Documents for the Study of the Gospels

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

CONTEMPORARY GREEK COMMENT

Dio Cassius, Roman History 69.11.2

While Hadrian was in Egypt he rebuilt the city named for Antinous. For Antinous was from the city of Bithynium, a city in Bithynia, which we also call Claudiopolis. Antinous was his darling boy and died in Egypt; he either fell into the Nile, as Hadrian writes, or, what seems to be the truth, he was offered as a sacrifice. As I said, Hadrian was very interested in the magical arts and used all types of divinations and incantations. Thus he gave divine honors to Antinous, either because of his love for him or because he died voluntarily (it apparently was necessary for a life to be freely offered to accomplish what he, Hadrian, wanted). He built a city near the place where he died and he named it after him. He erected statues of him, actually sacred images, almost all over the world. Finally, Hadrian said he had seen a certain star which, it seemed to him, was that of Antinous, and he welcomed the mythical stories of his friends, namely, that the star really was created from Antinous’ soul and had just then appeared. He was ridiculed on account of these things and also because, when his sister Paulina died, he did not at once pay her any (divine) honor …


Pausanius, Description of Greece 8.9.7–8

Antinous also was considered by them1 to be a God. The temple of Antinous is the newest of the temples in Mantineia. He was a favorite of the Emperor Hadrian. I never saw Antinous personally, but I did see him in statues and pictures. He has sacred honors in other places, and an Egyptian city on the Nile is named after him. He holds the sacred honors in Mantineia for these reasons. Antinous was a native of Bithynia, beyond the Sangarius River. The Bithynians are Arcadians and Mantineians by descent. On account of this, the emperor founded his worship in Mantineia, and mystic rituals are held for him each year as well as sacred games (in his honor) every fifth year.

There is a building in the gymnasium of Mantineia that has statues of Antinous. The building is marvelous to see because of the jewels with which it is decorated and especially because of its pictures. Most of them are of Antinous who is pictured to look like Dionysus …

1. Pausanius is describing the various deities worshiped in Mantineia, a city of Greece,
southwest of Corinth.

-197-

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