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
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  ~075 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~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
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  ~090 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~091 Epistle Coming Soon
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Phallic Amulets

The Delights of Athens

Lysicles,

As the days careen obliviously toward my birthday, I float through the streets of Athens as if in a mighty and fantastical Elysium. Upon every corner and at every turn is a new and joyous discovery of people and their passions. Whether in attendance upon Hadrian, in the care of Decentius, flanked by the Caesernii brothers, laughing happily among the glorious minds of Favorinus and Fronto, or even – surprisingly – in the personally requested company of Sabina and her train, I have gulped down the sights as though they were the sweetest elixirs of the wise and fearsome goddess Herself.

It seems that the Mysteries of Eleusis have had as profound an effect upon the heart of Sabina as they did her husband and I. In fact, Commodus and Balbilla (who were initiated with us) have also softened somewhat towards me: there is an air of acceptance among them and a small (if growing) sense of respect. Perhaps they are simply following the lead of Sabina, who is slowly allowing herself to admit my name and physical presence into her private sphere. Our exchanges, when they occur, are still quite formal, but every now and again there bubbles up a tiny and knowing smirk between us. I have always admired her composure and her tact, and now – at long last – I can honestly say that I’m beginning to genuinely like her. She is a woman who is (understandably) very guarded, and it is only after so many months on the road together that she is choosing to let me into her world (albeit quite selectively). Her fawning circle of friends thus has no other choice but to do the same – including Carisius!

Truth be told, the entire entourage is becoming familiar and friendly to me – except for the fellow called Fuscus. He is indeed a strange duck. Some days he is aloof from everyone; other days he drips the most honeyed compliments upon even the lowliest of slaves. I confess that I understand little of him, and I do not believe he is well-liked among most of the others in the court. But what can be done? No one (not least of all Fuscus himself) is ignorant of the fact that he could very well become the next ruler of Rome. Thus his idiosyncrasies are endured, and his odd behaviour among us all is silently accepted.

But enough of him! There is so much more to report! A considerable number of our train found itself crossing the threshold of Plato’s Academy, beneath the gates of which were inscribed the words “No One May Enter Who Knows Not the Earth’s Rhythm.” I can think of a few that day who had no business entering the Academy, but who was I to stop them? And how indeed could the Scholarch be expected to raise any objection when such people were arriving upon the attendance of Hadrian? Regardless, I took comfort in the fact that I myself, as well as my lover, boasted a most respectable claim to indeed know at least a small amount of the earth’s rhythm, and so I felt no trepidation in entering upon those most hallowed grounds.

That is not to say that I lacked humility in doing so. For I am the first to admit that there is much about the music and math of the world in which I remain yet ignorant. But there are, by contrast, many wonderful things I have learned over the course of my life that recommend me, I think, to a welcome place as a visitor within the Academy’s walls. Were I destined to be a philosopher, I dare say I would find no better home for myself than there. I can only imagine how inspiring the visit was for Fronto, Favorinus, and Polemon. Fronto in particular seemed to barely contain his exuberance. “Across so many years have I heard of this mythical place – and now am I standing in it, meeting and conversing with a vast array of incredible minds!” I smiled at him lovingly and responded: “Gnaeus would indeed be happy for you, as am I.”

I wandered a bit on my own, and soon stumbled upon Favorinus who was comfortably seated beneath a large and sheltering tree. He beckoned me to sit by him, and I did so. “This,” he said, “is the product of my Imminent Boys.” I was confused, and so he reminded me: “Nyanthes and Timarchus.” Of course! How could I have forgotten his dazzling oratory – the very one in which he urged Hadrian to finally take me for his Favourite? (How long ago that seems!) “I am contemplating an expansion of the story,” he told me. This was fascinating and wonderful news. “How?” I excitedly demanded.

“What I prepared for you and Hadrian that night was but the seed of a much broader idea,” he replied. “I was testing for its potential to enthral, and indeed it did not disappoint me. Imagine how the ancient tribes of Athens must have received such a thing as this – a school! Today, we take such places of learning for granted. But it was not always so. I am restless to tell a tale in which the genius contained within these walls is not a forgone conclusion; in which the triumph of love and the tragedy of fate bestows a dramatic justification upon the Academy’s existence to a people who have so little appreciation for the rigour of a formal education.” What could I possibly say in the aftermath of such an ardent expression of love for the powers of the logical mind? I kissed him upon the cheek and whispered softly into his ear: “Let the muses sing to you, Favorinus, as they have never sung to anyone ever before.” And I left him there amid his dancing mind.

Plato’s is not the only school we have visited. Seated at Hadrian’s side, I found myself regaled in the Lyceum of Aristotle and the Stoa of Zeno – and not only by its committed disciples! Fuscus, Favorinus and Polemon were also invited to give semi-public performances to the students – the trio of them being introduced as great rhetorical ambassadors from Rome. In fact, Fuscus was even presented at one point as being “very modest and of pious aspect.” Can you believe that? It was all I could do to restrain myself and applaud politely as he took the stage. His performance was adequate, but by far the stars of the shows have been Polemon and Favorinus. Their rhetorical prowess has consistently been salted with a wide-ranging humour, some of which is uttered at the other’s expense. Every now and again will come a subtle barb from Polemon that is so obviously directed at the unmanliness of Favorinus that I find myself suddenly uncomfortable. In rebuttal, Favorinus will pull from his soul a searing little joke that lives and dies upon Polemon’s gruff and haughty exterior. I am beginning to sense that they don’t quite like each other, and this is a source of sadness for me. Everyone else, however, seems to derive a great deal of joyous laughter from their simmering animosity and openly look forward to ever-escalating displays of wit and showmanship.

