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
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  ~110 Epistle Coming Soon
Phallic Amulets

Transcripts and Categories


The news, as is its wont, has spread. And from whosever lips it first escaped – be it a servant, a slave, or a soldier in the company of Hadrian and Vitalis – the gossip has by now alighted onto every opportune ear, and passed just as quickly from their owners’ lips into the eddies and currents of general knowledge: “The Emperor will not take Antinous – because he is loved too much.”

And so I have lived since the Ides in the strange gaze of lesser friends and the friendly gaze of greater strangers, all of whom fumble at a loss to engage, address or console me. There are, thankfully, certain greater friends whose gaze I cherish the most, and who seem to have adapted well. Decentius the soldier has always been blissfully unconcerned with talk, and thus continues to be for me a rock of the utmost constancy, adamant in his belief that nothing has actually changed. Vitalis – in respect of my request – does not speak on it, although his enthusiasm to talk of other things seems, in consequence, mildly strained. Anaxamenos – that glorious and perpetually famished fellow – simply shrugged, called himself a bastard and a liar, and promptly invited me to dinner.

And seeing as how I am dealing in categories, I should be remiss to record the reactions of certain lesser strangers. Into this group I lump the persons of Sabina, Balbilla, Commodus, and their mutual plaything, Carisius. Of the women, I have caught them smirking, scoffing or sneering at me in the dining halls and salons to which I am sometimes admitted. Of Commodus, I believe he capitalizes on our conversations to feed his private dalliances with the women. He engages me if only to subsequently entertain them at my absentee expense. Naturally, I cannot confirm this, but I am far from stupid and can think of no other reason that Commodus would take such an interest in asking after mundane things and then listening intently as I struggle to reply to him respectfully. He is collecting my words; recording for his benefit the transcript of my responses; gleaning from it the anecdotes that shall fuel his future revels. As for Carisius, the sense of triumph with which he regards me at the Gelotiana is palpable. And although ostensibly he remains the favourite of Commodus, he is more and more often now spotted in the company of Sabina, who seems somehow in his presence to soften (if that is even possible).

There is one other person, interestingly, who defies categorization by virtue of both his body and his reaction to the news. Favorinus returned to Rome some days ago and sought me out soon after receiving his earful. “Is he imbalanced?” inquired the sophist as we sat across a jug of wine and together considered the mind of Hadrian. It was spoken as a joke, naturally, but there was an edge to his tone to suggest that perhaps it was not so much a joke as first imputed.

“He is certainly not without his reasons,” I replied, “and they are reasons well enough considered to menace any respectable argument against them.” Favorinus raised an intrigued eyebrow: “Oh?” I thought about how to elaborate, and contemplated the difficulty I faced in formulating an accurate and succinct explanation. It was daunting. So instead, I opted for a different strategy: “Follow me.”

We left his villa (which was a lovely rental, by the way, just up the Esquiline) and proceeded toward the stables. I greeted Anaxamenos happily and introduced him to Favorinus, who was very gracious in making his acquaintance. And then I requested my box of letters. Favorinus watched with interest as I pulled from the tiny archive my memories. I handed him my most recent epistle – the one of Vitalis and his report. And then I searched among the pile for that particular document whose composition had followed my first excursion to Tibur. It described the events of our return to Rome, in the rain, when Hadrian had made his astounding confessions.

As I waited for Favorinus to read through both the letters, I was suddenly – and fleetingly! – grateful to Mordanticus for having failed to send them abroad. For I realized that I would never have been able to recapture for Favorinus the detail of Hadrian’s long ago words in our present conversation. Far more usefully, I was able to offer him the transcript of that exchange, written from the immediate vantage of having freshly heard it.

“How very curious,” spoke the sophist as he handed me back the documents. In turn I gave them to Anaxamenos who locked them up again. “How very curious,” he repeated – more this time to himself than anyone. At last, Favorinus emerged from his musings, smiled at me, and quipped, “I daresay the man is misguided. His very obvious and understandable love for you has undergone a rather striking metamorphosis in which he seems to place you in a realm beyond the reach of mortal man. Yet, ironically, you are not so much elevated as you are caged. By heaven, we shall have to rectify this.”

I quickly gripped his arm and held him as he turned to go. “Please, Sir, I beg you: do not interfere.” He smiled at me, with bulbous cheeks and a soft face that looked more like a woman’s than a man’s. “It is hardly an interference, Antinous: it is a marvelous and stimulating challenge.”

Naturally, I was not quite as stimulated by it as he. I shook my head, and replied, “It is a private matter for Hadrian – certainly not something to be turned into spectacle. I ask you, Favorinus, as a friend, to believe me when I tell you that I am not so perturbed by this development as are you, and am quite happy to remain in his court anonymous. I can hardly understand why the Palatine is so set to defend me, when indeed the Emperor himself has made his views quite explicit.”

“Have you looked in a mirror lately?” inquired Anaxamenos with a smirk. I had forgotten he was beside us, and turned to him just as he held up a hand mirror before me. I gazed at my face; at the black curls that tumbled down around it; at the anxious and searching and melancholy eyes that stared back. Anaxamenos lowered the mirror and smiled at me: “That, Antinous, is why the Palatine is so set to defend you.”

Favorinus laughed luxuriously and slapped Anaxamenos on the shoulder: “Well put, my friend! Ordinarily I am not so sympathetic to arguments forged without words, but in this particular case, I am very impressed.”

It goes without saying that Anaxamenos beamed. And Favorinus made a great show of needing to return immediately and urgently to his villa to begin his work. Which left me by him suddenly abandoned, destined to trudge alone to the Gelotiana and find myself here, before this parchment, fretting about what the agile and mischievous mind of Favorinus will dare to concoct. I am desperately hoping that he can see and understand how much more agitated I am by the prospect of being by him publicly embarrassed than by Hadrian’s personal and perfectly legitimate decision not to take me for Favourite. All I can do, it seems, is trust that he’ll show a sensible restraint.

O Lysicles! Why do I forever feel myself to be a sailor at the mercy of recalcitrant winds, on a boat whose crew doubts me always as their captain, in a sea whose every swell belies the charts that call her blest and effortless?

O Lysicles. Do you think me overwrought? Do you laugh? Do you snigger at me dismissively and sarcastically wonder why I omitted any mention of the Sirens? To that I respond simply: Perhaps they have yet to start their song. A.

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