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
  ~107 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~108 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~109 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~110 Epistle Coming Soon
Phallic Amulets

Hadrian's Deprivation

Lysicles

Nothing of what I am about to write was seen or heard by me. It is all related secondhand from Anaxamenos and Vitalis. And yet, that it concerns me completely, and has affected me to such a degree that I am now feeling very despondent indeed, I am compelled to express it with as much sorrow as frustration.

Anaxamenos believes it was Petasius, Master of the Household Page, who spread the word about my likeness hanging from a post in the stables. The man had come to see Anaxamenos on some trifle of ordinary business, and took silent note of the drawing.

About a week later, Phlegon appeared in my friend’s office to make arrangements for the rotation of a fresh group of horses between Tibur and Rome. And he made a point of requesting to see the drawing. He looked at it for only a moment, nodded once to Anaxamenos, and left.

Can you guess who arrived next?

“This is remarkable,” said Hadrian. “Who is he that has created such an image – and has he produced others?” Anaxamenos dutifully opened up his cabinet and extracted the pile of pictures. Thankfully, Hadrian was too excited by the prospect of beholding them to inquire about the contents of the rest of the cabinet. As he began to sift through them, Anaxamenos beckoned Vitalis into his office.

“My lord,” said Anaxamenos, “I present to you the artist: Marius Vitalis.” Hadrian looked up to assess him. He narrowed his eyes, and spoke slowly: “Marius Vitalis. I have spoken your name before. You were requested by Antinous. He rescued you from the Department of the Wardrobe.” Vitalis smiled and nodded silently.

Hadrian gazed at my two beautiful friends: “Both of you are close to him. Both are esteemed. It is easy to see why.” Again he looked down at the pictures before him and selected one of the nudes. “May I have this?” he asked. “Of course, my liege,” said Vitalis: “I am honoured that it pleases you so.” Hadrian smiled, assessing the talented youth before him. And then he replied, “It is not the only thing of yours, Vitalis, that pleases me.” Vitalis blushed, and Hadrian laughed. “Methinks I’d like a portrait drawn of Hadrian. May I sit for you?” And Vitalis blinked in dumb astonishment. “Of course, my lord!” exclaimed Anaxamenos: “Vitalis has long wished for such a glorious opportunity.” Hadrian was very pleased by that and left, drawing in hand.

Anaxamenos leaned over and pulled the ear of Vitalis close to his lips: “Ensure your ass is very clean, and do not be embarrassed to become aroused. On the contrary, if you find yourself getting hard, make a damn fine show of it, and I daresay your career will have officially begun.”

A few nights later, Vitalis was summoned into the sacred bedchamber to draw a portrait of his Emperor. And to his credit, he followed the advice of Anaxamenos perfectly. He spent the night in Hadrian’s bed.

That was a week ago, and I was very happy to hear it from Vitalis when the news was eagerly reported to me. What’s more, I was delighted to have played such an unusual part in the story – in absentia, with only my wordless image the catalyst.

My woes, however, surfaced today, by the report of Vitalis on the morning after his third night with Hadrian. For they had reached by then more familiar terms, and Vitalis was emboldened to ask why he had not yet taken Antinous into his bed.

“Antinous is special,” replied Hadrian. “He exists on a plane that floats far above the heave of flesh, and thus consistently challenges me to climb up and join him there. To take him into my bed is akin to pulling him down to the mundane world of animals. I should much rather rise up instead.”

Vitalis considered that for a moment. And then he smirked: “He is an excellent practitioner.” Hadrian smiled, “So I am told. But my asceticism with regard to Antinous is self-imposed and self-directed. I refuse to take him precisely because he is the one person on this earth I desire the most. It is a program of refinement and perpetual deprivation through which I assert the will to govern myself. The empire, by comparison, seems far easier to govern. Thus it is my intent that Antinous shall never come into my bed, though it pains me immensely to say such a thing.”

It is these words that Vitalis reported to me, and sank my heart in doing so. “But it makes no sense!” he protested, as if to recover it from the ocean floor. “Anitnous, you must speak to him. You must show him how foolish he is being.” I sighed heavily, for in the mounting of such a campaign against the man’s made-up mind, the prospect of success was horribly bleak.

“Seduce him!” continued Vitalis. “Grab him by the ears and make known to him how ardently his desire is reflected! Flatter him into submission!” I looked at Vitalis with impatience, knowing well how fully he himself knew such tactics would fail.

“It is lost,” I said. “We must face the facts: If he hasn’t taken me by now, he most certainly never will. I must, therefore, for the sake of my health, abandon all hope of becoming for him what the world has long assumed I would. I have no explanation for why he looks on me with such a reverence; why he places me in such a lofty sphere. Shall I consider it a blessing? Hardly. On the contrary, it seems to have become the source of my ignominy. Therefore, Vitalis, I beg you: do not speak on it further. And, what’s more, do not relate to me ever again of your relations with Hadrian. For I doubt in my ability to bear it.” And with that, I walked away from him.

I have spent the day alone, in painful consideration of my predicament. And from it I have arrived at the decision that I shall be for Hadrian exactly what he wishes of me: noble, loyal, honest, true – and distant. I shall no longer seek nor expect to touch or be touched by him. We shall be as father and son, and I shall receive from him his wisdom whenever he provides it, and do so without any supposition of its prelude to the intimacies of our flesh. My erotic heart for him I do hereby cast adrift, for it serves me no purpose, and indeed has become an impediment to proper service.

There is not much left to say. But even if there was, I can’t imagine I would have the willpower to continue writing. I am consumed this night by my own self-pity, and am content for a time to wallow in it, despite the fact that nothing on the surface of my life has changed. Let the morning come fast, and let it be a bright one. I am grateful, at least, for the return of spring. Perhaps tomorrow I shall pass by the idol of Persephone and make to her an offering of humble thanks for good return. Indeed, there is health in that idea. For think how quickly my troubles shall pale from the stories of her recent trip abroad! A.

 
Optimythic
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