The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
Sacred Texts
~The Ode of Darius
~The Ode of Fronto
~The Ode of Fulvius
~The Ode of Favorinus


The Isthmian Odes are so-called because they depict a private drinking party (i.e. a “symposium”) that took place during the Isthmian Games of the year 128 A.D. (the fourth year of the 226th Olympiad). They are the raunchy and irreverent product of four drunken wordsmiths who each, in his own way, is alternatively seducing, teasing, worshipping, or simply marvelling at the beauty of Antinous. As an “interlude” between each speaker’s piece, the text makes explicit that there is sex occurring. Each episode involves a coupling of the speaker and Antinous (who progresses from an entirely “passive” role to one that is essentially “active”), and the nature of its activity is inspired (or, more accurately, directed) by the content of the individual Ode that precedes it.

Noteworthy about the events described is the fact that, during each of the sex sessions, the other three poets appear to be present in the room. As they are not described engaging in any kind of sexual activity independent of Antinous and his revolving partner of the moment, we must assume that they – like us – are happy to become spectators to the action. And whereas each poet takes his fair turn to speak and command an audience, it is curious that Antinous remains voiceless throughout. In essence, The Isthmian Odes render Antinous into the ultimate exhibitionist: one who both delights in and thrives on the voyeuristic gaze of his audience(s).

The Preamble asserts that all four Odes were composed and delivered “most Spontaneously.” Given the implied level of inebriation, combined with the linguistic complexity and formal structure of the pieces, this is highly unlikely. Far more plausible is that the ideas and images were sketched out rather roughly at the actual event, loosely transcribed (one wonders, by Whom?) and then later marshalled into the polished version presented here.

Yet all of the above structural considerations fall by the wayside when one examines what is perhaps the most striking aspect of this small collection of texts – namely, the extent to which they eerily foreshadow the destiny of Antinous. Building successively on the lead of Darius, the theme of the Odes revolves around the mythological figure of Palaemon, a local deity whose principle place of worship was the Temple of Poseidon at Corinth. The episodic story is one of drowning and deification – twin features of the Antinous cycle which are difficult to ignore. Moreover, each of the Odes concludes with both a literary and sexual climax, making the connection between sex, death, and godhood unequivocal. Such a fact puts The Isthmian Odes high on the list of readings for Celebrants wishing to observe the Sacred Nights of Antinous with a requisite combination of sensual physicality, sombre reflection, and joyful reverence.

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