Documents for the Study of the Gospels

By David R. Cartlidge; David L. Dungan | Go to book overview

LATER CHRISTIAN COMMENT

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.8.22

… To such men they made cenotaphs and temples even up to the present. Among them is also Antinous, a slave of the Emperor Hadrian. For him the Antinoan games are held, even though he was our contemporary. And Hadrian created a city named for Antinous, and ordained prophets (for him).


Justin Martyr, Apology 1.29

We think it is not improper to mention among these things also Antinous, our contemporary, whom everyone was coerced to worship as a God on account of fear, although they knew who he was and where he came from.


Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 4

In Egypt there is another new God, and almost in Greece, too, since the Roman king (Hadrian) reverently elevated to Godhood his lover Antinous, an exceedingly beautiful boy, whom he worshiped, as Zeus did Ganymede,3 for lust is not easily prevented if it has no fear; and now men celebrate the “Sacred Nights of Antinous,” in which those who love shameful things lawlessly stay awake together. Why do you choose for me a God who is to be honored by fornication? And why have you appointed him to be mourned as a son? And why do you go on and on about his beauty? That shameful beauty is withered by wantonness. Do not become a tyrant, my friend, nor act wantonly with the beauty of young boys just grown of age; keep it pure, in order that it may be beautiful … But now there is a grave for Hadrian’s lover, as well as a temple and a city of Antinous, for graves are held in awe by the Egyptians like shrines; pyramids and mausoleums and labyrinths and other shrines of the dead—as if they were the graves of their Gods.

2. Eusebius is quoting Hegesippus, a Christian writer contemporary with Hadrian. See further
for other Christian references, H. Chadwick, Contra Celsum (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1965), p. 152 n. 1.

3. Zeus carried away to be his lover the beautiful little Trojan prince, Ganymede, giving his
father in return some remarkable horses; Iliad 5.265.

-198-

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