, I am considered unapproachable? It occurs to me that a very probable reason is that I have been given a private room here, and thus the other boys treat me as one who is to be kept apart from them. How oddly I straddle these twin worlds of Rome and Tibur: in one I am a page without duties, in the other I am a guest without the easy comfort of friends.

To be honest, Lysicles, I am lonely here. The one hope I held for a possible friendship with a fellow of my own age was Fuscus, but he has proven to be downright prudish toward my gestures of invite and so I recently abandoned the quest to become his friend. Already at his age he carries with him a considerable status and thus no doubt looks down on me, who is but a page. Yet unto his elders and his tutors, to the ambassadors and the generals, he is genial and charming. Am I the only one who sees it? I cannot tell whether Hadrian – who is often very good at perceiving the true worth of a man – is aware of this discrepancy within the character of Fuscus. Perhaps he is blinded by the fact of familial relation, and willfully overlooks the boy’s (obvious?) inconsistencies.

And so you have my dilemma: I am gazed up to, or down upon, or beheld from a distance with lusty yet reticent eyes. No one in Tibur seems prepared to befriend me as an equal among unremarkable mortals. None seek from me the simple exchange of pleasures for the sake of an uncomplicated joy. Already is this flesh and its cherished want becoming darkened and deceived by the false idols of status and power. Is this what I have to look forward to?

Enough. It has occurred to me that many of the letters I write for you speak of happy things; agreeable things; exciting things – yet I am consistently despondent in my recording of them. The gods smile upon me, yet I sneer with each report of their smiles. I do not want be ungrateful, but I often wonder if I want less to have the life that is mine. How much more vital might I be today had I never been brought to Rome? Had I grown up simply: Antinous of Claudiopolis, friend of Lysicles, husband of some contented and capable woman, and father of many leaping children?

Yet why do I even think such things? I am indeed a fool. A.

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