No visit to the schools of Athens would be complete without a trip to the Garden of Epicurus. We heard a number of oratories there, all expounding on his ancient philosophies. Hadrian himself subscribes to much of the Epicurean world view, and was thus exceedingly lavish in his praise of the garden and its scholarly keepers. Although I find their theory of matter somewhat incomprehensible, I do enjoy (and find much more accessible) their theory of knowledge as a product of sense perception. “I shall spend an evening here,” announced Hadrian, “beneath the stars, alone but for the company of Antinous.” And thus, as the sun sank below the horizon, the Garden was cleared of other men’s eyes and ears until all that remained was myself, my lover, and the stillness of an earthly paradise. I suddenly became aware of an object in his hand, which he tenderly placed in my palm. It was a set of pipes. "Play for me," he commanded, "as did Daphnis for the ears of a hungry Pan." I stared down at the pipes. A wave of nostalgia washed over me, for I hadn’t played such an instrument in many, many years. Simply holding them brought back the sweet and distant memory of Lysicles and Antinous romping through the tall forests beyond the gates of Claudiopolis.

"Why?" I asked. Answered Hadrian: "It is owed to me. This is your debt of pleasure, to repay me for the evening you enjoyed with the stonesetter."

"I shall be rusty," I warned him. He reached down to fondle me, and I was instantly hard in his hand. "Then I shall polish you," he retorted. I giggled, revelling in the jocular dance of my willful organ beneath its toga, and then slowly brought the pipes to my lips. My first few notes were tentative and whispy, but I very soon re-connected with the memory of their rhythms and was shortly thereafter sending the sweetest notes of tenderness up toward the smiling moon.

It did not take long for the passion to overtake me, however, and suddenly the pipes had fallen silent. I embraced my manly lover, pressing my loins up against his hand. "How can you call yourself an Epicurean," I teasingly asked him, "when you are so dismissive of his commandments concerning moderation of the flesh?"

"In my position," replied Hadrian, "I have learned to be selective of those things I accept as commandments from the past." My youthful manhood continued to writhe between his fingers; the sensation of his touch bloomed in vast waves of pleasure outward from my groin. He reached up to my fibula, and within but a heartbeat the cloths had dropped from my body. I stood naked before him in the garden as he reached again to take my flesh in his hand. "What else," I asked him, "do you selectively ignore of ancient men's prescriptions concerning pleasure?" He laughed softly; his breath in my ear was growing hungrier as his beard brushed softly against my cheek. "This," he whispered. And then he was on his knees. A pair of wet and loving lips closed around my erection. His hands crept around to my buttocks and pulled me forward into his mouth. "Play..." came his distant, desperate voice from beneath me. "Play, Daphnis, and do not stop until Pan is sated."

And so I once again brought the pipes to my face and started playing. I knew keenly what he wished to hear, for it was exactly what I wished to play for him - a dancing melody that put to music the pleasures I was experiencing in my groin. We took turns in the role of leader: at times his mouth was my music's guide, but there were other moments when my music would direct him to alter the pace and intensity of his attentions. Together, thus, we achieved a mighty orchestration of pleasures, and it rang up into the starry night in celebration until I was unable to restrain myself and shuddered my climax down his throat. The music fell silent as my lungs gasped for as much gulping air as possible.

Now Hadrian removed his own toga and lay down upon his back. His manhood was erect and shiny, glistening with translucent anticipation. "Sit down upon me, Daphnis, and do not stop playing until Pan is sated." Once again, therefore, I brought the pipes back to my mouth and called forth the music to accompany our passion. I slowly lowered myself down upon Hadrian, allowing his hand to guide himself deeply into me. Our dance of fleshly and musical pleausres resumed, and so too did our alternating leadership.

I should be a liar if I tried to report that the music was at all accomplished. Endless hiccups and squeaks burst forth from my pipes as Hadrian's thrusting grew more imperative. But who was I to be embarrassed for it? How could I not by his passion be swept away to a place beyond self-consciousness? Hadrian's final, groaning thrusts signalled to me that my debt to him -- along with his spirit into my insides -- was finally discharged. Again the music ended, and only the crickets continued to sing around us as we fell together, sweaty and spent, into a deep and unassailable embrace.

It did not take long for me to begin shivering, for the November air is not so welcoming as it must inevitably be in the summertime. Hadrian dressed me before dressing himself, and together we walked from the garden arm in arm. A few of the resident philosophers greeted us at the gates, as did Decentius and several of the other guards. There was a respectful silence all around, although I could sense a very suppressed bemusement in many of our company. A quick glance into the face of Decentius told me that my music (or, at least, my attempt at it) had been heard by everyone. He winked at me, and I also suppressed a tiny smile.

Before we departed for the Imperial House, Hadrian turned to address the Scholarch. "Thank you for your school's most wondrous hospitality, my friend," he said. The Scholarch bowed deeply and replied, "Thank you, my liege, for seeding it with such a divine passion. What flowers it provides for us in the springtime shall no doubt delight our senses with the memory of your train's colourful presence here." Hadrian smiled at him in quiet understanding. Then he turned, and together we left the garden.

If the Epicureans took from our lovemaking offense, we will never know it. For in the days that followed, the Athenians no longer merely cheered as we passed them in the streets -- they played pipes! What's more, hardly was it done to taunt us. Rather, it was in a spirit of lusty celebration that their music greeted us, and Hadrian found himself laughing jubilantly whenever he heard it played. Never have I felt so cherished, Lysicles, as I do here among the Athenians. I feel to be as much a hero for these people as is Hadrian, their restorer. How, then, can I not love and delight in a place such as this, that loves and delights in me so deeply in return? A.

 
Optimythic
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