The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
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Sacred Texts
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
  ~107 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~108 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~109 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~110 Epistle Coming Soon
Phallic Amulets

A Caravan of Monologue

Lysicles

I am at once breathless and overjoyed to report that Palmetta is pregnant. Anaxamenos, the excited father-to-be, confirmed for me that it is so; that having tried several months for it, they finally succeeded. The baby is due in the new year (which is, amazingly, only three months hence – I am astonished to think that it has been almost a year since they were married!)

It occurs to me that I have not spoken much of them in my last several letters, but I attribute this deficiency to the fact of their relative happiness. If, as seems increasingly to be their function, these semi-regular monologues are meant to expunge from my soul the accumulated anxieties of a somersaulting life, it seems pointless to merely report, again and again, “Anaxamenos and Palmetta are happy, as usual.” For such is a given. Such is assumed. Is it not? The unfortunate result of this assumption, however, is that Anaxamenos and Palmetta must only become worthy of report should they suddenly encounter some unthinkable hardship. This recognition depresses me somewhat. And yet, to write solely of happy things would somehow render these letters inauthentic, for they would inevitably become liars in the attempt to conceal my more customary state of being. Which is not, of course, to say that I am perpetually despondent. (Gods! I am a confusing knot of thought today!)

What am I trying to say? It is this: Palmetta is pregnant. Such news is but one more happiness to be heaped upon their mountain of bliss, and, though I am delighted for them, I am also envious of their contentment, for I increasingly see my own life’s trajectory in stark relief against theirs. Which is not to mean that I am unhappy. The word, rather, is fretful. For it is obvious that the gods have ordained for me a life of much tumult, a fact that has been demonstrated as much by my past as the promise of what lies ahead. And as this endless tumult unfolds, I look with longing at the life of my friend Anaxamenos and wonder if I shall ever find, as has he, a peaceful and contented existence.

I must wonder as well if Anaxamenos gazes at me and wishes for a life of comparable adventure. Probably not. He has never struck me as the type who would prosper with such an existence. Yet does he think me better suited for it? Is he blind to the anxieties I feel? To the resistance I experience whenever the demands from above intensify? Is he secretly relieved that it is I and not him who has been selected to bear the increasingly oppressive attentions of Hadrian? But why should he wish upon me such hardships? And why should I even think to call them hardships? Is that not callous of me, surrounded as I am by a sea of slaves who know, far more than I, a painfully more extreme definition of hardship?

Behold, Lysicles, what is emerging as my supreme failure to be for Hadrian what he wishes of me. My incessant fears and unyielding insecurities, constantly wailing from deep within the darkest recesses of my mind, up to a heaven that seems unable or unwilling to hear them. Outwardly to the world, to the Palatine, to Hadrian, to Macedo and Statianus, to Phlegon and Decentius, to Anaxamenos and Vitalis, I appear serene and confident; knowledgeable and restrained. Yet inwardly I tremble. Privately I wonder at and obsess over my worthiness. And then, in the height of my despair, up shall rise my cock at the sight of a brawny man, and in my arousal I shall seek him out, or seek out instead the company of Decentius, or frig myself by the fantasy of his substitute. Is this the behaviour of a hero? Is this the nobility that Hadrian sees in me? What an inconstant and cluttered fraud I am! What a fool! What a knave!

Yet to think such things is to become exhausted. Believe me: I am not always so desperately apprehensive. Indeed, there are other times, when the clouds swirl away and the sun comes out to shine upon my nose, that I can look upon myself as one who is indeed fortunate and incomparably blessed. One who dares to stand near to the gods and walk proudly through the aura of Rome’s highest power. Dare I reveal, my friend, that to pleasure myself then, whilst in the throes of such a corporeal sense of efficacy, is among the most exhilarating feelings I have known? Aye. For these pages to Lysicles demand the utmost honesty. And so, to be honest, the concentric circles into which I find myself admitted have, on more than a few occasions, become for me a kind of unwieldy aphrodisiac – one that is as terrifying as it is sensual. It is in these rare moments of heightened orgasmic release that I am sometimes able to catch a fleeting glimpse of the reason for Hadrian’s reticence; his fear of using the ultimate title and its attendant powers to capture and control the essence of what is Antinous. For to do so would no doubt destroy Antinous, and thus is the Man called Hadrian forever struggling dreadfully to protect what the Emperor would quickly and clumsily demolish.

Enough. My brain is ambling across a vast and sandy terrain of thought, and, what’s more, is doing so without map, sustenance or even a destination. Let me return, then, to the concrete and the historical; to the events and the calendars of my life; to the civilization of men in which I live.

When I am not visiting with Anaxamenos and Vitalis in the stables (or, I should add, with Vitalis in bed!), then I am probably with either Decentius (in bed), or in the library, where I visit with the perpetually calm Salonius. My reading has been broad and vast, and to mention the names of Flaccus, Italicus and Quintilianus only begins to list the recent minds I have more recently touched. With regard to that last, I have come to realize just how deficient is my own training should I ever wish to publicly practice my rhetoric at such a lofty level as did he.

Decentius continues to stand guard at the Bureau of Imperial Correspondence in the Office for the Territories of Asia Minor, although its new incumbent is an altogether surly man whom Decentius does not like. The thought has occurred that I could perhaps seek to establish with this man some kind of friendly relation, and thus enlist his help in a renewed quest to locate you. But the notion of parting with my stack of letters and sending them off into the unknown is frightening. Taken together, as a collection, these epistles of Antinous have suddenly become to me extremely valuable, for over the course of the summer they have undergone a strange metamorphosis, becoming less about the Lysicles for whom they are written and more about the Antinous who writes them. Is that selfish of me? Perhaps it would be, had I some reasonable assurance that you were in a position to receive them. But lacking such assurance, and burned, as I am, by the history of their stewardship, I am resolved to keep them for myself, and deliver them all, one glorious day, in person.

What else shall I report? Owing, no doubt, to the influence of Commodus, Carisius is increasingly finding himself admitted into the social company of Sabina and her women, including the occasionally obnoxious Julia Balbilla. I am very grateful that it is he and not I who must endure it, although I suspect it is hardly for him the chore it would be for me. I am glad, in a way, that Carisius seems to have found a set that welcomes him and provides for him a certain degree of distinction. If nothing else, it appears to have reduced his once implacable envy of me in my relations to Hadrian. And who am I to disdain him for that?

One more thing, and it relates to the mention of Quintilianus above: there is some increasingly excited talk – fuelled as much by curiosity as by the reputation of its subject – concerning a famous orator who is due in Rome within but days. His name is Favorinus, and he is said to be a hermaphrodite. I would be a liar if I reported that I was not intrigued by the anticipation of hearing him speak, for I am enthralled by the mystery of whether his brilliance as a speaker is either in spite of, or the result of, his peculiar sexuality. It shall be interesting to see, and moreso to reflect upon.

By Jove, our sex is everywhere, Lysicles! For I have just, in my preparation to close, re-read this meaningless letter. And all throughout this text is the spectre and the jester of that awful organ. With it, we make babies; we elaborate the discourse of our power; we gift our loves; we rape our enemies; and lo, we drive an extraordinary caravan of monologue across the arid desert of our lives. Priapus, I hereby declare, is surely the most bewildering of all the gods! A.

 
Optimythic
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