The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
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LEGEND TO ILLUSTRATIONS
  CONTAINS X-RATED IMAGES
  CONTAINS R-RATED IMAGES
  CONTAINS G-RATED IMAGES
COMMENTARY
  ~000 Introduction
I - THE YOUNG SCHOOLBOY
  ~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
II - THE COURT PAGE
  ~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
III - THE IMPERIAL FAVOURITE
  ~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
IV - THE SEARCHING SOUL
  ~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
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  ~108 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~109 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~110 Epistle Coming Soon
Phallic Amulets

Rome, Home and History

Lysicles

Mordanticus is gone. Over the course of the summer, while I was away in Tibur, he sold his house and his slaves, packed up his most valuable belongings, and, with Glaucia and Praeconina in tow, fled from Rome.

“Where did he go?” I asked Decentius. “Nobody knows,” he replied. “But it was done quickly and without announcement. We learned of it on the day he didn’t show up to work.”

I considered this intently, before finally asking: “Was it treachery?” Decentius shook his head, “It does not appear so. He conducted very specific and methodical transactions, and seems to have had a plan, which he obviously kept quite private. I believe he feared for his life in the aftermath of what transpired regarding your letters.”

“Surely he does not think I would seek to kill him!”

Decentius smiled at me, “Surely? How sure are you? Despite your astonishing intellect, Antinous, you still, for some unfathomable reason, have trouble understanding how powerful you have become by virtue of your proximity to Hadrian. Can you not see how easily you might have destroyed Mordanticus? How, with but a casual utterance against him, you could have shattered – intentionally or not – his entire life? In many ways, you are now a giant who walks amid the scurrying ants of Rome. And if you are thoughtful enough to take pains to avoid stepping on them, they shall indeed be grateful. But they can never assume it, nor count on it. From his perspective, Mordanticus likely believed that, at some point in your stay at Tibur, you would have eventually disclosed to Hadrian your displeasure at having had your letters withheld. And he no doubt barely slept at night, wondering if, at any moment, he should find himself at the wrong end of a Praetorian sword.”

I got up from the hay and reached for my loincloth. I was glad that Decentius had waited until our pleasures were done before broaching the topic of Mordanticus. Had he done it prior to our sex, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it quite so much. What happiness it was to be back in his arms; in the reassuring swirl of his musky scent.

“Out of curiosity,” said Decentius, “why didn’t you?”

“Why didn’t I what?” I asked. He laughed, amused by my intensity. “Why didn’t you report him to Hadrian?” It was certainly an understandable question. Indeed, I myself had grappled with it on occasion while in Tibur. “I do not wish to treat Hadrian as anything other than a mortal who is level as a mortal with me. And he with this intention concurs. Were I to approach him on a mission of invoking his official powers, it would instantly destroy all upon which our unique friendship is built. Hadrian holds me in high regard because he knows that I am blind to his title. I take pains to ensure that my conversations with him, if and when they concern the exercise of power, are not conducted in such a way as to see me benefit from that power. They are theoretical and philosophical. They are exploratory and experimental. They are, to the best of my abilities, dispassionate and objective. If that I ever looked on him as my Emperor, he would cease to be seen as my friend, and this, I believe, is as frightening to him as it is to me. It is unthinkable to me that I would utilize my position to bring down upon the heads of those around me either benefit or hardship. Such is neither my role nor my place, and I will not betray my commitment to its ideal.”

Decentius nodded slowly. “I believe you,” he said, “and admire you for it.” I smiled at him, and replied, “It is good to be back in your company, Decentius. I missed you dearly.”

“Has Hadrian still not touched you?” he asked. I shook my head. He considered that before smirking: “More for me, then.” And I laughed. I looked around at the stables; at the horses I had come to know and love; at one of the few places in mighty Rome in which I consistently feel at ease and, to some extent, at home.

I thought of Rome, and my place in it. I thought of history, and my place in that too. And then I looked at Decentius before me – at the relaxed strength of his naked repose – and understood both Rome and history to be nothing. All that mattered to me was the warmth of living people intertwined. And the more warmth we could find, sourced from the greatest number of sparkling souls, the more wealthy we were in life.

Do not laugh at me, Lysicles; at my simple and obvious formulations. Such thoughts are hardly new and certainly not revolutionary. But they are good to affirm from time to time, if for no other reason than to be reminded of life’s tumultuous and capricious beauty.

Wherever has landed Mordanticus, may he finally find his peace. A.

 
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